Sliding Bobcat b’ballers refocus through holiday break

Both the men’s and women’s Brandon University Bobcats’ basketball programs have had trouble finding momentum through the first portion of the 2018-2019 Canada West Universities Athletic Association.

Brandon University's basketball programs are on Christmas break from Canada West Universities Athletic Association action, and both teams are hoping to use this pause in the schedule to reset and refocus for the 2019 portion of their season.

The men’s team went 1-3 in their final four games before the break, dropping a pair of games to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon in late November before splitting a home-and-home series with the University of Winnipeg in early December.

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The Huskies, who are tied fifth place in the Canada West standings with a 7-5 record, defended their home court with a pair of victories – 88-67 and 90-72.

That led the Bobcats into a pair of meetings with their closest rivals. In their first game, the Bobcats surprised the 8-4 Wesmen on Nov. 30, edging them 109-107 in double overtime. Brandon’s Pookie Saunders earned the winning points, scoring on a layup to tie the game and sinking the free-throw on the foul committed on the shot. They added another free-throw soon after for the two-point victory.

Five players from the Bobcats hit double digits in the win, led by an impressive 29 points from Tyvon Cooper.

The pre-Christmas schedule ended with the return match in Brandon where the Wesmen got their revenge with a convincing 101-81 triumph.

Cooper continues to be a major part of the Bobcat’s offense, as he is averaging 23.4 points per game – tops in all of Canada West. Saunders is next in points per game with 14, followed by Troy Grant with 13.3. Jaleel Webb leads the team in rebounds with 5.8 per game.

The Bobcats won’t have much of a break during the holidays, though, as they are set to take on McGill in the opening game at the Université du Québec a Montréal Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29.

They officially return to Canada West action on Jan. 4 at Simon Fraser Valley.

With a 2-8 record, the Bobcats are two games out of a playoff spot.

On the women’s side, the Bobcats entered the break with a 2-10 record, having lost six straight.

In their final four games before the Christmas break, the Bobcats ran into a tough U. of S. Huskies team in Saskatoon, falling 108-30 and 94-39. They had a much more competitive home-and-home series against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in late November/early December, falling 87-63 at home and 74-65 in Winnipeg.

The Huskies lead the women’s Canada West standings with 10 wins and two losses, while the University of Winnipeg sits in 12th place with a 4-8 record. At 2-10, the Bobcats are two games back of the Wesmen for the final playoff spot.

The Bobcat women are led offensively by a pair of seniors – Lauren Anderson and Adrianna Proulx. Each is averaging 13.3 points per game. Junior Hailey Maas is just below the double-digit average, as she is putting up 9.3 points per game.

The women’s Bobcats team will also begin 2019 with a trip to British Columbia for a pair of games against the University of Simon Fraser, who enter their break with seven wins and five losses.

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