DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen flipped the switch at halftime and turned a muck-and-grind basketball game into the fast-paced up-and-down they prefer to play.
Narcisse Ambanza scored a game-high 19 points and added six rebounds and six assists as the Wesmen men's basketball team posted a 70-49 non-conference win over the Concordia (MN) Cobbers at the Lea Marc Invitational at the Duckworth Centre.
The Wesmen slugged it out with a tough-minded Cobbers team for most of the first half, taking a 17-15 edge out of the first quarter and a 29-23 lead into halftime.
And while the Cobbers, an NCAA Division III program out of Moorhead, Minn., did all they could to take the air out of the ball from the up-tempo Wesmen, the home side also did its job in making things tough on the offensive end for the Cobbers. Concordia shot 4-for-20 from three and finished 32.8 per cent from the field for the night. The Cobbers also lost the rebounding battled 43-36.
"I thought we were able to push the ball up the floor and create a bit of space (in the second half)," Wesmen head coach Mike Raimbault said. "We hit a couple shots to create some space also, but the pace of play improved a bit and we were able to hit a few shots to open things up."
Billy Yaworsky added 12 points and five rebounds for the Wesmen, who are now 4-1 in the non-conference season heading into their second game of the tournament Saturday against Brandon (6 p.m.). Don Dayrit added 11 points and Will Sesay had eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds — his second game in the past three with double-digit rebounds.
"I thought (Concordia) played well," Raimbault said. "I thought it was a pretty physical game early and good for us. I'm just happy we were able to make a bit of a run when we did."
Bryden Urie had 13 points and eight rebounds for Concordia, which also got 12 points from Tommy Schyma.
Concordia and Manitoba will wrap the tournament up with an 8 p.m. game Saturday night.