DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
A night after having to hang on secure a victory, the Winnipeg Wesmen needed a late rally to get the same result on Saturday.
The Wesmen put up a season-high in points and fifth-years Will Sesay and Adam Benrabah showed out on Senior Night to lead the Wesmen men's basketball team to a 107-95 Canada West conference win over the Mount Royal Cougars at the Duckworth Centre.
Benrabah scored a season-high 24 points and had 10 rebounds, and Sesay had a career-high 23 points plus eight assists while matching a season-high with five steals in his final conference game in his hometown.
"The level of urgency was definitely ramped up," Wesmen head coach Mike Raimbault said of his team's second-half change in personality. "It was an emotional night and I think at the start of the night there was a lot of that emotion floating around and we were maybe a step slow. Credit to (the Cougars): they adjusted to a few things and came at us right from the start. Definitely, the type of urgency was needed was there in the second half."
The Senior Night ceremonies honoured Benrabah, Sesay — who has missed just one game in five years as a Wesmen — and Billy Yaworsky, who has spent four years in a UWinnipeg uniform.
"(Billy's) job is a challenge sometimes because he plays such a specific role for us at times," Raimbault said. "Adam and Will definitely stepped up brought the emotion. At the start it was maybe a little bit internal, but definitely in the third quarter the emotion was out there and we were able to feed off that as a group."
Narcisse Ambanza scored 15 points after halftime and finished with 23 on 10-for-15 shooting with six assists and four steals.
Joseph Medrano added a season-high 11 points off the bench shooting 5-for-5 from the field and 1-for-1 from three.
The Wesmen gave up 58 first-half points and trailed by 11 at the break, but changed the complexion of the game with a 13-0 run to start the third quarter that gave them their first lead since it was 8-5 2:47 into the first quarter.
Winnipeg (10-8) outscored the Cougars 25-12 in the third quarter and then put up 35 in the fourth quarter to hit the 100-point mark for the first time this season. Mount Royal, meanwhile, gave up the century mark for the seventh time this season.
The Wesmen are in sole possession of ninth place after winning their fourth in a row with two games — next weekend at UBC — to play.
The Wesmen went 7-for-18 from three and improved to 5-1 on the season when they shoot at least 35 per cent from three.
Adam Pahl, Matthew Guinto, Lincoln Anderson and Nate Petrone each had 14 points to lead the Cougars (3-15), who shot 12-for-28 from three and 49.3 per cent from the field.