Jeff Lukomski becomes the Cougars men’s basketball all-time leading scorer in a losing effort
For Jeff Lukomski it was a night to remember, but for the team, it was one to forget.
The University of Regina Cougars men’s basketball team found themselves up against a powerhouse squad last Friday night, as the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds were in town to take on the Cougars in Canada West action at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport. Regina came into the game with a 12-6 record, while UBC was riding a 12-game winning streak and sported an impressive 16-2 record.
The Cougars knew that they would have to be firing on all cylinders in order to bypass UBC, while Lukomski knew that he needed just six more points to bypass Glen Nelson for the school’s all-time scoring record. He would accomplish this feat.
“It’s great for anyone to break a record and it’s certainly a milestone for him and something that he should be proud of,” said Cougars assistant coach Darcy McKeown of Lukomski’s record-breaking night. “It wasn’t his best game and he certainly would have liked to have done more for the team element, but it’s special any time anyone breaks a record, so it’s good.”
Regina was never able to get its offence going against the Thunderbirds, generating just 10 points in the first quarter. The Cougars quickly found themselves down by as many as 30 points early in the first half.
The only bright spot of the first half, and likely the game, came early in the second quarter when Lukomski hit a fade-away three to land him yet another spot in the school’s record books. He already holds the record for most career three-pointers.
Lukomski’s record-breaking shot was one of the only plays the crowd had to cheer about on Friday night as things quickly spiraled out of control for the Cougars. Regina went into half time trailing UBC by a score of 32-60 and the game already seemed to be far out of reach for the home team. Although the team never gave up completely, the deficit was simply too much for the team to overcome.
Mark Donarowicz tried to contribute as much as he could for Regina, finishing the night off with a team high 19 points and nine rebounds. Paul Gareau and Lukomski both ended up with 13 points apiece in the loss. Lukomski’s 13 points now puts the record at 1,430.
“Overall it was OK, it was a pretty tough matchup” McKeown offered on the team’s lacklustre performance. “UBC is number two in the country, but guys like Downarowicz played a really great game and battled hard.”
Even though he was able to get the record in front of his hometown crowd, like any player Lukomski knows that personal achievements are nothing if the team isn’t doing well. The final score on night one was a dismal 111-67. Regina had not given up more points in a game since 2002.
Although the loss was not by quite as large of a margin, the final score on Saturday’s was 95-59, once again in UBC’s favour. Downarowicz was the team’s leading scorer for the second night in a row, adding 13 points in the loss, while Matt Campbell and Lukomski both chipped in with eight points each.
Brent Malish was the offensive force for the Thunderbirds on night two of the weekend series, as he added a career-high 33 points. Josh Whyte, the reigning conference most valuable player, added 21 points on night one and 14 points on night two in order to propel the Thunderbirds to 18-2, first in the conference.
Despite the tough games, the Cougars will have to move forward.
“We’ve got a number of tough games left,” McKeown noted. “We need to get better with execution and play physical in those games as we head into the playoffs.”
With the weekend series complete, Regina’s record slipped to 12-8, but they have clinched a post-season berth.
Although this weekend was supposed to be all about Lukomski and his record-breaking performance, the poor outcomes for the team overshadowed his personal victory.
Regina battles the Saskatchewan Huskies Thursday, Feb 10 at 8 p.m. at the CKHS, then travel to Saskatoon on Saturday in the back end of the home-and-home. The Cougars will finish off the regular season at home when they take on the Manitoba Bisons on Feb. 18 and 19, as they look to gain some momentum before heading into the playoffs.
Cougars all-time leading scorers
Games Played: 99
Games Played: 79
Games Played: 93
Games Played: 59
Games Played: 99