|Steve Burrows knows the University of
Regina Cougars made great strides during the 2015-16 Canada West
men’s basketball season.
Call him greedy, but he still
would have liked to see a couple more.
“We’re pleased but
not satisfied,” said Burrows, the Cougars’ head coach. “We’re
happy with how far we’ve come. But if you lose your last game,
you’ve got to keep working.”
The Cougars’ season ended
Saturday, when they lost 86-73 to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in
Kamloops. By winning the last two games of a best-of-three
quarterfinal, TRU qualified for the Canada West Final Four in
The Cougars, meanwhile, flew
through Calgary on their way home Sunday, no doubt disappointed to
have let a series lead get away.
But Burrows talked all
season about playing in “meaningful games” like the contests in
Kamloops — and that hasn’t always been the case for Regina in
Prior to this season, the Cougars hadn’t made
the Canada West playoffs since the spring of 2011. They earned
their berth this season by finishing fifth in the Prairie Division
and seventh overall in the conference.
Regina played host
to the Winnipeg Wesmen in a best-of-three series to see who would
move on to a quarterfinal. After losing Game 1, the Cougars won
two straight to advance.
“We learned a lot about ourselves
in the last half of the season,” Burrows said. “We got to play in
a lot of big games — and that’s the key. You can’t just talk about
them. You’ve got to experience them.”
The Cougars went 11-9
in the regular season, the most victories they’ve had in a season
since a 14-win campaign in 2010-11.
Regina was led
offensively by Jonathan Tull, who averaged 16.9 points per game in
the regular season. Eight Cougars averaged at least 6.8 points per
game and three shot 33 per cent or better from the three-point
And despite dealing with injuries and illness all
season, Regina beat some high-calibre teams en route to the
“The character on this team is pretty strong, so
we were able to deal with adversity and turn it into a positive,”
Burrows said. “If you can do that as a team, you become stronger.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, but you have to face it — and
we were able to do that.”
Tull and Will Tallman have
exhausted their five seasons of CIS eligibility, so the Cougars
must replace their experience, scoring and leadership.
Regina had six redshirts this season and an import added by
Burrows at Christmas (Rawane Ndiaye) had to leave before the
playoffs due to a visa issue. That means there are options to fill
holes in the roster next season, but Burrows still will hit the
That said, the head coach believes the
players currently on the roster can help the Cougars continue
“If we get younger people to step up
into leadership roles, we can be consistent,” Burrows said. “We
had a lot of firsts this year, which was good. But we don’t want
to say (in the future), ‘It’s been six years since we’ve done
that,’ or ‘We’ve never done that.’ We don’t want it to be six
years before we host another playoff series.”
was named a Canada West second-team all-star Monday. Regina
product Chan De Ciman, a guard with the Saskatchewan Huskies,
earned a spot on the all-rookie team … On the women’s side,
Cougars forward Charlotte Kot (first team) and post Alyssia Kajati
(third team) were named conference all-stars.