Cougar men take on Pronghorns in playoff showdown
A rubber match takes on new meaning with Valentine’s day clash
The Cougar men are also heading to the playoffs for a road play-in game against eight seed Lethbridge. The Cougars finish the year 10-10, while also going 1-1 against Lethbridge in the first games of 2020. Since then the men are 5-3, while Lethbridge is on a six-game win streak.
Lethbridge also comes into this game 10-10 and score the fourth most points in Can West. Lethbridge throws six double-digit scorers at the defence which will make it tough for the Cougars to single out an offensive weapon and key in on. Scott Mazutinec will be someone to look out for beyond the arc as he jacks up over seven per game from downtown, hitting on 38 per cent. Lethbridge loves to get their guys to the line as well as they are second in Can West in made free throws, so staying out of foul trouble will be paramount for the Cougars. The Cougars will also have to be careful with the ball because the Pronghorns are number one in steals and the crowd will be rocking every time there is an opportunity for transition.
The beloved Cougars will live and die by the 3 as they toss them up more than any team in Can West and arguably should shoot more because they only make 30 per cent of them. The Cougars need to take and make as many 3s as possible too because Lethbridge does not defend the 3 particularly well. In the two games against Lethbridge, Regina got blown out in the first but bounced back to earn a hard-fought split. Carter Millar, who has had a terrific season, was the leading scorer in both games for the Cougars and sealed the victory with free throws. Millar also missed the last 6 games of the season to a lower body injury and it is uncertain if he will be ready for the game on Friday.
Coach Burrows has done a great job coaching this year and accomplished his pre-season goal of making the post-season. It will be interesting to see if he shortens up his bench for this post-season run, or if he will lean on his depth like he has done all season. He has done a great job of getting the team to play with pace and share the ball as evidenced by their second place standing in assists. It helps when you have a tweener big like Millar who can bully down low in the post and also step out and knock down the trey. But it is on the defensive end that will push this team forward in the playoffs where the Cougars have been decidedly average, albeit without their best player for 30 per cent of the season.
Season fan Steven has this to say about his favourite team making the playoffs.
“These guys work so hard and it’s so much fun to watch them. They play like a modern NBA team with all the 3-pointers and passing. I think they can beat the Pronghorns no matter what!”
A confidence that I’m sure the men have right now as they focus on their win or go home game on Valentine’s Day.