‘The Ball Goes Up ….’

 

 Fall Pre-Season Games on Tap This Week

Teams have been busy with their early Fall work-outs, and pre-season games are getting underway starting this weekend.  Laurentian and Algoma start things off this Friday in Sudbury, while Alberta has an Alumni game on Saturday.  UBC-O hosts Vancouver Island , a strong B.C. College League team, also on Saturday in Kelowna.  Laval, Cape Breton, Saskatchewan, York, Nipissing, and Western Ontario also have CCAA opponents lined up over the next 10-12 days.

Coach Peter Guarasci and the Heat are busy in September.

UBC-O travel to Ontario next week, where the Heat will play McMaster, Toronto, and Western Ont. Also beginning the last weekend in September will be UVic’s annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament.  The Vikes once again welcome the National Champion Carleton Ravens, along with Concordia Stingers and the Guelph Gryphons.  Winnipeg Wesmen continue their tradition of playing a pair of games in Thunder Bay vs Lakehead on September 28 and 29.

Other games that get our interest …  Memorial visits Brock, McMaster, and York on the 29th-Oct 1. The Eric Garland Tournament at U. New Brunswick has Saint Marys, Cape Breton, and UQAM.

 

NCAA vs U-Sports : 45 – 25

6-8 Eddie Ekiyor and the Carleton Ravens look like championship contenders , even in August.

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports schools and NCAA squads, the edge goes to the Americans by a 45 – 25 count.

Overall,  Carleton owned a 9-2 record over NCAA competition, including wins over Alabama, Vanderbilt,  and Northeastern.  McGill, who won all 3 on a trip to the Caribbean,  was just 1-4 in later home games, and had an overall 4-6 mark. Windsor won both their NCAA games in August, then went to The Netherlands and swept a 3 game series against club-pro teams there. Ottawa Gee-Gees were 3-1 with visiting U.S. schools, with their lone loss to Alabama by an 81-71 score.

Out West, it was Alberta with a 1-1 record against Montana State, as they clipped the ‘Cats  97-72 in their 2nd try in Calgary.  UBC took a ‘modified line-up’ (minus Coach Hanson and ace forward, Conor Morgan, among others) to Costa Rica, and lost 3 straight to Texas -El Paso once and 2 to a strong Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack team.   Full details of these results are available on the fine  U-Sports Hoops web-site , which is so well edited by Martin Timmerman in Waterloo.

 

Keith Omoerah is off to play pro in Norway. Photo – Bisons Sports

Overtime –

  • One of a very strong group of graduates leaving the Manitoba Bisons is wing man, Keith Omoerah, who has signed a pro contract with Baerum in Norway.  Omoerah, Amarjit Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, Brett Jewell, and Jonathan Alexander take a lot of skill and experience away from the U of M roster.   More on Omoerah’s move to Europe in this Bisons Athletics release.

  •  Raptors Train at UVic … In what has become a tradition, the Toronto Raptors will hold training camp in British Columbia for the 4th straight year. UVic’s CARSA Gym will be the site from Sept. 26-29.  While practices will be closed to the public, fans will get a chance to see an   intra-squad game  on Thursday, Sept. 28. Tickets for this intra-squad game “ … were available online and in person at the CARSA membership services counter and were in incredibly high demand,” read the news release from Vikes Athletics as of last Friday.  Actually, the on-line and in- person ticket rush was over in less than 1/2 hour! Sell-out!  There are some standing room seats available closer to game time.

    Canadian Kyle Wiltjer will be one of the new faces in the Toronto line-up this season.

    This is a great tradition by the Raps, who have , in recent years, also had pre-season NBA games in various cities across Canada.  Unfortunately, Victoria will be the only Canadian venue this season.  Toronto has early October games in Honolulu, Portland, Toronto, and Chicago.  More Raptors info

 

 

Basi Latest to Go ‘Euro-Pro’

 

 

AJ Basi to Play Pro in Britain

Bisons’ grad, Amarjit Basi, will play in Newcastle, Britain.

The dream of a very young Amarjit Basi was to play basketball at a high level.  The 5th year graduated captain of the Manitoba Bisons has been moving on to a higher level since he was 9 and 10 years old.  After helping the Bisons, under Coach Kirby Schepp, to the 2017 U-Sport Nationals in Halifax, Basi, a slick ball-handler and deady outside shooter, recently signed with Newcastle in the British Div. 1 professional ranks.  (Story in the Winnipeg Free Press).

He joins many Canada West grads who are continuing their playing days with professional teams in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  We wish AJ the best in Britain, and the same to UVic’s Grant Sitton (Slovakia), Calgary’s Thomas Cooper (Germany), and  Thompson River’s Josh Wolfram (Czech Republic).

 

New Canada West Campaign Prompts Logo Changes

The ‘New Canada West’ re-brand is yet another change  for what started as the Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and this is a whole League promotion to launch a new marketing effort.  The details of this new branding are itemized here at their new web-site.

As the League moves forward, so do several schools, with new logos for their teams.  On our  header you will see the up-dated looks for the Brandon Bobcats and the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.  We have also included the new logos for both the Mt. Royal Cougars and the UNBC Timberwolves in this story.

 

One of the most important things the League and it’s schools can do is to make a yearly effort to increase their appeal to potential fans.  University sports may deserve a bigger presence in mainline media than they currently receive, but it is encumbent upon the League and individual schools to become more active in capturing that market.

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NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Hofstra (Div 1 – NY) 88 at McGill 76, Hofstra 99 at UQAM 87, Hofstra 110

at Bishops  51, Hofstra 85  at UQAM  62,   Siena (NY- Div 1) 79  at McGill 71

St. Francis (Brooklyn -Div 1)  75 at Concordia 66, Carleton 73  Siena  66,

McGill 80  St. Francis 67, Ottawa  80  Ramapo College (Div 3 – NJ)

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 Overtime – 

 

  •  Lethbridge signs highly-rated Edmonton guard, Awak Piom, at 6-5 , (Harry Ainlay High School), he was instrumental in helping the Titans win  back-to-back provincial championships in 2014 and 2015  Details from U of L

 

  • Nice story in the Kenora Miner and News about the U. Winnipeg Women’s Team, on a team-building weekend reaching out to young players in Kenora , Ontario   These community connections are an important part of every Canada West program!

 

 

Who Goes, Who Stays for Next Fall?

 

 

 

 An Early Look at Canada West Rosters

We’ve just caught our breath after a long 2nd semester haul to the 7th straight coronation of the Carleton Ravens as U-Sports Champions.  It was a sobering experience for our 3 Canada West teams, as they all drop their round 1 games.  So it is literally ‘back-to-the-drawing-board’ for the 17 schools West of Ontario.

We start with a peek at the  players these teams will lose from rosters from the past season, key returnees, and a number of announced additions and expected jumps from the red-shirt list

Alberta –  2017 Canada West champs … the Bears lose big Brett Roughead, with no word on any other changes from this year’s 14-6 squad.  They return almost their whole roster, including all-stars Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, play-off ace, Mamadou Gueye, and CW rookie team, Andre Kelly. Coach Barnaby Craddock will  certainly have a contender again next season.

Lucas Mannes (tsf-TWU), a sharp-shooting guard, joins the Dinos this Fall.

Calgary –  The Dinos (16-4) win their last 2 of the year, over Manitoba and Saint Marys to finish 5th at Nationals, but four key seniors, Thomas Cooper, Jasdeep Gill, Mitch Ligertwood, and Dallas Karch, will be missed.  Coach Dan Vanhooren does, however, feel good about his returning core, with David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, Mambi Diawara, and Max Eisle at guard.  Forwards are led by Lars Schleuter, Connor Foreman, and Jeff Rodehutskors.  Both 6-6 fwd Sasha Pojuzina (Regina), and 6-1 guard, Jake Nielson (Cochrane) should move in off the red-shirt list, and guard Andrew Milner is a high school signee from Nova Scotia’s U-17 champions. Lucas Mannes, an 18 ppg guard, transfers from Trinity Western.

Shane Osayande returns for the Huskies with his power game.

Saskatchewan – The Huskies  are 14-6 this year, get to the Final 4, but lose to Alberta and Calgary there.  They will miss their solid post man, Matt Forbes, and his 3 point shooting partner, Trevor Severinski.  U of S has the high-octane duo of forward, Shane Osayande, and guard, Alex Unruh, as 5th year leaders in the Fall. Coach Barry Rawlyk will have a strong returning group with veterans, Jaylan Morgan, Lawrence Moore, Mack Burns, and Joseph Barker.  A healthy return for speedy guard, Chan De Ciman, would be a big plus as well.

Manitoba –  A huge push in the 2nd semester, to a 12-8 record,  lifts the Herd to the Final 4, where they qualify for their 1st Nationals in many seasons.  They bid adieu to 4 rotation players including starters AJ Basi, and Brett Jewell, along with point man Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  The Bisons returnees are solid, led by starters Justus Alleyn, a Canada West all-star, and the 2 way hotshot, Keith Omoerah. Coach Kirby Schepp also revels in the depth from forwards James Wagner and Malik Irwin.  He has announced the signing of local high school star, 6-6 Wyatt Tait  ( Oak Park)

Conor Morgan enters his 5th year for UBC this Fall.                 photo- UBC Athletics

UBC Thunderbirds – After a banner 19-1 regular season, UBC suffered a dispiriting 2-0 sweep to Manitoba in play-offs. We expect the T-Birds to rebound as a typically strong contender, but graduating Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Will Ondrik, and Harpreet Randhawa will significantly change the mix. They red-shirted Jauquin Bennett-Boire, an impact lead guard, who came from a ‘partial’ rookie season at Saskatchewan. Coach Kevin Hanson boasts a deep returnee roster, with CW 2017 Player of the Year, Conor Morgan, into his 5th year along with guards, Phil Jalalpoor,  A.J. Holloway, and post man Luka Zaharijevic.  Patrick Simon is another experienced veteran on the front line, and young guards Taylor Browne, Isaiah Familia, Izaihah Ugoalah will step up. Coach Hanson has announced the signing of Cam Morris, a 6-6 forward from St. Thomas More Collegiate (Burnaby).

 Lethbridge – 5th year guard Will Hickey is leaving and  2nd year wing, Scott Mazutinec will depart on a Mission for his church. The ‘Horns were 13-7 and will be hoping to improve on that for 2017-18, with Kyle Peterson, transfer (UVic) combo guard, returning for his 3rd year, after finishing his church mission.  Dejon Burdeaux will be a 5th year leader, with Michael Pierzchala, Elliott Sentance, and Zac Overwater adding offensive punch.   6-6 wing, Mark Rodehutskors, should help, coming off the red-shirt list, and UL likely adds another Australian post man.

Winnipeg – Coming off a 12-8 record in 2016-17, the relatively young Wesmen lose  Jamar Farley to graduation, but boast all-rookie team member, Narcisse Ambanza, and CW all-star Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Sean Tarver is a high scoring wing man, and William Sesay, a talented all-round contributor.  Up front, the Ws return big post man, Ryan Oirbans, along with 6-7 Billy Yaworsky Coach Mike Raimbault has had good luck in recruiting local talent and a few top players from the East in his tenure at UW.

The Cascades’ Nav Bains and Wesmen’s Ryan Oirbans will do battle again next season.

Fraser Valley – Coach Adam Friesen will be looking to re-tool his offense, as the Cascades graduate both scoring guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon.  There is, however a ton of talent in ‘The Valley’ and the Lower Mainland, and Friesen has established his program largely with locals. He has announced the signing of Harsimran Bhullar of Panorama Ridge HS , Surrey, B.C.  UFV returns a good core of veterans in Navjot Bains, Denver Sparks-Guest, and Anthony Gilchrist.

Brandon – The Bobcats late season run to 9-11 was one of the good stories in Canada West this Winter, and Coach Gil Cheung will be working hard at building on that momentum. They have some key players graduating this Spring, including scorer-rebounder Earl Thompson Jr, shooter Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem. The ‘Cats do have some young talent in guards Tyvon Cooper, a CW all-star,  and Pookie Saunders. John Paul will be a 5th year leader up front, along with rookie Kobyn Jopp, and Tyler Anderson.

2017 Rookie of the Year, Scott Kellum, will lead the Vikes next season.

Victoria –  The Vikes lose their go-to scorer, Grant Sitton, and Coach Craig Beaucamp has wasted no time trying to improve on their 9-11 League mark.  Scott Kellum, a headsy guard from Washington state, is the 2017 Canada West Rookie of the Year, and a solid building block. Vlad Zasmolin (Calgary-Churchill)  could be a ‘sleeper’ off the red-shirt list, and UVic returns several young rotation players in Jake Newman, J.J. Hamel- Carey, and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson.  We understand that TRU’s impressive rookie, 6-1 guard Trent Monkman, will be a red-shirt with the Vikes this Fall.  Coach Beaucamp was busy early, and has signed 6-7 Hunter Hughes from Surrey (Southridge), Andrew Goertzen, a 6-8 fwd from Walnut Grove (Langley), 6-11 Eric Hegadoran from Lambrick Park, Victoria, 6-2 Jaden Touchie, Victoria, Oak Bay, and 6-3 guard Aaron Tesfegiorgis, from Calgary – Notre Dame.  Very busy.

More team reports up-coming  _________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime – 

 

Ravens Triumph to Reach 7 Straight Titles

 

Kaza Kajami-Keane pilots the Ravens to a 7th straight U-Sports title              (photo – Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

#2  Carleton Ravens 78   #1  Ryerson  Rams  69  –  The Ravens win their 7th straight U-Sports National Championship, the 2nd team, after the 1980-’86 Victoria Vikes,  to ever accomplish that amazing feat.  Carleton also have an unprecedented 13 titles in 15 seasons from their 1st championship in 2003.

Prior to the game, Coach Dave Smart was talking up the strength of the opposing Ryerson Rams  and suggesting that his Ravens would be hard-pressed to stay with the 2 -time OUA champions.  But, as they have for so many years, Carleton came out with a purpose, and they flew to an 11 point lead at the half, as the Rams could manage only 30% from the field.

The lead swells to 24 for the defending champs by the mid-point in the 3rd period, despite the rare cold-shooting afternoon from Canadian University Player of the Year, Connor Wood.  A noted 3-point assassin, in his 5th and final season, Wood can only sink 1 of 8 FG attempts, and is 0/7 from outside. 

Ryerson rallies for the next 13 minutes, and their quick hands create some discomfort for the Ravens’ guards. Closing to within 6 points with 1:30 left in the 4th, the Rams are halted by Wood’s lone basket and subsequent and-one free throw at the 20 second mark.

Three Carleton scorers do hit double figures, with 5th year forward Ryan Ejim pacing them with 19 pts/ 9 rebs. 5th year point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane controls play for much of the game, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while 6th man guard, Emmanuel Owootoah, scored all of his 12 points on 4 of 7 from 3 point range.

The Rams just did not shoot the ball well enough to win.  They are 35% from the floor, and 65% from the line.  Their 2nd half rally came from too far back, and they fall short at the finish. Adika Peter-McNeilly is the game’s high scorer with 23 points, and post man Adam Voll contributes 12 points / 9 rebounds.  Ammannuel Diressa fights some early frustration, and chips in with 11 points / 7 boards.

This is an historic win for Coach Smart and the Ravens, who prove once again, that they are the team to beat for the foreseeable future.   Box Score  

 

Tigers use their defense and free throws to win the bronze

 #5 Dalhousie Tigers  69  #3 McGill Redmen 63  –  You shoot 37% from the floor, and the opponent hits 50%. They hit 8 treys, and you only 2 !  Trouble, yes?  Well, not in this case.  Dalhousie forces 21 McGill turnovers, and the Tigers  binge on 27/37 free throws  vs 9/13 for the Redmen.

Quirky scoring summary … 2 Dal starters, Jarred Reid and Ritchie Kanza Mata, count all their points from the foul line. 8 of 9 for Reid and 9/11 from Kanza Mata.  The Tigers get 20 points/ 5 rebs from Sven Stammberger, and Jordan Aquino-Serjue hits 10 points off the bench.

McGill spread the scoring, with 3 in double digits, led by 17 from the dependable Jenning Leung, as he cashes 4 of 6 attempts from 3. Francois Bourque scores 14 and adds 9 boards, while Dale Ogundokun tallies 13 points/ 4 rebs/ 3 assists.

Dal wins the bronze, and were just one shot away from their shot at a championship in Saturday’s semi.  McGill is going home empty-handed, despite some very solid play.        Box Score   

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Overtime –

  • Neil Murphy, a senior researcher for CW Hoops, reminds us that these 2 finalists, Carleton and Ryerson feature a totally home-grown roster.  Unlike most teams in Canada West, neither the Rams nor the Ravens have any import players in their line-up, which is a testimony to the depth of talent in Ontario, we would suggest.
  • The Ravens graduate Wood, Kaza Kajami-Keane, Ryan Ejim, and Joe Rocca.

    Ryan Ejim has been a big force inside for the Ravens.

    Will those losses mean that the Carleton run is at an end?   Probably not … they usually attract top talent every year, and they still have a strong returning group.  Ryerson say good-bye to Adika Peter-McNeilly, while Dalhousie is going to miss Kashrell Lawrence, Ritchie Kanza-Mata, Jarred Reid, and Ryan Stroud. McGill has no 5th year players, but a couple of their 4th years may move on.  Calgary graduates Thomas Cooper, Jasdeep Gill, Dallas Karch, and 4th year, Mitch Ligertwood. Saint Marys loses starters Marquis Clayton, Brian Rouse, Achuil Lual, and Theon Reefer. (There’s a recruiting challenge!). Manitoba has 4 key players departing – A.J Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, Jonathan Alexander, and Brett Jewell. Alberta graduates their 7-1 post man, Brett Roughead .

  •  The Women’s Finals 8 from Victoria Sunday –   Championship – McGill 66  Laval 55 – the 1st for McGill.            Bronze –      Carleton 53 Queens  43 

Calgary vs Saint Marys in Consolation Final

 

 

 

Cooper leads hot Dinos shooting in win over Manitoba

Thomas Cooper drops 30 points as Calgary  beats Manitoba        (photo – Trevor MacMillan)

 Consolation, game  1 – Calgary Dinos  92   Manitoba Bisons  84 –  Fast and loose.  That is a reasonable description of the 1st half of the Dinos-Bisons reprise in Friday night consolation play.  Both teams over 50% from the floor, and both teams with 10+ turnovers.  The Canada West ‘cousins’  trade offensive bursts of 7-12 point runs.

The dust clears with he Dinos up 43 – 42, and this one may get into the 90s before it’s done. And, yes, UC goes up by 13 mid-way in the 3rd, but a buzzer beating 3 by Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah closes it to 4.

The Dinos fight off the Herd in the final frame, with continued hot shooting (54% for the game), while Manitoba (50% on FG, and 47% from 3)  get a late surge which falls just short. Thomas Cooper tallying 30 points / 11 rebounds, 3 asst/ 3 steals , and David Kapinga contributes 18 pts/ 3 asst/ 2 steals.  6-7, 4th year, Connor Foreman, has a nice game off the bench, scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 rebounds, as the Dinos score 49 in the 2nd half..

The Bisons are led by Keith Omoerah’s 15 pts/ 9 boards/ 5 helpers, as he is one of 4 in double figures in scoring for UM. Justus Alleyn is 3/4 from outside, and hits 17 pts/ 4 assists. This was the final game for Manitoba’s 4 seniors, A.J. Basi, Bonhomme, Brett Jewell, and Jonathan Alexander.     Box Score     Calgary will play Saint Marys  in the Consolation Final on Saturday at 8:00 pm Atlantic time, again on   U-Sports TV1   

The Saint Marys bench erupts , as the Huskies win in OT            (photo – Trevor MacMillan)

 Consolation, game 2 –  Saint Marys  98  Alberta  93   OT  –  The Bears catch and pass Saint Marys early in the 4th quarter, in a game that was truly back- and- forth. The Huskies are down 5 with 35 seconds left in regulation, but 2 free throws then a final seconds trey from guard, Marquis Clayton,  gets them to overtime.  SMU make the home crowd happy, winning the extra 5 minute session, with 2 more outside bombs from Clayton pivotal in the win.

The coaches tweak their rotations, and subs are in and out regularly.  Two big advantages for the Huskies are the 6 to 18 turnover chart, and their beating Alberta at their own 3 point shooting game … 14/34 – 41%  vs  9/25 – 36% for the Bears.

Clayton leads the SMU charge with his 24 points/ 6 rebs/ 6 assists , highlighted by his 6/9 from 3 point range. Theon Reefer kicks in with 20 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 assists, while post man Achuil Lual has an impact with his 11 pts/ 7 rebs.

The Bears share their scoring , with 6 in double figures, led by 20 from Mamadou Gueye, who also grabs 7 boards.  Big Brett Roughead, the lone 5th year senior, plays 29 minutes, and scores 15 points and snares 15 rebounds, leading U of A’s dominant 58-33 edge in that department. Import guard, Austin Waddoups, scores 19 with 7 rebounds, while Geoff Pippus posts a double of 12 points/ 10 rebounds.    Box Score  

SMU will face Calgary in the 8:00 pm Consolation Final on Saturday.

 

Final 8 in Halifax …   Schedule for Saturday –

1 p.m. Atlantic      Semifinal 1     #2 Carleton Ravens  vs  #3 McGill Redmen  (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)

3:30 p.m. Semifinal 2      #1 Ryerson Rams  vs  #5  Dalhousie Tigers  (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)

8:00 pm  Consolation Final – #7 Calgary vs #8 Saint Marys

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Overtime –

Mitchell Wood, younger brother to Ravens’ ace, Connor Wood.   photo – Carleton Athletics

  • Brotherly ‘love’from the Carleton Ravens’  Wood brothers,  “He (younger brother Mitchell) had to survive in the driveway somehow, so he had to be tough,” quips Connor, who majors in psychology. “I always liked to get to the rim more than shoot,” Mitchell concurs. “I was going to get bullied either way, so I had to come hard or just not come out [of the house] at all.”  From David Whitfield, Ravens ‘resident scribe’. 
  • Manitoba Coach, Kirby Schepp, with some classy comments following the game with Calgary tonight, “We have tremendous respect for Calgary and their coaches and program,” said Schepp. “And while there’s a rivalry – we’ve played a lot in the last couple years – it’s a good rivalry, a healthy rivalry. We can complete at a high level and it’s fun competing like that.”  From U-Sports – Halifax
  • U-Sports Women’s Tournament Consolation scores –  from Victoria54

          Saskatchewan 65 Cape Breton 51,      Victoria  78  Regina  64

  •  The Women’s schedule on Saturday – 

2 pm Pacific – Laval  vs Queens in semi #1

4 pm        –  McGill vs Carleton in semi #2

7 pm  –  Saskatchewan   vs Regina

 

Ravens Rebounders, McGill Defense Win Early games

 

 

Offensive boards and 30 point edge off 3s propel Ravens to win

Carleton’s  Connor Wood  makes it a tough shot for the Dinos’ David Kapinga         (photo: Trevor MacMillan)

#2  Carleton 85  #7  Calgary 69 –   The Ravens go up 10 at the half on a run and pitch trey byEmmanuel Owootoah  at the buzzer.  Calgary had played hard at the defensive end, causing 12 turnovers, and slowing-down the Carleton drive, kick, and hit the 3 offense.  Still, the Black Birds were on top having made 7 treys in the opening 20 minutes, and that is deadly for any defense.  With the big rebounding edge for Ravens, Calgary gives up too many extra chances.

Calgary hangs in for much of the 2nd half, and, brings the score within 5 points in both the 3rd and 4th frames.  But, with  about 6 minutes left, the Ravens go on an 11— 0 run to boost it to 16.  There are 5 Carleton players in double figures, as they shoot 47% as a team vs 42% for the Dinos.  The big difference  came from outside shooting, as the Ravens hit 14/35 for 42 pts against UC’s 4/14 for only 12. That’s a tough gap to fill ….

Rebounding by  Carleton did wear down the Dinos, with the final count 48-24, including 17 offensive boards for the defending champs. Carleton had 16 points each from guards Connor Wood, Emmannuel Owootoah, and Kaza Kajami-Keane, with Keane adding 9 assists .  Eddie Eyikor scored 10 plus 7 boards, while big Cameron Smyth cashed 10 and grabbed 9 off the glass.

Thomas Cooper scored 17 for Calgary, plus 6 rebs/ 4 assts, with Mambi Diawara close behind , scoring 15 pts/ 4 asst/ 3 steals.  A brave effort by the Dinos, but the size, rebounding, and shooting of Carleton wins the opener in the 2017 Nationals.   Box Score 

Carleton will play in one semi final vs McGill on Saturday, while Calgary goes Friday at 3 pm Mountain  in the consolation bracket against familiar foe, the Manitoba Bisons.

McGill’s Jenning Leung takes it to the rim against Manitoba      (photo credit: Trevor MacMillan)

#3 McGill  63  #6 Manitoba  53 –  McGill couldn’t have asked for more in terms of the run of play in this offensively-challenged contest .  The Bisons come out looking a little tight, as the McGill defense chokes down Manitoba’s early offensive thrusts.  McGill gets a bigger share of the ball, and convert free throws and a pair of late-on-the-clock treys for a 5 point margin after 20 minutes.

Manitoba picks up their game late in that 2nd quarter, and look more comfortable at the scoring end for a bit. However, the Bisons ball handlers / shooters are ‘off their game’ for the most part. The Redmen win while shooting just 37% from the floor, and 11 for 22 from the foul line!  Just too many sloppy decisions by the Herd.

Manitoba cannot get their break going, and take an uncharacteristically low 8 attempts from 3, and hit just 2.  McGill is only 6/28 from deep, but still come out ahead in that department. Veteran Redmen,  guard Jenning Leung (13 pts) and post work-horse Francois Bourque (13 pts/ 14 rebs/ 4 steals) provide the leadership needed to steer the Reds into the semi-finals.

The Bisons get 13 points apiece from Keith Omoerah (9 rebs/ 4 asst/ 3 steals) and A.J. Basi, who added 3 steals.  Usually productive efforts from other starters were absent, and we can only blame the big stage, and, of course, a rugged McGill defense. Box Score

McGill advance to Saturday’s semi-final against the Carleton Ravens, while Manitoba get to play their Canada West rivals, the Calgary Dinos on Friday at 6 pm Atlantic in the consolation round.

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Overtime –

  • Kirby Schepp, Manitoba Coach, in a wonderful story in the Winnipeg Sun on the Bisons Ilarion Bonhomme , “In my 25 years coaching, I don’t know if there’s anybody ahead of him in terms of the quality of kid and the person he is  …. He treats everyone from the kid wiping the floor, to the secretary, to his teammates with incredible respect. I see the way he is around kids, around my kids, he’s just awesome.”  
  • The All-Canadian Awards ‘Gala’  was night in Halifax, and Connor Wood, a  5th year guard from the Carleton Ravens, was named the 2017 U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.  He is the 8th Carleton player so honoured over the past 17 seasons.  Wood shot over 50% from the floor and from the 3 point line, averaging 19 ppg.
  • Other U SPORTS award winners –   Ottawa wing man, Caleb Agada, is the Defensive Player of the Year, while Laurentian guard, Kadre Gray, accepted the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy  as Rookie of the Year.  Carleton’s Dave Smart won his 8th Stu Aberdeen Memorial Trophy  as Coach of the Year, and Dalhousie forward Kashrell Lawrence, won the Ken Shields Award for Academics and Community Service. 
  • 2017  All-Canadians –   1st Team –

Connor Wood , Carleton , 5th year, Guelph, ON

Conor Morgan,  UBC,  4th , Victoria, B.C.

Adika Peter-McNeilly ,  Ryerson ,  5th , Scarborough, ON

Kevin Bercy ,  St Francis Xavier,   4th,  Kanata, ON

Thomas Cooper,  Calgary,  5th,  Chattanooga, TN

 2nd Team –

Kaza Kajami-Keane,   Carleton ,5th, Ajax, ON

Dele Ogundokun, McGill , 4th , Hamilton, ON

Javon Masters,  UNB , 4th, Kitchener, Ont.

Caleb Agada,  Ottawa ,  5th,  Burlington, ON

Shane Osayande,  Saskatchewan ,  4th ,  Toronto, ON

 All-Rookie Team         

Kadre Gray                Laurentian       Toronto, ON

Eddie Ekiyor              Carleton           Ottawa, ON

Scott Kellum              Victoria            Issaquah, WA

Jamaal Potopsingh    UNB               Brampton, ON

Kendrick Jolin            McGill              Pte. Claire, PQ

Ryerson and Carleton Aiming for Rematch

 

Ryerson and Carleton favoured to meet in Championship Final

Can any other team de-rail the favoured Rams – Ravens ?

Final 8  – Round 1 Previews – Thursday games (Atlantic Time)

12 Noon …   #2 Carleton Ravens  vs #7 Calgary Dinos 

The Ravens are aiming at winning their 7th straight National title, and they beat Calgary 101-79 last March in that 6th consecutive triumph.  Coach Dave Smart is the master at preparing his team for this 4 day event, and the Ravens, who are 27-1 against U-Sports teams this season are a daunting foe.

Kaza Kajami-Keane is the catalyst for Carleton’s offense. photo – Ottawa Citizen

Carleton are led by the OUA Player of the Year, Connor Wood, a 6-4, 5th year shooting guard, who pulls the trigger on the long ball as well as anyone in this field.  His back-court partner, Kaza Kajami-Keane, is a powerful, quick play-maker, who scores nearly 15 ppg, but is really the floor leader. The Ravens power in the post will be a huge plus again this Final 8 Tournament, with Eddie Ekiyor, a 6-8 rookie, teaming up with 6-7 Ryan Ejim, a 5th year vet who was so strong in the paint in last year’s win. As back-up, CU has 6-11, Cameron Smyth, a 4th year from Charles Tupper in Vancouver.  They are big, and can overwhelm  most teams.

Calgary were 24-5 vs all Canadian universities, are the ‘wildcard’ pick, and the 3rd Canada West team in the 8 team draw. The Dinos are a fast-paced attacking team, with 5th year wing man Thomas Cooper their scoring leader at 23 ppg.  Cooper will hope to have better luck against the Ravens defenders  in this re-match with Carleton, after he and the Dinos were thwarted in the 2016 Final.

UC  have had a run of injuries late in the season, which has depleted their very deep roster.  Lars Schleuter, a 6-7 wing man with a dangerous 3 point shot, has been out with a high-ankle sprain.  Also on the shelf was Dallas Karch, a 5th year, 6-7 forward, whose size and athleticism has been a big boost for UC.  Jasdeep Gill, another 5th year wing with the ability to score, has had ankle / leg issues, and is a ‘possible’ for Thursday’s game.

David Kapinga, the speedy 3rd year UC point man, can shoot the 3, and put pressure on opposing ball-handlers.  Jhony Verrone, a muscular 6-0, 4th year combo guard from Montreal is proving his worth as a versatile defender.  Mitch Ligertwood is a 6-6, hard-nosed, 4th year  post man, who should be the key guy inside in this smaller Dinos line-up.

Anytime Carleton plays, they are the favourites.  Eastern experts suggest this could be their best team yet. That says a lot about anyone else’s chances, but their lone loss did take place last Saturday.  Calgary a distinct long-shot in this Tournament opener.     Watch on U-Sports TV 1     9 am Mountain

 

2:00 pm  … #3 McGill Redmen   vs  #6  Manitoba Bisons

The Redmen have been dominant in the 5 member RSEQ in recent seasons, as they return to the Nationals for the 5th straight time.  Coached by Quebec Coach of the Year, David DeAveiro, the Redmen are a solid defensive club, with an experienced line-up, even without any 5th year seniors. 

McGill’s  top scorers are guards Jenning Leung (14.5 ppg) , a 6-4, 4th year shooter, who is a native of the Philippines, and 6-2, 4th year, Dale Ogundokun (12.7 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 3.5 assists).  Ogundokun, a Hamilton, ON high school star, was honoured as the Quebec Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Up front the Redmen have 3rd year, 6-8 Noah Daoust, and 6-6 Michael Peterkin, but may be missing their top big man, 4th year, Francois Bourque, a rugged rebounder/scorer/defender who has missed 3 games with an undisclosed injury.

Manitoba have reached this National Tournament for the 1st time in over 30 years, and their seniors are ‘jacked’ with the prospect of competing on this ‘big stage’. Says 4th year  shooting guard , A.J. Basi “Our goal was to get to Halifax at first.  This is like our last week together so we want to make the most of it and we’re all focused on that first game on Thursday against McGill.” (From Global News – Russ Hobson).

Manitoba’s high scoring guard, Justus Alleyn photo – UM Athletics

Basi (13.6 ppg) is one of their key scorers, with his 3 point acumen, and he can be a ball-hawk on defense.  The Herd has a powerful leader in 6-5, 4th year Keith Omoerah, who scores 13.2 ppg, grabs 8.7 rebs and can defend inside and out. Ilarion Bonhomme, a quick, 5-10 import (Washington, DC) point man triggers the Bisons break, and 6-3 Justus Alleyn, is their top scorer at 17.5 ppg, and shooting over 40% from 3 point range.

The Bisons and Redmen should make for a fascinating match-up … McGill with their defense, and Manitoba a quick-strike offense.  This may go down to the wire, if UM can get the hot shooting in a big arena .    (12 noon Central time) 

 

6:00 pm  …   #1  Ryerson Rams  vs  #8  Saint Marys Huskies –  On the surface, this 1-8 match-up suggests a Ryerson win, but the ‘home team’ Huskies will want to have a say before we fill in our semi-final bracket !

Adika Peter- McNeilly is a force for the OUA champion , Ryerson      photo – Rams Athletics

For the 2nd straight season, the Rams are champions of the OUA, having beaten Carleton (86-79) on the Ravens’ home court this time around.  Coach Roy Rana has a team ‘on a roll’, having won 7 of their last 8 and are 22-4 vs U-Sports teams this season.  Ryerson has a pressing, running, and 3 point shooting attack, paced by Adika Peter-McNeilly, a 6-3, 5th year guard, who is the high scorer, but also a quick and headsy defender.  His ‘right-hand man’ is 6-5, 4th year wing, Ammanuel Diressa, who is the #1 disruptor on the defensive end, but also scores in bunches.

The Rams are deep in talent, with 6-8 Adam Voll a big body inside, and 6-6 , Juwon Grannum, a 5th year rebounder, who contributes as well to the 40% + 3 point shooting for the team. Guards Myles Charvis, a former rookie sensation at Waterloo, and quick point man, Roshane Roberts, keep the pressure  coming on defense.

Saint Marys have a history in this National Tournament, having 4 titles to their credit, and have a knack for answering the bell at the Atlantic Tournament, making many Nationals Final 8s.  This year’s squad had a 23-10 U-Sports record, but had limited play outside the Maritimes.

Their core group are led by 5-9 point man, Marquis Clayton, one of 6 Huskies in their 5th year.  Clayton scores 19 ppg, and keys their defense. Theon Reefer, a 6-6, 5th year swing-man, has the quickness to make an impact at both ends, and Brian Rouse, a 6-4 guard, is a tough match-up with his size and scoring touch.  The Huskies have size and experience with 6-8, 5th year post, Achuil Lual, and 6-6, 3rd year, Kingston, ON product, Brent Martindale.

A close 2nd (60-63) to the AUS champs, Dalhousie, Saint Marys pose a threat to Ryerson if they can get their offense on track against the Rams’ press.  This game will be at a very high pace, and turnovers could kill that Huskies attack. Ryerson should prevail, but Saint Marys know this court very well.

 

8:00 pm …   #4 Alberta Golden Bears  vs #5 Dalhousie Tigers –  Two League champions tip-off in the feature game of the night on Thursday, and aggressive defense is a calling card for both teams.

Alberta’s Mamadou Gueye has been a play-off stand-out for the Bears this season.

The Bears are playing their best basketball of the season at just the right time, with an impressive weekend of play in capturing their 12th Canada West  title with convincing wins over Saskatchewan 83-70, and Manitoba 92-73.  They are among the League leaders in points allowed at 74 ppg, and they shoot a CW best 40.6% from 3 point range.

Their forward combo of 4th year Mamadou Gueye, a 6-6 Quebec native, and 2nd year Brody Clarke, a 6-7  Toronto product gives them inside scoring and leads a strong rebounding team effort.  Clarke, the son of former Canada national team star, Norm Clarke ,  will require extra attention from Dal defenders in the paint.  Gueye saved his best games for the Canada West Final 4, and he is a threat from anywhere with his offensive explosiveness.

Austin Waddoups, a 6-2 import guard (Utah)  has been a major addition, and he controls the pace as a point man, but also hits the timely trey on a regular basis. Coach Barnaby Craddock utilizes guards Dwan Williams (6-2, 2nd year, Toronto)   and  6-5 , 4th year, import shooter, Geoff Pippus as complimentary weapons, and both can score when needed.  7-1 Brett Roughead is in his 5th year, and can make things tough on the interior.

Dalhousie will have big local support, and count on their veteran core of senior vets Kashrell Lawrence, Richie Kanza Mata, and Sven Stammberger to lead the way.  The Tigers return to this Final 8 for the 2nd straight season, with a 25-10 record, and wins over Ryerson and Brock earlier this year.

Lawrence,  a 5th year, and only 6-2, is a muscular dynamo up front, and galvanizes teammates and Dal fans with his rugged play on the boards, and in scoring against bigger opponents. Kanza Mata was voted the AUS Defensive Player of the Year, but he can also score from an offense that led the Atlantic League in FG% at almost 47%.

Last season’s U-Sports Rookie of the Year, 6-0 Jordan Aquino-Serjue, is a valuable 6th man off the bench, and 5th year guard, 6-3 Jared Reid, is a solid wing man with a nice offensive game.  In reserve, the Tigers have a pair of big posts in 6-7 Ryall Stroud (tsf Queen’s), and 6-10 import, Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) .

This promises to be an entertaining finale for Thursday’s card, and picking a winner here may be tough.  Both teams will aim to make life difficult with physical defense, and the ability of the scorers on both squads to break free will be paramount.   This is a 5 pm Mountain tip-off.

Remember, you can   Watch on U-Sports TV 1

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, is Canada’s winningest coach

  • Coaching records (U-Sports overall) for the 8 Head coaches in this tournament –    Dave Smart, Carleton – 520-46 (.919) … Roy Rana, Ryerson – 139-69 (.668)  … Dave De Aveiro, Ottawa / McGill – 341-183 (.651) … Jonah Taussig, Saint Marys – 99-67 (.596) … Barnaby Craddock – Brandon, UFV, Alberta – 221-151 (.594) … Rick Plato, Dalhousie – 76-53 (.589) … Dan Vanhooren, Calgary – 304-213 (.588) … Kirby Schepp, Manitoba – 112-124 (.475)
  • This National Championship Final 8 Tournament returns to Halifax for the first time since 2012.  The event will have been played in this venue a total of 30 times in the 44 years since competition began back in 1963.

 

 

Clarke Shines as Bears Take Title

 

 

Second half power delivers Canada West title to Alberta

Brody Clarke’s 29 points drive Alberta to the Canada West title   photo – U of A Athletics

 Alberta 92  Manitoba  73  –  The Bears big men, Brody Clarke and Mamadou Gueye, flexed their muscles here in the Final, with Clarke taking it at the Bisons’ low post defenders.  Three UM post men accumulate 11 fouls trying to corral the 2nd year Canada West all-star.  Gueye  was converting his chances from the 3 point line (3/4)  to his feathery step- back post-ups.   The Bruins explode for 54 points in the final 20 minutes, as Manitoba appears to tire.

After the opening quarter, Alberta seized the lead, and really took charge in the 4th, as the foul count mounted against the Herd.  UM foul out both Keith Omoerah and Justus Alleyn, who had been so central in their drive to the final. Alberta converted 22/30 free throws, and won the rebound battle 47-31.

For the Bears, Clarke finishes with a game- high  29 points plus 12 rebounds, while Gueye tallies 20 pts/ 8 boards/ 3 steals.  Geoff Pippus does some 4th quarter damage with his 3 point shot, as he posts 18 points on 4/8 from outside, and Austin Waddoups works hard for 17 points / 5 rebounds.

Manitoba could not find their shooting eye from outside nearly as well as they had done against Calgary in the  Friday semi-final.  The Bisons were just 4/22  vs the GBs outstanding 10/21 from beyond the arc. Both Omoerah and A. J. Basi scored 17 points and Keith grabs 10 boards for his double.  Ilarion Bonhomme records 15 points and 5 assists from his point spot.

Both these teams will represent Canada West in next week’s Nationals, which start Thursday, March 16 in Halifax. Box Score  

 

Cooper’s 19 second half points lead Dinos to OT win 

Dinos Thomas Cooper finds the range in OT win over Saskatchewan                                        photo – David Moll , UC

Calgary 111  Saskatchewan  106  OT –  In one of the strangest games in recent memory, the Dinos snatch victory after trailing by 17 in the middle of the opening quarter following  an 11-0 Saskatchewan run. The Huskies came out firing, and hit 4 treys to surge ahead, and they looked like winners for most of the afternoon.  UC came back with a couple of 3s, and it was 26-20 as the period ended. A late flurry in the 2nd was capped by a buzzer-beating heave for 3 from import guard, Lawrence Moore for U of S., as they were up 51-43 at the break.

Saskatchewan held the lead through all of the 3rd frame, and right into the last minute of regulation, when Calgary’s Thomas Cooper hit a jumper to tie it at 95.  In the OT, Cooper, who had started slowly, poured in another 11 points to pace the spirited Dinos come-back.

Cooper tallied 32 points/ 7 rebs/ 5 assists as Calgary fought to give themselves a realistic shot at the lone wildcard spot in next week’s National Final 8.  David Kapinga played 41 minutes and scored 21 for UC, while Mambi Diawara (17 pts/ 6 rebs/ 5 assts, and Jhony Verrone (16 pts/ 5 assts/ 2 steals/ 3 breakaway dunks )  aided in the big win.

The Sled Dogs, like Calgary, ran right through their line-up , going 10+  deep, with starters Jaylan Morgan and Shane Osayande in pretty early foul trouble. All 5 starters were in double figures, with Moore counting a game-high 33 pts along with 6 rebs/ 4 asst/ 4 steals.  He had big help from Matt Forbes (18 pts/ 6 boards), and Osayande (15 pts/ 8 rebs).     Box Score

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In the East –  

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final  –   #2 Ryerson 86 #1 Carleton  79 –  The Rams pull off the upset for the 2nd straight year.    #4 Brock  69   #3  Ottawa 67 – the Gee-Gees may have cost themselves a wildcard spot with this 3rd place  loss.

Atlantic Tournament   Semis –   #10 Dalhousie  78  Acadia  75,   St. Mary’s  81 UNB 68      The Tigers  – Huskies  all-Halifax championship final is Sunday at 4:30 on  AUS TV    http://www.austv.ca/

 In the Quebec Final  Saturday   #6  McGill 82   UQAM  65 , so the Redmen return as the RSEQ reps at Nationals.

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Overtime – 

  • Saskatchewan defeats  Regina  64-53 for the  Women’s Canada West title on Saturday.   Both teams will join hosts, Victoria in the U-Sports Women’s Final 8 Tournament next week on the Island.
  • Guests shot on Canada West TV for Dinos Assistant Coach Matt Skinn, as he bumps ‘ex-buddy’ John Tramble off the ticket with ace play-by-play man, Lucas Meyer.  (Cut-throat ambition, Matty !)
  • The Sunday Atlantic Championship game will precede the conference call for the Wild-card selection committee, as they choose the 8th team for the nationals in Halifax.

Bisons and Bears Contest Canada West Title Game

 

 

 

Bisons Beat Dinos With 3 point Accuracy

A.J. Basi leads Manitoba into the Canada West Final

 Manitoba 74  Calgary  72 –  Manitoba continues their amazing path through the 2nd half of the Canada West schedule, then beats first UBC, then tonight, Calgary, to earn a shot at a Canada West title.  And, the Herd will travel to Halifax to  compete in their 1st U-Sport Nationals in over 30 years. Coach Kirby Schepp’s squad did it with the 3 point shot for much of the game, as they hit 11/19 (58%) to Calgary’s 3/23.

The Dinos got close through  the Bisons’ 25 turnovers, but their cold shooting (39% to 47% for UM) wouldn’t allow them to convert 21 more FG attempts into a win. 4 Manitoba players hit double figures, led by the 19 points of A.J. Basi, who, along with Keith Omoerah (17 points/ 14 rebounds) were both 4/5 from outside the arc. Ilarion Bonhomme scored 13 and had 6 rebounds, and his speed gave Calgary defenders problems.

Calgary missed 2 shots in the final 5 seconds, and never quite caught the Herd in the dying minutes. Thomas Cooper had 17 points/ 7 rebs for UC, but Bisons defenders allowed him just 6/24 from the floor, and he was blanked on all 6 of his 3 point attempts.  David Kapinga had 13 pts/ 3 steals, and Jasdeep Gill counted 12 for the Dinos.  UC must now win the 3rd place game at 3 pm Saturday vs Saskatchewan, and hope for a wildcard berth into Nationals.     Box Score  

 

Alberta 83  Saskatchewan 70 –  The Bears win every period from the Huskies, as they swarm the 2 U of S big men, and deny good looks to Huskies’ shooters. Alberta shot the ball well,  at 46%, with Mamadou Gueye  weaving a masterpiece with his dominating

Alberta’s Mamadou Gueye scorches U of S with his 30 points

play. The explosive 4th year forward struck for 30 points/ 8 boards, and had everything from 2 treys,  to an alley -oop dunk, then cleaned up inside with some timely rebound hoops in the 2nd half.

Austin Waddoups scored 20 for the GBs, and he controlled the pace, adding 4 assists. Despite losing all-star post man, Brody Clarke,  to fouls early in the 4th frame, Alberta managed to limit Saskatchewan’s inside game. Shane Osayande had just 10 pts / 9 rebounds for the Dogs before he too fouled out near the end.  Lawrence Moore had 19 for U of S, mostly on slick drives to the hoop, but he hit just 2/9 from the outside, and his team was 9/38 from deep range (24%) to Alberta’s 12/30 (40%).  Big Matt Forbes was one of a pair of Huskies at 11 points and he added 8 rebounds, but he was frustrated by the double -team coming from the Alberta defense.

The Bears will play Manitoba for the Canada West championship on Saturday at 8 pm.  They will join Manitoba as the 2 CW teams qualifying on Friday for the Nationals in Halifax next week.    Box Score   

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In the East –    

The Ontario Wilson Cup Semis   #1 Carleton 89  #4 Brock  64,  #2 Ryerson 76  #3 Ottawa 75   Final and 3rd place game Saturday

Atlantic Tournament   Quarter-Finals –  Acadia 73  Memorial 65, and  St. Mary’s 80 St. FX  79 .    Semis on Saturday  #10 Dalhousie vs Acadia ,  UNB vs St. Mary’s  on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)    The championship final is Sunday at 4:30.

Quebec –  Semi-Finals … McGill 59  Laval 48,  UQAM 81 Concordia  71    The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

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Overtime –

  • Saskatchewan and Regina will play a ‘Provincial Final’ for the Canada West Women’s title on Saturday.  In Friday’s semis in Saskatoon, it was the Huskies over Alberta  72 – 62, and Regina beating Winnipeg 81-70.
  • Injuries added up tonight, with Jaylan Morgan making a strong effort for the Huskies, but he was favouring his injured leg late in the game.  Calgary’s 5th year forward, Dallas Karch, took a bad fall, banging his head, and did not return for the remainder.
  •  Teams already qualifying for the Nationals, which are March 9-12 in Halifax  –  Host, Dalhousie … OUA reps, Carleton and Ryerson, Canada West reps Alberta and Manitoba.  Still to come – the AUS camp, the Quebec champs, and a wild-card team.

Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.