Love the Sweep ! Teams on the rise …
The UBC Thunderbirds made the biggest ‘statement’ of the Canada West season with their 102-76 battering of the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday in Vancouver. Their 2 game sweep of the Bruins puts the ‘Birds at 11-1 with building confidence in the quality of their depth and determination as a potential CW champion. UBC is not just Conor Morgan, but have the gritty leader, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and another 5th year stand-out in 6-7 Will Ondrik. As their ‘supporting cast’ deliver performances like those of Luka Zaharajevic, Taylor Browne, and A.J. Holloway vs the ‘GBs’, we see the T-Birds as the favourites to host the Final 4 in early March.
The Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) won 2 ‘bonus RPI’ games at Lethbridge this past weekend, and are looking more like a top 4 contender with their deeper playing roster. Since his arrival after semester 1, import guard Lawrence Moore (3rd yr, 6-3, Chicago) has averaged 14 ppg and 4.8 assists. Jaylan Morgan (3rd, 6-5, Toronto) is stepping up his game, and, when he returns from injury, Chan De Ciman will add to the mix. Then, of course, the Green and White have the formidable post pair of Shane Osayande (18.7 ppg/ 11 rebs) and Matt Forbes (13.3 ppg/ 8.3 rebs).
The Calgary Dinos (10-2) get a weekend home sweep over Fraser Valley, one a 106-68 blow-out, but the 2nd a somewhat shaky 92-87 last minute win. UC will have to sort out the consistency of their effort as they welcome the aforementioned ‘Sled Dogs’ to town this Friday and Saturday. This is the feature match-up this week in Canada West. Can Thomas Cooper get back to his prolific scoring ways? Can the Dinos defend the Huskies bigs? Can Calgary use their vaunted depth to turn aside the advancing Prairie power?
The Manitoba Bisons (6-6) have started on their hopeful drive to 10-0 leap up the standings in this 2nd semester. They brush aside the fading Regina Cougars (6-6) with 2 convincing road wins behind veterans Justus Alleyn and Keith Omoerah. A trip this week to Trinity Western is unlikely to slow the rumbling Herd, who have plans to keep climbing the League table.
The Victoria Vikes (5-7) return home with fresh hope after 2 wins at UBC-O, the 1st Vikes sweep of the season. Their challenge this week will be to defend home court against a tougher opponent, the Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6). Can rookie Scott Kellum match the ‘Horn’s main man, Dejon Burdeaux? UVic has little wriggle room as they vie for a playoff spot, but UL will be wanting to turn things around after 2 home losses.
The Mt. Royal Cougars get a pair of road victories at UNBC to move to 7-5, and their forward duo of Josh Ross and Brett Layton are giving the Cougs reason for optimism. Uo next for this under-rated former college power? Oh,just a home court visit from the mighty Thunderbirds ! MRU will step on Kenyon Court as decided underdogs, with UBC rolling more troops off their bench .Win one of these, and the Cougars will draw even more lavish praise.
5th Year players on a final tour …
Many of these 5th year players across the 17-team Canada West will be very familiar to faithful fans. Most with skills we’ve come to appreciate, some who’ve made a big play to beat our home team, and some who’ve captured accolades, trophies, and championships. A tribute is in order to these 5th years, the great majority of whom will be finishing off a degree and moving on to a very different phase of their lives.
Here’s a list of these 5th year players … give them a hand as they play in your gym for what may well be the last time.
Alberta – Brett Roughead … Brandon – Earl Thompson Jr, Denham Buchanan, Chris Stanhope, Esmat Atem … Calgary Dinos – Jasdeep Gill, Thomas Cooper, Dallas Karch … Fraser Valley – Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon … Lethbridge – Will Hickey … MacEwan – Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens … Mt. Royal – Derek Wolf … Regina – Aaron McGowan, Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, Matthew Augustine … Saskatchewan – Matthew Forbes, Trevor Severinski … Thompson Rivers – Volodymyr Iegorov … UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte , Will Ondrik … UBC-O – Mitch Goodwin … UNBC – Rhys Elliot, Elliot Rowe, Sam Zhang … Victoria – Grant Sitton … Winnipeg – Jamar Farley
Scores from the East on Sunday –
Atlantic – at UNB 93 Memorial 79, at Saint Marys 75 # 8 Dalhousie 71 …one more season in the AUS where we see the teams in the 6 team League run hot and cold from one weekend to the next. Memorial Seahawks were flying high last week at 7-3 atop the standings, but lose 2 at UNB. UPEI move from 2-7 to 4-7 with last second wins at St. FX and Cape Breton (the only predictable team left). So, despite their loss to their ‘down the street’ rival Saint Marys, the Dal Tigers lead at 7-3, with X and UNB 7-4, and Memorial now 4th at 7-5. On any given night ….
The big game in U-Sports this week is Tuesday’s first matchup of the season at U. Ottawa’s Montpetit Hall between the twin 9-0 ‘Bytown Bullies’, the #1 Carleton Ravens and #2 Ottawa Gee-Gees. The ‘Ponies’ swept this series last year, but, as they do, the Blackbirds came on at playoff time to claim yet another CIS Championship. Many of the faces are the same, with Connor Wood and Kaza Kajami-Keane guiding the ravens, and Caleb Agada still powering Ottawa. New faces include big Eddie Ekiyor for Carleton and Adam Presutti a key transfer from McMaster, now in Gee-Gees colours for his final season. Fans can watch live on OUA-TV (8 pm Eastern) TUESDAY – RAVENS vs GEE-GEES
Here are the Divisional standings in the 17 team OUA, where they also use RPI to seed their season -end Wilson Cup play-offs.
- UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, after his T-Birds’ thrashing of Aberta on Saturday, “The way our three leaders (Morgan, Jensen-Whyte, Ondrik) started the game, they brought so much confidence,” began Hanson. “And they just seemed to transfer that energy to the rest of the team. It was free-flowing energy and when our bench came in, they just carried on with no fear of failure.” From Howard Tsumura, The Province
- TRU’s rookie, Trent Monkman, on his more significant role in helping the Wolves to a home win on Saturday over Winnipeg, “It was a bit of a special one. It was a big game for us — we were coming off a loss — and it felt good to have a bit of an impact,” the native of Smithers said. “It feels good that the coaches are trusting me a little bit to get in there and show what I can do.” From an Adam Williams story in Kamloops the Week