Harmeet Mahal’s 21 Points Lift Douglas Over Langara!
NPH Top performers
- Harmeet Mahal: 21 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
- Devan Haynes: 15 points, 13 rebounds, 64 per cent FG shooting
- Gurjote Jhaj: 20 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds
- Elliot Mason: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
BRITISH COLUMBIA-Sixteen lead changes, 12 ties, but only one winner.
39-and-a-half minutes into Friday night’s PacWest regular season game between the Douglas College Royals and the Langara Falcons, your guess was as good as mine as to who would come out on top. It was only in the last 25 seconds that Douglas, led by a 21-point effort from Harmeet “Mity” Mahal, pulled out a 78-74 victory, improving their record to 2-2 on the season.
“It was great,” said Royals head coach Denis Beausoleil. “Especially coming back from a game where we were up, and then didn’t close it out [against Camosun College], to a game that was now closer, and the guys executed down the stretch.”
The first half looked unusually sloppy on both sides, and it didn’t help that the refs were frequently checking to see if their whistles still worked.
Regardless, Douglas sharpshooter Ravi Athwal nailed a pair of threes in the early going to put the Royals up 10-3, which would prove to be the largest lead in an extremely close game.
Langara battled back and trailed 22-19 going into the second quarter, guided by a strong shooting performance from second-year guard Elliot Mason.
The second quarter repeated the theme of the first, with Mason and the Falcons breaking down Douglas’ defense, only to have Mahal and the Royals answer back on the other end. Halftime saw the squads knotted up at 38 apiece.
Both team’s frontcourts took centre stage in the third quarter, as a battle of the big men began between Langara’s Jitinder Locham and Douglas’ Devan Haynes and Harpreet Randhawa.
“It helped that we were able to clean up our own defensive glass,” said Beausoleil. “Harp and Devan got huge boards.”
Heading into the fourth, Douglas held a narrow 58-57 lead.
But steered by second-year forward Gurjote Jhaj, Langara made a late-game surge and jumped out to a 70-64 lead with just under five minutes left in the final frame.
The Royals, unwilling to give up an L on their home floor, spent the next four minutes outworking their opponents, creating a 9-2 run, putting them up 73-72 with just a minute remaining.
“We were down I think six at one point, then I called a timeout after they hit a bucket, and from there the defensive intensity and defensive presence was a lot better,” said Beausoleil.
After a three by Douglas, Jhaj nailed a step-back jumper in the corner to bring the Falcons within two. Beausoleil called another timeout, and the Royals almost spoon-fed a comeback to Langara by coughing up the ball on the ensuing inbound.
Now on the wrong side of a three-on-one, Douglas managed to garner a blocking foul before the shot, and not yet being in the penalty, forced Langara to the sideline for one last possession with less than 10 ticks left on the clock.
But in a play that mirrored to the previous Langara steal, Douglas’ Mahal stole the inbounds pass and went the length of the court for an uncontested layup, sealing the win for the Royals.
“There was stuff that was adding up all game,” said Falcons head coach Jake McCallum. “We didn’t execute, we weren’t where we supposed to be, weren’t making the right reads, we were soft rebounding. We just overall didn’t have a good game.”
Haynes and Randhawa each posted a double-double for Douglas, with 15 points and 13 boards for the former and 10 and 10 for the latter. Jhaj led all Falcons with 20 points and four assists, while Mason contributed with 17 and Locham added 16.
McCallum was noticeably displeased after the game.
“I’m trying to get them to realize that they’re a better team than how we played tonight,” he said. “Not trying to rag on them, but we were a bit soft in stretches. I thought we got outworked and outrebounded. Douglas wanted it more tonight.”
Douglas now faces the 2-3 Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles tonight at 8:00 pm at their New West Campus, while Langara hosts the 0-4 Columbia Bible College Bearcats.
-Douglas missed 11 free-throws, going 12 for 23 from the stripe.
-The turning point of the game came late in the fourth, when Randhawa dove for a loose ball, extended his arm, and punched the ball forward to Mahal, provoking the Royals’ 9-2 run.
-McCallum on how close the PacWest’s teams are this season: “The last couple of years it’s been VIU and UNBC that were real tough, and now Douglas is playing well. We’re not, yet, but I hope to be playing well. I haven’t seen CBC yet. Kwantlen’s a bit of a different beast this year too. So it’s good, the disparity’s good. I’d rather have eight tough teams than three.”
-Beausoleil on tonight’s matchup against Kwantlen, and more specifically, the nation’s leading scorer A.J Adusei: “They have some legitimate scorers on their team, and we’re well aware of it. Hopefully we can limit Adusei’s overall points. We’re just looking to try to keep him in front of us and limit his ability to create for himself and others.”
-Beausoleil: “Tomorrow’s going to be another dogfight.”