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Men’s basketball staves off hungry Bearcats

By Davie Wong, Sports Editor

Week three of PACWEST basketball action was never going to be easy for the Royals. At least, that’s what the statistics said. On paper, the Royals and the Bearcats matched up pretty equally this season. But in terms of individual skill, the Royals knew they had the one up.

The individual skill was evident right from the start of the matchup. A couple of swift steals from Sheldon Derton lead to a pretty point lead for the Royals. A couple of baskets later and the lead grew even larger. At the end of the first quarter, the Royals had played themselves up to a 9 point lead.

The second quarter was marked by continued dominance by the Royals as the Bearcats just kept playing themselves into trouble. Fouls started becoming an evident issue and the Royals just kept capitalizing on it. As it turned out, the team racked up a 17-point lead before heading off to the locker rooms at half.

Had that been the entirety of the game, there wouldn’t be much of a story. Good thing the Royals are known for creating dramatic stories with their games. The home team came out of their halftime break looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Those headlights happened to be the CBC offence, which managed to put up more points than the Royals’.

It was a rough third for the home squad, and the Bearcats really started building some momentum. The fourth quarter was scary. The Royals went from holding a 17-point lead to being within 2 points of losing it. The Bearcats were enthused, and their energy was tangible. Every drive had life and meaning behind it, while the Royals were just desperately clinging to their lead, looking sapped and shocked.

But the Royals’ strength has always been in their individual efforts, and Malcom Mensah stepped up when the team needed it most. Drawing multiple fouls on a variety of moves, Mensah just barely sealed the Royals’ victory.

The win bumps the team to .500, with a record of 2–2. Their two wins have come on the back of strong first halves and shaky second halves. Needless to say, Coach Joe Enevoldson was not pleased his team’s display during the second half. “They outworked us. We got outworked in the second half, but we also won those games. We wanted to push us to .500.”