4 Strong Favourites – Canada West Final 8

 

Dinos, Huskies, Bears, and Thunderbirds are odds-on favourites

We look at these match-ups, and we definitely see 4 clear favourites in these quarter-final series, which tip-off Thursday night in Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Vancouver. If the series’ go as predicted, we will be re-convening in Calgary on March 3 -4 with our 4 top seeds in the Championship Tournament –   Calgary vs UBC, and Saskatchewan against Alberta.

But first … let’s take a look at this weekend’s draw.  We’re pretty sure Thompson Rivers, Winnipeg, Lethbridge, and Manitoba would like to prove us wrong by upsetting one of the home clubs!

 

5th Year TRU all-star, Volodymyr Iegorov.

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  at Calgary Dinos –  Calgary has home court, and, with some fortuitous circumstances, the #1 seed.  The Dinos are deep, while TRU are relatively ‘shallow’, and, quite likely, a bit ‘road -weary’ .

This could, however,  get very interesting, if we consider TRU’s 95 ppg average last week vs Brandon, which indicates a willingness to open it up, offensively.  The Dinos will be only too willing to oblige that possibility.   Keys –  TRU – Control the pace.  Stop the Dinos’ Thomas Cooper.  Play their season’s best team defense.  Get good team shooting, and ball control.  Calgary Play their fast pace, and help that along by turning the Wolf Pack over.  Throw multiple defenders at Volodymyr Iegorov.  Limit the 3 point shooting from the Orange. Run some consistent half-court offense.             7 pm games Thurs, Fri, and Sat (if necessary)

Matt Forbes, Huskies  Post man  – photo – Huskies Athletics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnipeg Wesmen at Saskatchewan Huskies – These teams split their November series in Saskatoon, but this is a bolstered line-up for the Huskies in February, as they now have Matt Forbes at full throttle, and guards Jaylan Morgan and Lawrence Moore in the back-court.  The Wesmen have a team that may be able to harass the Sled Dogs ball-handlers, but can they neutralize the U of S bigs?  If the Ws can generate offense vs a stingy Huskies D, they have a shot.  Keys – Winnipeg – Spread the scoring.  Apply full-court defensive pressure.  Get a stand-off in the post. Play a fast pace.  Saskatchewan –  Execute their offense, and hit open shots.  Limit turnovers.  Pound it inside, and force their own pace of play.              8:30 Thurs and Fri , and 4 pm Sat (if necessary).

 

Lethbridge Pronghorns at Alberta Golden Bears –  Very familiar opponents, with

Brody Clarke, U of A –         photo – Bears Athletics

Alberta enjoying home court, and a more experienced , deeper roster.  The Bears should be healthy and rested, while the ‘Horns had some intense action last weekend vs Victoria.  The Austin Waddoups – Dejon Burdeaux match-up should be worth the price of admission, and Elliott Sentance vs the den of U of A outside shooters will be a highlight as well.  Keys – Lethbridge – As always , try and keep Burdeaux on the floor, healthy.  Push the pace on offense without turning it over.  Get ‘secondary -scoring’ from other than Burdeaux and Sentance.  Stop U of A from getting it inside.  Win the rebounding battle. Alberta – Use their depth, and wear down the ‘Horns starters.  Fill it up with 3 pointers (tops in Canada West in % treys and # scored per game).  Attack with Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke.  Concentrate defense on the 2 Lethbridge king-pins.             8 pm Thur, Fri and 7 pm Sat (if a 3rd)

 

Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC’s 5th year guard  – photo –  T’Birds Athletics – Richie Lam

Manitoba Bisons  at UBC Thunderbirds –  Manitoba’s Coach, Kirby Schepp, reminds us that the Herd lost by 8 in game 1 at UBC back in November, then ” … could, and maybe should have won game 2.”  That went 75-72, and was tight down the stretch.  Yes, but … the ‘Birds did go 19-1, which is a measure of their consistency and quality.

They are at War Memorial, a notorious ‘burial ground’ for visiting teams, and UBC has had some time to rest injured stars, Conor Morgan and Phil Jalalpoor.  Manitoba is a match for UBC in terms of experience in their line-up, and they have won 15 of 17 to finish the season.  On the flip side, the Bisons have won only once vs the T’Birds in 23 games since January of 2001.  Keys – Manitoba – Disrupt the UBC offense; they cannot allow the ‘Birds to get too much momentum.  Take care of the ball.  Go after Morgan at both ends.  Do a ‘shut-down ‘ job on Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Share the load on offense, and use the bench.  UBC-  Establish their defensive style, and limit fouls.  Just do what they do on offense.  Whyte is a key catalyst for the rest of the squad.  Keep Morgan healthy.                              7 pm Thur, Fri and Sat ( if 3 are necessary).

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In the East –

The OUA first round games are getting underway tonight – Queens at Nipissing , Laurier at Laurentian , Lakehead at Toronto, and McMaster at Windsor  .  These are  ‘sudden victory’, and you move on to play the top seeds Carleton, Ryerson, Ottawa, Brock on Saturday.

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Strong rookie prospects throughout Canada West

Canada West Hoops’ ‘Co- Rookies of the Year’ , Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza, and Victoria’s Scott Kellum.

We have a large field of rookie to choose our All-Rookie Team from, and we think we can say that this is an exceptional class.  Without the playing minutes, and resulting scoring, and other stats, we can whittle down our list of honourees.  Our suspicion is that we may have some exceptional players in the following group, and they aren’t on our Team !   (reverse alpha order – just a quirk)

Jeff Rodehutskors,  Fwd, Calgary …  Trent Monkman, Wing, Thompson R. … Josaiah Meppelink, G, Trinity W … Madhu  McConnell, G, TRU … Scott Mazutinec,  W,  Lethbridge …  Triston Matthews, G, UBC-O … Craig Martin , G, Mt. Royal …  Tyrell Laing, G, UNBC … Cole Knudsen, F, Alberta … Kobyn Jopp, F, Brandon … Graeme Hyde-Lay, G, Victoria …  J.J. Hamel-Carey , G, Victoria … Benjamin Hillis, W, Regina …  Riley Braich, G  , Fraser V. … Emmanuel Akintunde, F, Saskatchewan.

 

 

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Overtime – 

  • UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, commenting on star forward Conor Morgan’s readiness for play vs Manitoba this weekend, “He won’t be 100 per cent on Thursday night, but he’ll be healthy enough to contribute in some way.”  More on the T’Birds – Bisons in this story from Steve Ewan in The Province  

 

 

 

 

Quarter-Finals Set for Thursday Tip-offs

 

 

Quick turnaround for quarter-finals tip-offs

If you’re the TRU Wolf Pack, you will feel like visitors on your own campus, as you leave again on Wednesday for Calgary,  your 3rd road destination in as many weeks.  TRU were in Regina to finish League play, then last week a 3 game set in Brandon, finishing Sunday …  Monday a.m. on the road to Winnipeg, connecting flight through Calgary, and finally home to Kamloops.

TRU’s Scott Clark leads his ‘Pack to another play-off showdown with the Calgary Dinos.

The Wolf Pack face the #1 seeded Dinos starting Thursday in Calgary, a team they lost to in the Canada West Final last March.  Coach Scott Clark, speaking from the Calgary airport on Sunday afternoon, allowed, “This schedule is beyond our control, so we just deal with it. We are very proud of our young team, who responded very well to a tough atmosphere in Brandon, and fought off a very athletic Bobcats team.  Now we’ll go back and rest, do laundry, and look at some film.  We hope the guys will be just as fired up to face the Dinos, and we know it will be a challenge.”

The Manitoba Bisons were busy making last minute plane reservations as well, as the Herd head out to Vancouver to meet the UBC Thunderbirds.  Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp tells us, “It’s hard to arrange the flights .  You don’t know if you have 2 or 3 games … we may have to wait until Monday to get back home.  It’s expensive!  Meanwhile UM is prepping to play what Schepp calls ” … the best team in our League right now.”

Lethbridge are chartering a bus to return to Edmonton, where they just finished League play against the same Alberta Golden Bears 2 weeks ago.  Well, not exactly the same Bears; we’re pretty sure the starters for both teams will be more prominent in this 1/4 Final than in their last regular season encounter.

The Winnipeg Wesmen will also board a highway cruiser for their series in Saskatoon against the U of S Huskies.  The Ws took 3 games to subdue the UFV Cascades, but looked sharp in the Saturday 84-59 clincher, as their deep perimeter talent ran away from Fraser Valley.  Saskatchewan awaits with their vaunted pair of posts, and a deeper back-court than they’ve had in past seasons.

Our detailed series previews on Wednesday.

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These are our choices, as we wait for the official list from the coaches voting.  Our 1st teamers are the ‘game changers’, and are most consistent at putting their stamp on the game.  Dejon Burdeaux does it all for the ‘Horns, while Thomas Cooper is a clutch scorer and rebounder for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov is the engine for TRU, with all the skills to turn pro. UBC’s Conor Morgan won the scoring title, and is having an amazing season.  Shane Osayande is a double-double almost every time he suits up for the Huskies.

Our 2nd team features U-Sports’ top 3 point shooter in Fraser Valley’s Manny Dulay, and the all-round value delivered by UBC vet, Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Canada West’s top defensive disruptor and leading 3 pt % shooter is Calgary’s David Kapinga, while Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah fills a stat sheet with points / rebounds / assists. Josh Ross arrived as a transfer to MRU after an All-Canadian College career, and he gave the Cougars scoring, passing, and great rebounding.

Our 3rd team has the incredible ‘cross-over king’ Thadius Galvez of the Griffins, along with the Wesmen’s dynamic scoring guard, Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Grant Sitton stood tall for the Vikes during one of their tougher seasons, and Brandon Tull finished his career at Regina as a record setter for that school.  Austin Waddoups is one of 3 Bears who could be on our list, but his energy, creativity, and timely scoring have launched Alberta to greater heights.

There are certainly others worthy of recognition, but we have 15.  You may wish to mention more of your favourites.  Feel free to share them with us.                                 (All-rookies Wednesday)

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Julian Spear Chief – Morris, playing  for the Pronghorns. photo – UL Sports

Overtime –

  • Former Lethbridge Pronghorns star,  Julien Spear Chief – Morris was recently elected as the President of Harvard University’s Law School Legal Aid Bureau.  This  article from Harvard  explains the significance of this election.       Thanks to Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp for passing this on to us.
  • The Victoria  Vikes made it to the CIS Nationals in 2012-13,  2013-14 and 2014-15, and were in the semi-finals in March of ’14 and ’15.  But 2 straight years with a 9-11 League record, missing play-offs last year, then bowing out in round 1 this campaign has Vikes supporters ‘concerned’.   14 year Head Coach, Craig Beaucamp, who has a 70% winning average in Canada West play, and is a 5 – time CW Coach of the Year is determined to get UVic back on top.  ““There are no quick fixes,” said Beaucamp. “It is going to take time. You can’t panic. You can’t just blow it up . Our current group has to get better.  We have a good core and I like it, but we need help. We are small up front. To be honest, we need to add to the mix.”    More on the Vikes’ plans this Times – Colonist  article by Cleve Dheensaw 

 

Bears Hang Up a Big W at Saskatchewan

 

 

Bears outside shooting shocks the Huskies on Friday in Saskatoon

Mamadou Gueye and the Golden Bears claim a huge road W in Saskatoon. photo – U of A Athletics

 # 7  Alberta 80 at # 9 Saskatchewan 67 –  The Bears engage their top weapon, the 3 pt shot, with 13/27 – 48% from outside, and pull away in the closing minutes fo the big road win.  Alberta defense limited the Huskies to 38% from the floor, and the visitor’s sharp ball-handling gave them a 4-14 advantage in the turnover column.  6 points was as close as U of S got in the final frame, and Mamadou  Gueye’s 2 treys in the last 2 minutes iced the cake, and Alberta moves to 13-4.

The Bears get 22 pts from import guard, Austin Waddoups, as he cashes 4/6 from beyond the arc, and  Gueye finishes with 21 and 5 boards.  The Huskies (11-6) have 4 starters in double figures, with a 12 point/13 rebound game from Shane Osayande, and 16 pts/ 8 boards by Matt Forbes before he left with 5 fouls late in the 4th.  Box Score     8 pm Central again on Saturday

at Brandon 79  Manitoba  68 –   The Bobcats (8-11) poke a stick in the Bisons’ spokes,

Tyvon Cooper scores 21 as Brandon derails Manitoba in game 1.  Photo –   Bobcats Athletics

with some aggressive team defense and shut-out rebounding.  Manitoba can hit just 30% from the floor in dropping their 1st game in the last 9 League efforts.  Tyvon Cooper shines for the ‘Cats in this upset , with 21 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 steals, and he gets lots of help.  Big men, John Paul (12 pts/ 13 boards) and Earl Thompson Jr  (13 pts/ 10 rebs), both record handy double-doubles, and Pookie Saunders deals out 8 helpers.  The frustrated Herd (10-7) have Ilarion Bonhomme, the ex-Brandon point man, collect 14 points/ 6 rebs/ 7 assists as their top man.  Keith Omoerah totals 13 pts/ 11 rebs for his double, but there’s not enough offense on the night for the visitors.   Box Score    7 pm  Central  on Saturday

 

 

at  Winnipeg 102  Regina 93 –  Regina (7-10) looked like their hot shooting would get them a road win, but their defense allows 57 points in the 2nd half to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.  It’s ‘very rare’ to shoot 58.5% from the floor (50% from 3 !) and manage to lose.  20 turnovers, and a +10 for the Ws from the foul line certainly aided the charging home side. Winnipeg (11-6) have 6 players in double digits, with Sean Tarver the leader, scoring 21, Denzel Lynch-Blair 18, and big Ryan Oirbans recording a double of 14 pts/ 10 assists/ 8 rebs.  The Cougars get 25 points/ 5 rebs/ 4 assts from the explosive Brian Ofori, and both Brandon Tull and Alex Igual drop 21 pts for the visitors.    Box Score         7 pm  Central on Saturday

# 6 Calgary 84 at Thompson Rivers 76 –  A 21-11 final frame gets Calgary to the road win, after they trail for most of the opening 30 minutes.  The Dinos overtake the Wolves despite a decided 3 point shooting edge for TRU (10-5), but Calgary makes more trips to the line (25/34 vs 14/18) .  The Dinos move up to 13-4, while the ‘Pack fall to 8-9, after a closely contested match.  Thomas Cooper helped UC finish strong, as he collects 22 pts/ 11 rebounds, and got help from Mambi Diawara, who was good for 14 pts.  4 TRU players hit double figures, with Derek Rhodes cashing 16 pts, and Volodymyr Iegorov scoring 14 plus 10 rebs/ 9 assts.  Box Score          7 pm Pacific  again Saturday

 

at  MacEwan 74   UBC-Okanagan  62  –   A big 2nd quarter gets the Griffins a clear lead, and they are even from there for their 7th win vs 11 losses on the season. GMU out-shoots (47% to 35%) and out-rebounds (43-33) the visiting Heat, who are now 2-15. Denzel James leads Mac with 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 assts, while forward Ryan Coleman is off the bench for 14 pts/ 8 boards, and Keith Gerdes chips in with 13 pts/ 8 rebs. Both Austin Penrose (7 rebs) and Aldrich Berrios tally 16 points apiece for UBC-O.  Box Score                 7 pm Mountain  on Saturday

 at  Mt. Royal 96  Trinity Western 66 –  The Cougars open up a 51-30 half-time lead, and cruise to their 8th win, with 5 players hitting double figures.  TWU have offensive troubles stemming from 27 big turnovers, and they shoot only 3/5 free throws vs 19/25 for the home side.  Josh Ross paces MRU with his 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 6 assts, while Brett Layton adds 14 pts/ 8 boards.  Max Vitala tallies 18 pts for Trinity, as they are now 2-15.  Box Score               6 pm Mountain on Saturday

Manny Dulay leads UFV to a come-from-behind win photo- UFV Athletics

at Fraser Valley 87 Victoria 83 –  A somewhat unexpected offensive explosion in Abbotsford, as the Vikes (7-10)  post 33 points to grab a 73-65 lead at the 3/4 mark, only to see the Cascades win the 4th by a 22-10 count for the come-back victory.  Manny Dulay’s 36 points for UFV (8-9) continue a personal hot streak, but none hotter than Friday.  Dulay splashes 8/11 from 3 pt range and adds 7 assists, while Andrew Morris helps with 14 pts.  as Fraser Valley shoots 51% from the floor.  The Vikes are 50% from outside on 14/28, but their offense stalls out in the 4th.  Grant Sitton scores 26 for the visitors on 4/8 from beyond the arc, and he adds 9 rebounds/ 5 assts.  Box Score        7 pm  Pacific  on Saturday

 

 at   UBC 123  UNBC 75  –  Up 56-37 at the break, the T’Birds top that with 67 points in the final 20 minutes to post a most lop-sided win.  Cruel and unusual ….  Conor Morgan pours in 36 pts for UBC, with 13 rebounds, while Taylor Browne notches 20 pts off the bench, as the Thunderbirds shoot 67% from the field.  UNBC  has 14 pts/ 5 assts/ 4 steals from James Agyeman Box Score              7 pm  Pacific on Saturday

 

Lethbridge has the bye this week

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Scores from the East –

Atlantic -at #10 Dalhousie 88 Memorial  63, at UPEI 92  UNB 77 , St. FX 85 at Saint Marys 83, at Acadia 101 Cape Breton  88

Thursday in Quebec  … at Concordia 68 Laval 54,  at #8 McGill 79  Bishops 62

In the OUA … #1 Carleton 74 # 3 Ottawa 61, at Toronto 79 York 58, at #5 Ryerson  70 Queens 59 ,  at Laurentian 73   Lakehead 67,  Western 79 at Algoma 67, at Nipissing 79  Guelph 69

 

Overtime –

  • Congratulations to Howard Tsumura, long-time Vancouver Province columnist and blogger, on his new website  ‘Varsity Letters’ . http://varsityletters.ca    This impressive site continues Howard’s amazing coverage of school sports, from high school to university.  He provides thoughtful profiles on individual athletes,  covers the progress of teams, leagues, and championships, with a very keen focus on British Columbia specifically.  It is great to see this popular writer continuing to  lead the way in covering so many amateur sports and athletes.
  • UVic vs UFV coaches’ thoughts going in to a pivotal weekend series,  “We know they can score and they have had some very good results in the second half of the year, knocking off Alberta and playing Calgary really tough,” Vikes Coach Craig Beaucamp said of the Cascades. “We are going to have our hands full, we have to play well on the defensive side of the ball for sure.”    The Cascades head man, Adam Friesen says, “UVic tries to grind it out and games like that come down to a possession here or there. Whoever wins the battles in the paint gives themselves a better chance to win.”   (From a story by   MARIO ANNICCHIARICO in the Victoria  TIMES COLONIST.)

Top 10 Showdown in Saskatoon This Week

 

Huskies host Bears, with top Canada West seed at stake

#7 Alberta (12-4)   at   #9 Saskatchewan  (11-5)   –  This is our ‘Feature Series’ this week , as 2 of Canada West’s 4 Top 10 teams clash in Saskatoon.  This can swing the top 4 seeds for playoff purposes, with Alberta and Saskatchewan both having a shot at hosting the Final 4, if things break the right way.  A sweep for either team is huge.

The Huskies have home court, and have won 6 of 8 in this 2nd half of the schedule, while the Bears have dropped 4 of their 6.   The Dogs’ big men, Shane Osayande (18.2 ppg/ 10.6 rebs) and Matt Forbes ( 15.3 ppg/ 8.6 rebs)  will be a major hurdle for the GBs’ Brody Clarke (15.3 ppg, 7.7 rebs) and Mamadou Gueye (16.1 ppg/ 6.4 rebs).  Coach Craddock will ‘change it up’ with 7-2, Brett Roughead, a 10-12 minute man who can mix it up in the paint.

Saskatchewan’s 5th year post man, Matt Forbes        –  photo  GetMyPhoto.ca

Austin Waddoups, the Bears’ outside shooting ace (48% / 14 ppg) and floor general, will get lots of attention from Sask’s guard corps of Lawrence Moore, Chan De Ciman (if he’s healthy), and Alex Unruh.  Alberta has shot the ball better from the floor this season, and they will need Clarke and Gueye to be productive.  Both defenses have shown they can win games by keeping teams in the high 60s or low 70s;  the question is, can they take away the other’s best players?  We see this as a split, and a sweep would be big news, and likely launch the winner into the top of the RPI list.   These big games go at 8 pm Central both nights.

 

 

 

Other games, which we will preview Thursday …

Lethbridge has this week as a bye

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The Top 10 remains the same in the top 3, with Carleton, Ottawa, and UBC looking sharp this past weekend.  The Brock Badgers climb from 6th to 4th with a win over previously unbeaten Ryerson, and Calgary, who blow a 20 pt. lead Saturday to un-ranked Regina, fall to 6th.

Both the OUA and Canada West have 4 spots in the table, while McGill is the lone Quebec representative, and the AUS has #10 Dalhousie.   Those 2 Leagues don’t seem to have the dominant powers, and their championships may be more uncertain. We note the support for Saint Mary’s Huskies who are winning some tough games in the Atlantic, and a nudge for Manitoba, with their 8 straight in Canada West.

 

 

Foothills City Hosts Two Feature Series’

 

Huskies and Thunderbirds visit the Alberta Foothills 

5th year wing, Dallas Karch of the Dinos              photo – David Moll

The Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) are on the road for the 2nd straight week, again in Southern Alberta, in a ‘throw-down series’ with the Calgary Dinos (10-2) . Surely with added confidence from 2 wins at Lethbridge last week, the ‘Dogs will be looking to their big forwards and team rebounding for an edge here.  Guards Jaylan Morgan (Toronto) and Lawrence Moore (Chicago) are working well as a pair, and give good back-court leadership and scoring. Forwards,  Shane Osayande  and  Matt Forbes, are both capable of double-doubles in scoring/ rebounding every night.

Shane Osayande is the Huskies scoring-rebounding ace.  photo – U of S

Calgary have the higher scoring rate, and use an 11 + rotation to increase the pace at both ends.  The Dinos defenders have picked the opponent’s pockets the 2nd most in the League, led by guard David Kapinga, a consummate disruptor. Inside, UC has a 3 1/2 man post crew ( Matt Ellis, Mitch Ligertwood, Connor Foreman, and a bit of rookie Jeff Rodehutskors) , who will work at containing the Huskies stars.  2015-16 CW MVP, Thomas Cooper can score inside or out, and he will demand extra attention from U of S defenders.

It may be the depth of Calgary (Lars Schleuter, Jasdeep Gill, Dallas Karch, Jhony Verrone et al …) , or the inside game of Sask.  But, we can also expect foul shooting to play a part as it has done in recent, passionately contested games.  The series can put Calgary firmly at the top of the standings, or it could vault Saskatchewan into championship contention.    Games at UC – 8 pm Friday, 7 pm Saturday

 

The 11-1  UBC Thunderbirds, riding a wave after topping the U of A last week in Vancouver, bring an assured squad to S. Calgary for a 2 game set with the Mt. Royal Cougars.  Conor Morgan,  Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Will Ondrik, and A.J. Holloway lead a deep and experienced crew, who are scoring 88 ppg vs 72 pts for their opposition.   Coach Kevin Hanson has more talent at his disposal, with Patrick Simon, Luka Zaharijevic, and  Harpreet Randhawa ready on the front line.

The Cougars (7-5), who won 2 last week at UNBC,   answer with Josh Ross, Brett Layton, and Nick Tancon at the forward spot, but they will need the perimeter to assist on the boards, where UBC is +5  and MRU at -1 reb/game . The Cougars guards have taken good care of the ball, and the trio of Derek Wolf, Glen Yang, and Ryan Cunningham have been scoring at a more consistent pace.  We might, but won’t, call this an up-set possibility.  UBC is a heavy ‘over-dog’, but  MRU will compete.   Fri at 8 pm and an early 6 pm tip on Sat.

Fraser Valley (5-7) are also returning to Alberta, but this time to Edmonton for 2 against the 11-3 Alberta Golden Bears.  The Bears, smarting from a 2 game lost weekend in Vancouver, will be determined to get things back on course. That means Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke firing away up front, and Austin Waddoups playing his ‘whirling Dervish ‘ style on offense.  The Cascades need an exceptional effort both ways, but they do have shooters, in Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon.  The UFV defense will be challenged by Alberta’s long-range snipers.  Bears a favourite, with a chance of a Cascades upset.       Friday at 8 pm Mountain, Sat at 7.

Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6) fly to the Island, to meet the 5-7 Victoria Vikes on Ken and Kathy Shields Court this Fri/Sat. Two wins could serve to put the ‘Horns back in the top 4 mix, but they lost 2 at home to Saskatchewan last week, and weren’t really near their best on Saturday. The Vikes won 2, and now need to step it up even more against a better opponent in Lethbridge.  It’s Grant Sitton and rookie Scott Kellum leading the Vikes, and Dejon Burdeaux with Elliott Sentance called on to shepherd the Pronghorns.  We’ll suggest a split .   Friday tip at 8 pm / Sat. at 7 pm Pacific

 Regina Cougars (6-6) at Brandon Bobcats (5-9 ) –  One highlight this week will be to listen in again to the unmistakable colour commentary of ‘Cats coaching legend, Jerry Hemmings.  Keep it coming Coach !  Meanwhile, both Coach Steve Burrows (Green Cougars) and Coach Gil Cheung (Bobcats) are losing sleep trying to get their respective sides to ‘put it together for 40 minutes’. Twice.  Good match-ups – BU’s Tyvon Cooper vs Reg’s Aaron McGowan.  The Cougars’ Brian Ofori working full-out to control Brandon’s ‘Big Cat’, Earl Thompson Jr.   Guessing a spirited split, harkening back to the Great Plains rivalry.      Friday at 8 pm Central, and Sat. at 7.

Manitoba Bisons (6-6) at Trinity Western Spartans (2-10) –  A chance for the Herd to thaw-out in the Fraser Valley.  And to duplicate their 2 game sweep of the Spartans at the same venue last February.  All the signs point to Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn, A.J. Basi and friends extending their unbeaten string to 9 games (including their Wesmen Classic title).  But they’ve fooled us before. Trinity come off a bye, and may have their Spartans in a row, with bigs Max Vitala and Patrick Vandervelden becoming more convincing.  Guards Pogos Trunyan, and Vartan Tanielian can score; now can Trinity defend well enough to stop a Herd of Bison ?         Fri and Sat. at 7 pm Pacific.

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Scores from the East   –   Carleton  81  at Ottawa 40 –  And, this was the away game.

Carleton’s Connor Wood attacks the hoop at Ottawa. photo Verelie Wutti

A sobering realization for all other U-Sports teams across Canada, as the Ravens pick the bleached bones of the fallen Gee-Gees so meticulously.  UO are 9-1 in OUA action, and ranked #2 by coaches;  and they are allowed to shoot just 21% !?  The utterly commanding Carleton performance spread from shooting to rebounding, and ball-handling to all-out aggression. By half-time, witnesses to the dismantling just wanted to look away.   Two periods where the Ponies tallied single digits on the scoreboard.  The grey-clad victims were shooting a deathly 7% from the floor for much of that ugly opening 20 minutes.  The Blackbirds feed off this kind of physical superiority and mental torture.  Ottawa had no 2nd -chance points, according to their own stats crew.  Smothering team defense is a given, then Connor Wood  shoots, Kaza Kajemi-Keane penetrates, and the duo of Eddie Ekiyor and Ryan Ejim rule the inside for the reigning National Champs.   This is what they do, even to their toughest opponents.  Again this season.  Beware the Raven !    The Official Autopsy  

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Overtime – 

  • Are there different rules in the OUA?  Was there as much give and take in post offense-defense, or defending the dribble penetration as it appeared in the Carleton-Ottawa ‘bare-knuckler’ last night?  We don’t see the same accumulation of bruises and finger-prints on opponents’ bodies after a Canada West game where there are just 23 total fouls called.

    MRU’s Ray Goff

  • Our best in his recovery to MRU’s Ray Goff, a 6-7 post man (4th, Okotoks, AB), who suffered a head trauma in a recent practice.  Goff is expected to return, but is undergoing ‘watchful monitoring’ for concussion symptoms.  Already dealing with nagging knee issues, the likeable veteran didn’t need this latest episode.
  • When you have success as Carleton has had, in spades, over the past 17 seasons , you tend to attract talent via recruiting.  Players want to win.  Apparently some want to do that more than they wish to play.  Ravens’ redshirts would look pretty good on the active playing rosters of many teams across the country.  And, how many more stars from other programs might decide to play year 5 at a ‘winning’ program, rather than graduate in the same colours you’ve worn for the previous 4?  (These player decisions are made in other places as well, of course.  We just notice them more at Carleton, Ottawa, and some other traditional powers.

Imposing UBC Takes Over Top Spot

 

‘Birds  Dominate 2nd game over the Bears

Conor Morgan is big for the ‘Birds as they bomb the Bears.

at #3 UBC Thunderbirds 102  #6 Alberta Golden Bears  76 –  The Thunderbirds soar in this one, and Alberta are left in their wake, with UBC hitting the long ball, and creating far more scoring chances .   UBC takes over top spot in Canada West at 11-1, as Conor Morgan scores 22 pts/ 10 rebounds for the home side, with AJ Holloway rising up for 16 pts in support.  The T’Birds were an impressive 25/27 from the foul line, and U of A almost as sharp, at 21/24 . Mamadou Gueye had a game-high 24 pts for Alberta (11-3), Brody Clarke totalled 19 pts/ 7 rebounds, and Austin Waddoups hit 18 pts on 4/6 from 3 point range.   Box Score  

 Saskatchewan Huskies 86  at Lethbridge Pronghorns 82   –  The Huskies climb

Jaylan Morgan has a big night as his Huskies sweep at Lethbridge

over the ‘Horns with a weekend sweep, and now sit in 5th spot at 8-4, while UL drop to 8-6 .  Jaylan Morgan has a strong game for U of S, with 24 points/ 9 rebounds, and he has plenty of help from back-court mate Lawrence Moore (20 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 asst).  Saskatchewan’s forwards Shane Osayande (17 pts/ 14 rebs) and Matt Forbes (15 pts/ 8 boards) were too much for the ‘Horns. The ‘Dogs shot 49% FG to 37% for the home squad. Dejon Burdeaux was tops for Lethbridge with 24 points/ 6 assists, while Mike Pierzchala hit 4/7 from outside for 17 points.    Box Score

at TRU Wolf Pack 91 Winnipeg Wesmen 86 –  A big 28 point final quarter lifts the ‘Pack to their 7th win vs 7 losses. Big Volodymyr Iegorov carries the heavy luggage for TRU, with 26 points and 16 rebounds, while Derek Rhodes chips in with 19 points on 4/8 from outside the arc.  TRU have a 17/21 night from the foul line vs just 3/9 for Winnipeg, who fall to 9-5. Three Wesmen score 18 pts apiece, including Narcisse Ambanza, who adds 9 rebs,  and Sean Tarver, 8 boards.  Box Score  

 Manitoba Bisons  84  at Regina Cougars  75 –  A valuable sweep for the Herd, as they dominate this game for much of the middle half, before Regina has a mini-run. Again tonight, it’s Justus Alleyn who leads the Bisons (6-6) scoring with 22 pts/ 6 rebs, and Keith Omoerah comes up with a 16 point game in support.  The Cougars (6-6) have Travis Sylvestre with 17 pts, and Brian Ofori with a double of 11 pts/ 10 boards.   Box Score 

Mt. Royal Cougars 72   at  UNBC Timberwolves 69  –   Josh Ross tallies 26 points / 15 rebounds to pace the Cougars (7-5) to a 2nd road win of the weekend, as they win a tense battle down the stretch. MRU’s Brett Layton also contributes a double -double of 13 pts/ 10 rebounds.  The T’Wolves commit a few costly turnovers in their final 10 possessions, and fail to finish in a heated 4th quarter.  Rhys Elliott tops the ‘Wolves with his 22 points/ 4 assists, but UNBC (4-10) shoot just 38% as a team, and are buried 45-21 on the boards.   Box Score   

Victoria Vikes  75 at UBC-O Heat 65  –   The Vikes (5-7) run to a 23-4 lead after 10 minutes, and that pretty well decides the issue. UVic’s Grant Sitton scores 24 points, with 3/6 from outside, and Justin Kinnear does some hard work for his 18 pts/ 10 rebound double.  Victoria score 18/29 from the line against only 5 of 8 for the Heat. Aldrich Berrios leads Okanagan (2-12) scorers with 23 pts/ 3 steals, and Ryan Morck is 5/5 from the floor for 11 points.   Box Score   

GMU’s Thadius Galvez

MacEwan Griffins 98  at Brandon Bobcats 86  –  The Griffs’ Adonis Montfort-Palomino tacks up 15 points in the opening half, staking GMU to a 48-38 lead. Mac built on that lead in the 3rd, as Brandon couldn’t ever get any sustained momentum.  Veteran guards, Thadius Galvez (22 pts/ 9 assists/ 5 steals ) and Denzel James (16 pts/ 6 rebs) carried the Griffins through a 50 point 2nd half, as the Edmonton crew earn their 4th win.  Montfort-Palomino finishes his night with 17 pts/ 6 assists.  Brandon (5-9) got yeoman service from Earl Thompson Jr, with his 31 points and 8 rebounds, while Tyvon Cooper scores 18 plus 3 steals.  Box Score  

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Scores from the East  on Saturday – 

Atlantic – at UNB 81 Memorial 74, UPEI  95 at St. FX 94

Quebec – at #9 McGill 71 UQAM 49 , at Bishops 84  at Laval 69

Ontario – at #1 Carleton 99 Laurentian 52,  at #2 Ottawa 72 Nipissing  56,  #10 McMaster 73  at Guelph 72 , Toronto 75 at Queens 71 ,  #7 Brock 71 at Lakehead  69  , #4 Ryerson 69 at York 52,  at Western Ont. 90 Windsor 65 , Algoma  77 at Waterloo  68

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Overtime –

  • UFV Coach, Adam Friesen, after their strong performance in a close loss (92-87) at Calgary on Friday,  “The things we’ve been trying to get through to the group all year is, you need to help the players beside you – you have to play together. Calgary, with their athleticism, makes you pay when you hold the basketball, and the guys realized we had to move without the ball and keep the ball moving to have success. Tonight we did that as well as we have all season, and we found some really good shots.”
  • Dinos star wing man, Thomas Cooper, has seen his scoring totals drop in the last several games.  Despite this, he has so many other things to bring to the table.  He is a strong rebounder and he makes some great passes leading to teammates’ hoops.  In the final minutes, it is often Cooper who, as he did on Friday, scores a clutch basket or free throw.  Calgary needs his senior leadership if they are to contend for another Canada West title.
  • CW Women’s scores on Saturday –  Saskatchewan 88  Lethbridge 53 ,  Regina 92  Manitoba 59 ,  Winnipeg 88 TRU 65,  Alberta 60  UBC 57,  UNBC 64  MRU 57,  Victoria 75  UBC-O 52,  Brandon 61  MacEwan 53,

 

3 Teams Moving Up the Standings

 

 

Teams Making Headway – ‘Horns and Wesmen tied up, and UFV surges

We have 3 teams getting a sweep in League play last weekend … Lethbridge –  Now with 8 wins, they get a home sweep over UNBC, and will host Saskatchewan in a ‘heat – check’ kind of match-up this coming Friday/Saturday.  Their addition of Junior Sesay will add depth, especially if he rounds into game shape in the next couple of weeks.   Winnipeg –  also with 2 wins at home (TWU), are tied for 4th place with the ‘Horns.  The Ws have a ‘friendly schedule’, but Coach Raimbault will be reminding his troops that any team is dangerous (TWU !).    Fraser Valley –  get to .500 with as good a pair of games as they’ve played this season. The Cascades guards can fill it up, as they did vs MacEwan, and their bigs are starting to make a larger ‘foot-print’.

Just flesh wounds for the Bears, T’Birds,  and Dinos as each of the U-Sport Top 10 squads take a loss in the head-to-head action.  The Huskies rise up with a ‘renewed purpose’ to take 1 from UBC, and their new guard, Lawrence Moore, will be a plus as they challenge the other contenders.  (***  12 teams to make the play-offs)

High Impact Performers last week –

The smartly dressed Conor Morgan takes over as CW scoring leader.

UBC’s Conor Morgan (25.3) supplants the Dinos Thomas Cooper (24.3) as Canada West’s scoring leader, helped by that 30 point game in Saskatoon.  Next are UL’s Elliott Sentance at 19.6 ppg, Mt. Royal’s Josh Ross at 19.3, and Saskatchewan’s Shane Osayande with 19.0.

Mr. ‘Double-Double’ (no, not coffee!)  Osayande  tops the rebounding at 11.0, just ahead of MRU’s Brett Layton, 10.9 (16.2 ppg for his double), with Josh Ross of the Cougars just under at 9.9 rpg

Quirky stat … The top 5 shooters  from beyond the 3 pt arc are from Alberta schools!  Charn Gill, MRU– 53.8%, Austin Waddoups, Alberta -52.2%, Geoff Pippus, Alberta-50.9%, Ivan Ikomey, Alberta- 50%, and Jasdeep Gill, Calgary-47.6%

Other than Morgan’s ‘Top 10’ game -breaking effort (and his 52 pts/11 rebs/ 5

photo- aldrich berrios

50 point weekend for Okanagan’s Aldrich Berrios      photo –  UBC-O Athletics

blocked shots in the Sask series), here are some more  star performers from January’s 1st week –  Mt. Royal’s Brett Layton, at less than 100% physically, still pours in 42 pts and grabs 33 rebounds vs Brandon … the Bobcats’ Earl Thompson Jr returns the favour, with his 39 pts/ 28 boards in 2 tight games …  Elliott Sentance records 2 doubles for the Pronghorns, as his accurate artillery fire nets 40 points, and he adds 21 rebounds … his ‘Horns’ ‘partner in crime’, Dejon Burdeaux, directs the UL action in their sweep, with his 44 pts/6 asst/5 steals …  Max Vitala, TWU, racks up 40 pts in 2 games at Wpg … Aldrich Berrios totals 50 points in a productive home weekend for his UBC-O Heat  …  Berrios’ 5th year Heat teammate, Mitch Goodwin steps up both nights as well, with 43 pts/11 rebs …  5th year forward Keith Gerdes does his best for Mac with his 2 game series of 45 points at UFV.

Single game wonders include  – The Cascades’ Manny Dulay, with a very hot hand, going 7/9 from 3 pt range in scoring 23 pts/ 5 steals in Saturday’s 2nd straight win over the Griffs … Grant Sitton hit 30 pts/ 7 rebs in helping the Vikes to a road win on Friday at TRU …  6-7 Patrick Vandervelden spurs on the Spartans as he hangs up a most impressive 20 pts/ 18 rebs double at Winnipeg.

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Atlantic  Standings –

This isn’t something you see every day, week, year.  In fact, when was the last time the mighty SeaHawks ruled the roost in the AUS?   The ‘smart money’ might say that Dal Tigers will eventually rise to the top.  Meanwhile, Vasilije Curcic (17.4 ppg/ 8.6 rebs) and ‘mates are enjoying a season to remember ‘On the Rock’ !

Cape Breton, on the other hand, are looking for the least little ray of hope, as their fortunes have certainly faded.

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Overtime –

  • One has to love the ‘glass-more-than-half-full’  attitude of Trinity Coach Aaron Muhic !   His team plays very well at Winnipeg in a close loss on Saturday,  “We were very focused tonight,” said  Muhic. “Our team competed. Anytime we hold a team to under 38 per cent from the field, we have a chance to win. That is what we worked for and we had a chance to win. I thought that Patrick (Vandervelden), Tee (Maberry, ), Max (Vitala), and Vartan (Tanielian ) were amazing on the boards. This was by far our best game rebounding thus far.  I’m proud of our team effort tonight.”
  • Canada West Women’s –  Top 2 –  Alberta 11-1 ,  Winnipeg 11-1 …  In hot pursuit – UBC   8-2, Regina 8-2 …  Play-off  threats – Calgary  7-3,  Fraser Valley 7-3, TWU 7-5, Victoria 6-4,  Saskatchewan  6-4 .  Teams are very close on any single game.  Calgary hands Alberta their 1st loss on Saturday, and Trinity gets an upset roadie over Winnipeg as well.  There may not be a clearly dominant team, or even 2 or 3 who are so far ahead.  The 2nd half will be very competitive!

Bears and T’Birds Fight Back

 

Canada West Leaders gain road splits in feature match-ups

 

Alberta’s Austin Waddoups buries the winner against Calgary

# 8 Alberta  81  #3 Calgary 80 – The Bears (11-1) win a real ‘nail-biter’ courtesy of the 8 key points from speedy guard, Austin Waddoups , in the final 3 minutes.  His 3 foul shots , then a natural 3 point play set the table for a tense final minute, as Brody Clarke hits free throws to give the changing lead back to Alberta.  After a Thomas Cooper dunk off a steal, Calgary  goes back ahead at 19 secs.  A leaning jumper by Waddoups finds the mark with 6 secs remaining, and that’s the winner. The Bears win the rebound (39-27) and  FG%  (47%- 43.5%) battle , but Calgary forces 28 U of A turnovers to keep it close.  Mamadou Gueye has a much better night than he did Thursday, with his 22 points/ 5 boards, while Waddoups hits 19 pts/ 5 rebs/ 6 assts.

The Dinos (8-2) spread the scoring, as Jasdeep Gill hits 4/5 from 3 point range for 14 points in just 17 minutes.  Cooper is held to only 14, which is 10+ below his average.  This is an intense match-up, and Alberta responds to Thurday’s disappointment with a gritty team effort in Calgary to get the series split. Box Score  

UBC’s Conor Morgan goes for 30 points in win at Saskatchewan

# 2  UBC  83  Saskatchewan 74   –   Conor Morgan’s 30 point night sparked the T’Bird attack, as they get a big road split with a much sharper offensive display on Saturday.  Now at 9-1, UBC established a 12 point lead at the break, and pulled away in the 3rd, as they hit 46% FG to 40% for the Huskies (6-4). Taylor Browne came off the bench for the Thunderbirds to score 11 points/ 6 rebounds. U of S gets 20 pts/ 8 rebs from Shane Osayande, and 16 points each from Alex Unruh and Matt Forbes.    Box Score   

at Winnipeg 84 Trinity Western 80  –  The  Wesmen (8-4) may have been caught ‘counting their chickens’ on Saturday, and the underdog Spartans (2-10) gave them a real run. The visitors hung in right down to the final minutes, but went cold on offense just at the crucial time.  Winnipeg hit 3 more 3s, hit 3 more foul shots, and committed  9 fewer turnovers to win a close one.  William Sesay shone for the Ws, with 21 points/ 7 rebs/ 4 steals, and Denzel Lynch-Blair was tough, with 19 pts/ 8 rebs/ 6 assists for UW.   Max Vitala played another strong game for Trinity with 24 points/ 5 rebs, and Patrick Vandervelden had a career night with 20 points and 18 big rebounds.  Box Score    

Earl Thompson Jr. leads the Bobcats to a road win at MRU

Brandon 86  at Mt. Royal  80 –  The Bobcats (4-8)  got a road win after Friday’s close -call, as they shot 51% from the floor.  All 5 Brandon starters were in double figures, with 13 points/ 16 rebounds from the relentless Earl Thompson Jr.  MRU’s Brett Layton scored 18 and snared 17 boards, while Josh Ross hit 18 points/ 7 rebs/ 5 asst.  This one hurts for the Cougars on their home floor, as they drop  to 5-5.      Box Score   

Lethbridge 76 UNBC  63 –  The  Pronghorns (8-4) get the sweep with a 45-33 2nd half surge.  UL benefit from 20/24 from the line compared to just 7/9 for the visiting T’Wolves, who can only manage 36% from the floor.    Dejon Burdeaux leads Lethbridge once more, with 20 pts/ 6 rebs/ 3 assts, with Elliott Sentance chipping in with 15 points and 10 boards.    UNBC’s top scorer, Austin Chandler, has a game-high 21 plus 5 rebounds/ 3 blocks.  The Timberwolves fall to 4-8.      Box Score  

at Thompson Rivers  78  Victoria  71   –   The ‘Pack roar out to a 23-8 lead after 10 minutes, and move to 6-6 as they never lose control of this one. TRU shoot a hot 53% from the floor as Volodymyr Iegorov scores 20, Joe Davis 19, and Derek Rhodes 17.  The Wolves deploy just 7 players for all but 2 minutes, and they dominate UVic on the glass (39-23) .  Scott Kellum leads the Vikes (3-7) with 15 points/ 5 assts, and Grant Sitton has 12 pts/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts/ 4 steals.      Box Score   

at UBC-Okanagan 79  Regina  70 –   The  Heat match the Cougars down the stretch, and are full marks for just their 2nd win of the CW season.  UBC-O shoots 49% from the field. led by  Aldrich Berrios’ 21 points, and 18 from his ‘wing-man’  Mitch Goodwin.   Johneil Johnson comes off the Regina bench for 23 points, as they fall to 6-4.    Box Score  

Manny Dulay nails 7 of 9 from 3 pt range to help UFV to a sweep

at Fraser Valley  89   MacEwan  82  –  A very satisfying sweep for the Cascades, as they climb to 5-5 on the year, while Mac may be in dire straits at 3-9.  A season’s best 56% from the floor for UFV, as Manny Dulay lights it up with 7/9 from outside the arc, finishing with 23 pts./ 5 steals.  Vijay Dhillon of the Cascades drains 4/5 long ones of his own for 19 points.  Keith Gerdes comes up big for the Griffins with 25 points, including 7/12 from 3 pt range.   Box Score 

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In the Atlantic – at St. FX 85  UNB  66 ,  #10 Dalhousie 90 at UPEI 86 , Saint Marys  70 at Memorial  93

In Quebec –    UQAM 68  at Concordia  67

In Ontario – #1 Carleton 101  Waterloo  60 , at #5 Ryerson 98 Guelph 76,at   Laurentian 95 #9 McMaster 87 ,  at Nipissing 69  # 6 Brock  66,  #4 Ottawa 87  Laurier 58   , Windsor 78  Queens 77  ,  at Western Ont. 81 York  71,  Toronto 74  Lakehead 64

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Overtime –

  •  There are also some highlight jams in Canada West action this and every season.  Who has the top ‘flush’ of  the season ?  Maybe it’s the UFV Cascades Nav Bains in this Friday win over MacEwan !  Coach Adam Friesen liked it, as he tells us in this article by UFV’s Dan Kinvig. “Nav’s dunk is one of those things that he’ll probably remember for a long time, and it got the crowd and the team pumped up,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said afterward.
  • Canada West Women’s scores on Saturday –  Calgary 60 Alberta 57, Saskatchewan 73 UBC 69,  Regina 80 UBC-O 60, Trinity W. 72  Winnipeg 68, Fraser V. 59  MacEwan 55,   Brandon 92 Mt. Royal 85, Lethbridge 73  UNBC 69, Victoria 80 Thompson R 70

Bears and Dinos Renew ‘Hostilities’ 

 

 

‘Most-improved’ Bears host rival Dinos in pivotal series

Alberta’s stand-out forward,  Mamadou Gueye     –  photo –  U of A Athletics

The League-leading Alberta Golden Bears are in their den on Thursday to tip-off the 2nd half of the Canada West season against the arch-rival Calgary Dinos.  This is truly a pivotal series, featuring  Top 10 teams for whom this as a ‘war of attrition’ (No prisoners, no niceties, no mutual – admiration).  Both teams have designs on a top rung play-off seed, but a sweep may be necessary here for either to accomplish that task. The Dinos, on their way to home court for last season’s Final 4, won both ends of this ‘traditional’  home and home last year.  UC also eliminated Alberta 2 straight in the playoff quarter-finals last March.

But the #8 ranked Bears, the most improved team in CW,  have everyone’s attention with their unblemished record. Their stingy defense combined with hot shooting stats (#2 in FG%, #1 in 3 pt%) now make them a formidable foe. The addition of 3rd year import guard, Austin Waddoups (15 ppg/4 rebs/ 3.5 asst) , has given them another dimension on offense, with his 55% outside shooting, and slashing moves to the hoop. U of A still has the duo of Brody Clarke and Mamadou Gueye up front, both scoring 15 ppg+ and claiming 7.5 and 7 rebs / game respectively.  4th year UBC transfer, Geoff Pippus, and 2nd year wing, Ivan Ikomey (Calgary-McNally) are 2 more 50% + shooters from 3 point range.  The Bears spread the scoring, rebound as a team, and feature a ‘hybrid defense’ which forces tough shots from opponents.

Calgary is the highest scoring team in Canada West, and want to play at a ‘break-neck pace’.  The Dinos lean heavily on the touch of League scoring leader, Thomas Cooper (25.6 ppg,  6 rebs), the 5th year wing from Chattanooga, TN.  Cooper has fellow 6-5 wing, Mambi Diawara (14 ppg, 6 rebs) creating more space, and two-way spark-plug , David Kapinga (10 ppg/4.9 asst/ 2 steals) making big plays.  Depth is Calgary’s calling card, with 6-8 Lars Schleuter a big 3 point threat along with 6-7 Dallas Karch, and Kapinga.  UC’s 4- man post rotation, led by 6-7 Connor Foreman and 6-7 Matt Ellis, will battle for inside control.  Much on the line, even at this mid-point in the schedule. Who gets hot, and who can slow down the opposition scorers?  Who can finish at ‘crunch time’ ?

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Canada West Schedule – Jan. 5-7

To refresh your memory –

 

 

 

 

There are several other intriguing match-ups in this opening weekend for 2017.  The 8-0 UBC Thunderbirds fly out to Saskatoon to play the 5-3 Saskatchewan Huskies … the UVic Vikes (2-6) are at Kamloops to play the 5-5 TRU Wolf Pack … UNBC (4-6), fresh off a solid Holiday tournament in Montreal are in Lethbridge to challenge the 6-4 Pronghorns.

Thursday, Jan 5  –

#3  Calgary Dinos at   #8 Alberta Golden Bears

Friday, Jan 6 –  

#2 UBC  at Saskatchewan , Trinity Western at Winnipeg, UNBC at Lethbridge Pronghorns,

Brandon at Mt. Royal, Victoria at Thompson Rivers, Regina at UBC-O,

MacEwan at Fraser Valley

Saturday, Jan 7 – 

Bears at Dinos, T’Birds at Huskies, Vikes at Wolf Pack, T’Wolves at’Horns

Bobcats at MRU,  Spartans at Wesmen, R. Cougars at Heat, Griffins at Cascades

 

Overtime – 

  •  This is a rivalry … from the days of taking the old ‘Day-Liner’ train from downtown Calgary  to downtown Edmonton.  The ‘60s saw Gary Smith vs Skip Morgan, and Bears vet Barry Mitchelson threatening a skinny Dinos rookie  to “stay out of the key”.  Calgary’s Tom Bishop and Alberta’s Doug Baker ‘firing at will’, and Ted Hellard banging with Dave Holland in the 70s!  U of A Coach, Don Horwood, matching wits with Dinos boss, Gary Howard, for so many seasons.  Play-off series drama in 2003 with Alberta coming back at home in game 3, then the next year, the Dinos do the same in Calgary on their way to a Canada West title.  More to come ….
  • Classes don’t get start again for these schools until Januray 9.  “There’s some pluses and minuses”, says Dinos Assistant, Matt Skinn. “The guys kind of feel a bit like a pro team, with the ‘Holiday schedule’.”
  • The Thursday game at the Saville Centre in S. Edmonton starts at 8 pm, with live coverage on Canada West TV The return bout is Saturday at 7 pm at the Jack Simpson Gym at UC.

Manitoba Returns to Wesmen Final

 

Bears vs Bisons for the 50th Wesmen Classic title

 

Bisons Keith Omoerah has a big night in their win over Winnipeg     photo- Bisons Athletics

Manitoba 60  Winnipeg 55 –  (Semi #1)  With the basket a thimble to many teammates and opponents in the City war, the Bisons Keith Omoerah scores 17 points and snares 25 rebounds for a winning double-double.  Amarjit Basi collected 14 points/ 6 rebounds to help the Herd, who win shooting just 26.5% from the floor.   This was, however, better than the 25.5 % from the home side, with  William Sesay scoring just 10 pts as high man for the Wesmen to go with 8 rebounds.  Manitoba benefits from 19/22 shooting from the line vs 9/14 for UW. Box Score 

#8 Alberta 82  Victoria  76 – (Semi #2) The Bears’ win the 4th quarter 28-20 and grab the game largely through the efforts of their ‘Big 3’.  Mamadou Gueye led with 21pts, and Austin Waddoups  scored 19 points including  5 treys plus 6 asst. Brody Clarke had a big double of  18 pts/11 boards. Grant Sitton and Wayne Tucker Jr scored  15 points apiece for the Vikes, who were out-shot 44% to 40% from the floor.  UVic played well in the 3rd quarter to come from behind to take a 2 point lead into the final 10, but Alberta were hot to finish.   Box Score  

 

Lakehead’s Bacarius Dinkins posts a double-double.

Lakehead 67  Brandon 47 –  This low-scoring affair has the T’Wolves pulling away in the 3rd quarter, with 25 points.  The ‘Cats are sluggish, and reply with just 22 for the entire 2nd half.  Bacarius Dinkins logs a double of 13 pts/ 10 rebounds for the ‘Wolves, and Mor Menashe scores 16.  Three Bobcats with 6 apiece, as the team shoots 30% from the floor. Box Score

Regina 78  Algoma  74 –  This game is a real see-saw, as Algoma, despite shooting just 31% for the game, is up 3 after 3/4s.  Regina comes back in a contest which saw 25 lead changes.  the Cougars are 50% from the field, but are forced to the wall by the T’Birds hitting 14 of 40 from 3 point range vs 7/21 for UR. Alex Igual does it all for Regina with 20 pts/ 10 rebs/ 8 assts. , while Brian Ofori adds 15 pts/ 6 boards.  Algoma have Sean Clendenning and Callum White with 12 pts apiece.   Box Score 

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UNBC shocks Citadins in UQAM Tournament opener …. Classique Olga Hrycak at UQAM, Montreal 

Vaggelis Loukas has a big role in the T’Wolves win at UQAM

UNBC  Timberwolves 86   UQAM  Citadins 80  –  A shocker for the home team, as the under-rated T’Wolves fight back from 10 down in the opening quarter, and score 49 in the final 20 to snatch the opening day win. Shooting a sizzling 53% from the floor, and cashing 22/32 free throw attempts, UNBC overcame a 26 -21 turnover fest, and 45-30 rebounding deficit.  For the ‘Wolves Rhys Elliott struck for 27 points on 9/13, while Vaggelis Loukas had a terrific game himself, with 17 points and 12 big rebounds.  Charles Miller scored 22 for the Citadins, and Ibrahim Sylla posted a double of 13 pts/ 10 rebounds.   Box Score 

In the 2nd game at UQAM …  Memorial Seahawks 77  Guelph Gryphons 66

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Shoveller Memorial in Halifax –

#10 Dalhousie  Tigers 85  Mt. Royal Cougars 67 –  The Tigers come out firing, and dominate the Cougars from the opening tip. 4 Dal shooters reach double digits, with 18 pts/ 7 rebs from Kashrell Lawrence, and the same by Jarred Reid. The Tigers are 52.5% from the floor vs MRU’s 45.6%, and the home side hit 13 treys to 9 for the Cougars.  Derek Wolf scores 22 points on 9/15 for MRU, and Josh Ross has 14 plus 11 boards.  An obviously hobbled Brett Layton played limited minutes for the Cougars, scoring 6 points/ 4 rebounds.  Box Score 

#4 Ottawa Gee Gees 102 UPEI  Panthers 88 

St. FX X-Men 84 Acadia Axemen  69

Saint Marys 89  Queens Golden Gaels 86  OT

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#3  Calgary  81 at Rocky Mountain College  72- The Battlin’ Bears could not match the visiting Dinos tonight as Thomas Cooper led UC with a double of 19 points/ 10 rebounds.  He got plenty of help with 11 players scoring for Calgary, including 18 by Mambi Diawara, who nailed 4 big free throws in the last minute. Calgary shot 47% from the floor to 43% for Rocky, and the Dinos 16/22 from the foul line were key to the win.  Calgary finishes this trip South with a game against the highly regarded Montana-Western Bulldogs on Friday.

at  Phoenix JC  75  #2 UBC  73  

  Thompson Rivers 97  West Coast Baptist  94 

also –  Rochester Coll. (MI)  95 Waterloo 71 ,  UNB 97 Holland Coll. 91

 

 

Overtime –

  • Here are the latest NAIA (smaller schools) National rankings for some of these schools in action against Canada West squads this Holiday season .  #9 Arizona -Christian , #11 Hope International (CA) , #16 Carroll College (MT) , #23  Montana St.

    Julian Spearchief-Morris plans to turn pro … at Law.

    -Northern , #24  Vanguard U. (CA) .  Also receiving votes – Montana-Western.

  • Our man, Dave Wells reports from the Lethbridge-  MtSt-N  game last night, where he spotted  …  “ Julian Spearchief-Morris, a grad of LCI and the U of L (after a brief fling at UVic)  is midway through his Harvard Law Degree studies. “  As Dave says, Julian was always a strong student, and could have played in the Ivy League, perhaps.  The Pronghorns program is pretty proud to hold him up as an example of the benefits of the CIS – U-Sport.