In basketball you win, or you lose. That’s the way it works.
Over the weekend at IG Athletic Centre, Bisons fans got to feel both sides of that coin. While the men’s basketball team continued a championship-worthy season with a sweep, the women were swept away at home against the University of Regina Cougars.
It takes pressure to make diamonds, but if you’re the men’s basketball team pressure also makes wins if Friday’s 72-69 victory over the Cougars is anything to go by. The U of M rallied from a 36-20 deficit at halftime to claim the win.
The comeback got rolling in the third quarter. Benjamin Hillis drained a shot from range to push the Cougars out in front 42-29, but the herd responded with an eight-point run to cut the lead down to 42-37.
Hillis ended the run, the U of R established a 47-39 lead and looked to carry the momentum into the fourth quarter, but James Wagner and Andre Arruda were having none of that. Wagner got a pair of layups to fall and added a free throw to make it 47-44, and Arruda went three-for-three from the free throw line to tie the game 47-47 at the end of the third.
The U of M outscored the Cougars 25-22 in the fourth quarter to take the game.
Saturday saw more pressure and another diamond for the Bisons as the herd rallied again to win, this time 79-74.
The U of R held a slight 58-56 lead over the hometown herd entering the fourth quarter. Cameron O’Hara briefly wrestled away the lead for the Bisons at 62-61, but the Cougars answered with a seven-point run to take the lead at 68-62.
The two sides battled until a Keiran Zziwa jumper gave the herd a lead it would not give up. Arruda had a pair of jumpers and Zziwa had a pair of free throws as the U of M came back to win.
The weekend sweep pushes the U of M to 14-2 on the year, good for third in Canada West.
Friday’s action turned into a track meet for the Bisons women’s basketball team, as the herd and the Cougars ran up and down the court exchanging points all night. The U of R came out on the winning end at 98-81.
The Bisons began the game on the right foot, outscoring the Cougars 29-22 in the first quarter. From there the U of R took over, starting with a 27-18 second quarter to take a 49-47 lead into halftime.
The Cougars doubled up on their score with 49 in the second half — while the Bisons responded with just 34 — and the Cougars took game one of the weekend.
While not as high-scoring as Friday, Saturday was a tighter affair between the Cougars and the Bisons. Despite a strong fourth-quarter effort from the herd, the Cougars held on for the 67-65 win and weekend sweep.
Like Friday, the U of M got started right, doubling up on the Cougars 16-8 in the opening quarter. The Cougars responded by putting up a 21-point second quarter while the Bisons could only get 13, leaving the clubs tied 29-29 at halftime.
The U of R again outscored the herd in the third quarter — this time 16-12 — but the Bisons did not go away.
With a quick five-point run to start the fourth quarter, the herd snagged back the lead at 46-45. The U of R responded with a 10-3 run to pull away, but the Bisons kept coming.
A Lauren Bartlett three-pointer got the Bisons ahead briefly at 62-61, then a pair of Faith Reid free throws got the Cougars back in front. From there the U of R built by going four-for-six from the free throw line to win.
The losses drop the Bisons to 7-9 on the season, now in a four-way tie for ninth in Canada West. With four games left on the schedule, the Bisons must stay ahead of the 5-11 Mount Royal University Cougars to stay in playoff position.
Next up for the Bisons clubs will be a road trip out west to take on the University of Victoria Vikes, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.