Cruel mistress, sports, breaks hearts of men on Valentine’s day
Cougars stabbed in the heart by Pronghorn
The basketball season came to a very abrupt ending on Valentine’s day. The love affair with the Cougars has ended unsatisfyingly (pun dutifully intended). I feel like I can begin this article and simultaneously express the parallels of both the men’s and women’s team, while also double-dipping my excellent gender-neutral Valentine’s day puns. You’re welcome, and onto the men’s game. Well talk about blowing the lead on this one, the men came up short in their play-in game with an 86-98 loss.
The Cougars fought hard but came up short. The men were partially playing shorthanded as their best player Carter Millar has missed the last few games due to injury, but gritted out 22-minutes of playoff basketball in a game he either wasn’t 100 per cent or felt extremely rusty for. Coach Steve Burrows protected his big man by letting him come off the bench and though he didn’t shoot the ball well, 1 point on 0-7 shooting, he chipped in with 9 boards and 5 assists. The Cougars in true form were as egalitarian as ever with five players scoring double figure points. Brayden Kuski led the way with 15, while Sam Hillis scored 13, brother Ben and Greishe Clerjuste chipped in 12, and Matt Barnard rounded it out with 10.
The fatal foursome of the Pronghorns was too much for the Cougars to handle. Kyle Peterson, Chad Oviatt, and Keanu Funa contributed 20 points each, and Jeffrey Rodehutskors poured in 15 in just 13 minutes of action. Just as the threesome nearly outscored the women, this foursome nearly outscored the men, while shooting a ridiculous 57 per cent from the field.
The Cougars lived and died by the 3-pointer all year and ultimately fell short because of it in an extremely simplistic viewpoint. They went 8-37 shooting 22 per cent from downtown and if they had only shot a below average 32 per cent and made 12 instead of 8, the game would have been tied and it’s a whole different story. Sometimes, like in the case of the women, when it comes down to evenly matched teams as we outlined a few weeks ago, the games can just come down to which team makes more shots. It is a cruel world in sports and this men’s team had higher hopes this year coming off a good playoff run last year. Perhaps with a healthy Millar the game would be different, but that is something that the men will have to worry about for next year.
It was the final game for Sam Hillis, who spent the last five years with the Cougars, and Clerjuste’s career with the Cougars is also over, meaning the two’s playoff minutes will have to be replaced next year. Hopefully veterans will be able to step into the roles immediately to fill the shoes. The 2020-2021 season is right around the corner and though this Valentine’s day was heartbreak for Cougars all around, there will always be the fiery passion to battle the cruel mistress of sports.