Bobcats forward Jordan Reaves dunks in Saturday’s finale at BU’s HLC. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
A disappointing season for the Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball team came to a very disappointing end on Saturday night at the Healthy Living Centre.
The Bobcats (6-16) gave up a 20-2 run in the first four minutes and 52 seconds of the second half and couldn’t recover as they fell 70-61 to the Regina Cougars (7-15) in a battle of Canada West Prairie Division basement-dwellers.
While his team has battled through injuries with the loss of last year’s leading scorer Emerick Ravier and this season’s leading scorer Ali Mounir-Benabdelhak, BU head coach Gil Cheung saw no fight from his players in the finale.
"Really disappointing (way to end the year)," he said. "We started playing well as of late. For the first time all year, we just didn’t compete. It had nothing to do with Xs and Os. The guys just didn’t play hard."
While things didn’t go Brandon’s way most of the season, the effort was usually there and they didn’t let the injuries get them down.
However, the Bobcats struggled on offence, managing only 68.4 points per game —the second worst in Canada West — and often lost games because of two-minute runs they’d let opponents go on.
The team feels it’s close to being a playoff contender, as six of its 16 losses were by eight points or less, although five of its six wins were also by seven points or less. Still, Cheung feels the core group of players is right to have a successful season next year.
"We brought in 11 guys (last season)," he said. "Now your point guard’s a third-year point guard instead of a second-year point guard. He’s got 30 extra games under his belt and Ali’s healthy and Emerick’s healthy (next year). Guys are getting better. (A record of) 6-16 is what it is, but there are some positives you can take away from that. We still have to add a few pieces."
No players exhausted their eligibility this season, meaning everyone is eligible to return. However, some moves are expected to be made.
One player who won’t be going away is forward Jordan Reaves, who will be heading into his fifth and final year of eligibility next season and wants to make sure the Bobcats get into the playoffs.
"I want to do everything I can this off-season to get us to the playoffs, keep leading the team and do whatever I can to help everybody else out," said Reaves, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds Saturday.
CAT SCRAPS: Bobcats guard Ilarion Bonhomme led BU with 21 points …Brandon native Sterling Nostedt scored 12 points and made a pair of three-pointers to move him into third place on the Cougars’ all-time list for three-pointers with 131. He also moved into a three-way tie for most games played as a Cougar with 106. … Nostedt received a loud ovation when he was taken off the court with one minute left to play. It was his final CIS game.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 19, 2013