Alberta Claims Big Win Over Montana State

 

 

Bears Shoot Their Way to Impressive Win 

The Alberta Golden Bears made a ‘Summer statement’ with a  decisive 97-72 win over the touring Montana State Bobcats in Calgary on Sunday afternoon.  Bookend 26-12  opening and closing quarters sealed this win for the reigning Canada West champs, and handed the Bobcats (NCAA Div. 1 – Big Sky Conference) their only loss in 4 games in Canada.

Lyndon Annetts is hot from the outside in Bears win over MSU.  photo – U of A Athletics

The Bears shot the ball very well, and that improvement over their Friday night loss was a major factor … 49% from the floor vs 41% for MSU, and 74% (17/23) from the free throw line.  The veteran – laden U of A line-up had 4 players in double figures, led by 3rd year post man, Brody Clarke, with 24 pts/9 rebs, and 18 points on 6/9 from 3 point range by wing man, Lyndon Annetts.  2 other starters, Mamadou Gueye and Austin Waddoups, tallied 14 apiece.

These Summer games may just be exhibition tilts, but they can reveal the potential for the upcoming season.  MSU had played 4 games in 4 days, and chose to rest or limit a few of their top players, but let’s not discount a strong showing by an obviouly deep Alberta team.  Coach Barnaby Craddock has another definite contender for League honours this season.   Box Score

 

Scores from other Sunday games –

at Brock 85  Jacksonville (FL)  95

Binghamton (NY)  74  Toronto 61

Some upcoming games this week – McGill is in Costa Rica to play Kent State (OH), Lamar (TX) , and 2 games vs Texas – El Paso.  Carleton travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Vanderbilt (TN)  of the SEC (2 games), N. Colorado (Big Sky), and James Madison (PA).  Brock is also in the USVI  to play those same 3 teams.  Trinity Western is at home for a single game on Wednesday vs Saint Martins , a Div 2 NCAA school from Lacey, WA.

 

Overtime –

  • The Manitoba Bisons announced the signing of Riki Zimbakov, a 6-1 guard from John Taylor Collegiate in Winnipeg.
  • Marc Dobell, Head Coach at  Mt. Royal, was disappointed earlier this summer upon learning that talented recruit Diew Moses (Calgary, Bishop McNally) failed to qualify academically, and will not be with the Cougars after all.
  • The Calgary Dinos have reportedly signed 6-1 guard, Angelo Mbituyamana (Calgary – Bishop O’Byrne).  ““We like Angelo’s quickness, pace of play, and ability to get defensive touches”, said Head Coach Dan Vanhooren.

 

 

Bobcats Beat Bears in Heated Battle

 

Bears Hang Tough With MSU

Bears’ Mamadou Gueye led the scoring with 21 pts, but MSU prevails on Friday.

The Montana State Bobcats won their 2nd straight in Calgary, with a 78-69 edge over the Alberta Golden Bears Friday.  This spirited affair was sparked by some fine guard play for MSU , led by rookie Isaac Bonton (Portland, OR) with 16 points / 4 rebs / 4 assists.  Burly forward , Sam Neumann was 7/8 from the floor for 15 points/ 4 rebounds, as 9 Bobcats played 11 minutes or more, and all 11 hit the score sheet.

The Bears started with very chilly shooting hands, and trailed 37-25 at the half, with just 10/39 (25.5%) from the floor. The second half saw a big turnaround, with hoops off the break producing a healthy 57% FG mark, and Alberta close to within 6 in the 4th frame.  5th year wing, Mamadou Gueye, scored 21 points/ 12 rebounds, while Andre Kelly hit 17 pts, and Brody Clarke 14.  U of A were limited by a pedestrian 12/24 from the foul line, but played very well against a determined Bobcat squad.

9 of the 10 Bears who dressed were rewarded with double digit minutes of playing time.  Not available for this game were 5th year scorer, Geoff Pippus (injury), and import signee, Hugo Cluysen, a 19 year old Frenchman, who will not arrive in Canada until next week.

MSU play Calgary Dinos on Saturday at 3 pm, then their 2nd vs Alberta on Sunday at 1 pm.

Team Canada Right There With Purdue

In game 1 of their 2 game set vs the USA reps for the Aug 19-30 Universiade in Taipei, Canada dropped a 94-86 decision in Carmel, Indiana.  The Canadian team, made up of U-Sports stars, and coached by Kevin Hanson (UBC), Dan Vanhooren (Calgary), and Jacques Paiment Jr. (Laval), were withing 1 point late in the game, but Purdue shooters buried key shots down the stretch.

7-2 post man, Isaac Haas, scored 20 points to lead the Americans, while Conor Morgan  (UBC) and Kaza Kajami -Keane (Carleton) each notched 21 for Canada.  U-Sports Player of the Year, Connor Wood (Carleton),  and forward, Alexandre Leclerc (Laval) were not playing due to injury.  These 2 teams play again on Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette, IN and will travel to Taiwan on Sunday-Monday.   Box Score

 

 

 

Montana State Over Calgary

 

 

 

 Montana State 91  Calgary 71 –

The visiting Bobcats out-scored the Dinos 26-12 in the 4th quarter to pull away from a game, but out-manned Calgary team. The NCAA Big Sky squad from Bozeman, in SW Montana, got to the rim consistently in the final 15 minutes of play.  The Blue and Gold spread their scoring through the the line-up led by all-star guard, Tyler Hall with 15 points.

The Dinos went with 8 players, and noticably faded in the last 4-5 minutes;  down 5 points with 5 minutes left, but unable to match the deeper ‘Cats at the finish.  Lucas Mannes, a transfer guard from Chilliwack, BC (Trinity Western), led UC with 21 pts / 6 rebounds. Max Eisele looked sharp at the point, hitting 15 points / 6 assists, while red-shirt rookie Sasha Pojuzina worked hard for 7 boards and 12 points vs his bigger match-ups.  These teams meet again on Saturday at 3 pm.  MSU plays Alberta Friday at 7 pm and Sunday at 1 pm.

 

Dinos ‘Short’ in the Big Man Position

After graduating Mitch Ligertwood,  having Jeff Rodehutskors transfer to Lethbridge, and  losing Matt Ellis, the Calgary Dinos were left with Connor Foreman as their only returning post player.  The coaches were excited to sign Rhys Larry, a veteran rebounder from Acadia, but Larry changed his mind, and will not be moving West after all.

Connor Foreman, the lone Dinos big man, will not play this weekend due to injury.

“We were unexpectedly left scrambling after the disappointments with Rodehutskors and Larry”, said Coach Dan Vanhooren.  The coaches have tracked several possibilities, and may have found a B.C. high school grad to bolster the roster in the Fall.  There may also be an addition of an import big man, but the staff are showing caution before pulling the trigger there.

With Foreman rehabbing an injured knee , Calgary’s biggest player is 6-7 wing man, Lars Schleuter, who will be in the middle for some alignments vs Montana State this weekend.  9 players will dress for Lead Assistant Coach Matt Skinn, who will temporarily take the reins, with Coach Vanhooren down in Indiana with Team Canada preparing for the Universiade in Taipei.

Bears Bring Experience and Talent 

The 2017 Canada West Champion Alberta Golden Bears may well be the odds -on favourites to repeat in this coming season. The veteran line-up set to play Montana State in a pair of games this Friday 7 pm and Sunday 1 pm is highlighted by 5th year wing man, Mamadou Gueye (16 ppg/ 6 rebs), a 6-7 slasher who is sure to be on pre-season all-star lists.

Geoff Pippus is one of 3 Bears starters in their 5th year.

The Bears also have  rugged 3rd year forward, Brody Clarke  , and 5th year shooter Geoff Pippus, a dangerous outside threat. The U of A point guard, 6-2 Austin Waddoups goes into his 4th year, and triggers the Bears attack. We should see returnee guards Andre Kelly, Ivan Ikomey, and D’Wan Williams, all of whom saw significant playing time last season.  5th year, 6-6 guard, Lyndon Annetts, is another returning starter who can hit the outside shot.

5th year Alberta Head Coach, Barnaby Craddock, has added a transfer guard, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 4th year Montreal native, who played at 2 NCAA Div 2 schools, and will be expected to provide quality depth.

_______________________________________________________________

Overtime –

  • The Canada Team for the FISU Games are now training at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  They are staying on campus at Purdue, and will play 2 games against the U.S. team, comprised totally  of Purdue players, and coached by Matt Painter.  Games are Friday night at Carmel (IN) HS and Saturday at Lafayette Jefferson HS and both will be streamed live on Facebook Live  .
  • Scores this past week from U-Sports teams vs NCAA schools –
  • U. California-Riverside 73  Laval 68, UC Riverside 79 UQAM 39
  • In Costa Rica … Laurentian VGs 76  U. Montana 67, Western kentucky 104  Laurentian 98
  • Towson, a   Div 1 school from the Baltimore area, beats UQAM 94-63, then it’s Towson 76 Carleton 64, and Towson 70  Laval 51
  • In Montreal, Alabama Crimson Tide crushed McGill 96-57, but Carleton bounced back from their loss earlier in the week to clip the Tide 84-71 in Ottawa.
  • McGill gave S. Methodist (Dallas, TX) a scare before falling to the Mustangs 86-83
  • Brock beat Binghamton (NY) 80-69 in St. Catharines.
  • Thursday games –  Alabama 81 at Ottawa 71,  W. Kentucky 118 Laurentian 63 (in Costa Rica), S. Methodist 98  at Ryerson 86,  Towson 84  at McGill 53,

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 – 

 

Tigers Nip Bears in the Final Seconds

 

 

Lawrence carries Dal into the semi-finals with his clutch hoop

Dalhousie’s Kashrell Lawrence was the 1st round’s top story, with his 28 points vs Alberta

 #5 Dalhousie 67   #4  Alberta  65 – This feature game has so many stories, not the least of which is the foul problem for Bears ace, Mamadou Gueye.   The hero of the Canada West Final 4 sits with 7 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, having amassed 3 fouls.   But the real hero on the night will be the local legend, Kashrell Lawrence, who saves his best for last.

Alberta wins the 1st quarter, with Lyndon Annetts starting quickly, but the Tigers take the ball inside in the 2nd frame, led by the solid form of Lawrence, who has 14 points at the break, tying U of A’s Annetts.

The 2nd half is a frantic slug-fest, as Alberta clings to a tenuous lead, and  Gueye comes back in to turn things around with 10 points in the 3rd quarter.  The Bears are up 3, but Dal are known as the ‘Come-back Cats’, and they did not disappoint. The amazing Lawrence, has a ‘monster game’ with 28 points, 10 rebounds,  and 4 big steals.  After Richie Kaza-Mata ties it for the Tigers on a 14 ft jumper,  the Bears get nothing, and, sure enough, Lawrence cuts to the hoop with 2 seconds left to bank in the winner at the low angle.

The fans go wild, as, for the 2nd week in a row, Dalhousie turn a last minute deficit into a winning celebration. Kanza-Mata tallies 16 pts/ 5 assists, and big Sven Stammberger is one of many Dal defenders who turn up the heat , and force 22 Alberta turnovers, which proves decisive.

Gueye leads the Bears with 18 points/ 6 rebs, while Annetts finishes with the 14 he had at half-time.  Brody Clarke manages just 8 points’ 8 rebs, as he gets extra attention for Tigers defenders.   Box Score 

Dalhousie will play the #1 seed, Ryerson in the 2nd semi-final on Saturday; Alberta were the last of the 3 Canada West teams relegated to the consolation side today.  The Bears take on Saint Marys Friday at 5 pm Mountain time (8 pm – Atlantic)

Ryerson rides Ammanuel Diressa to a win over Saint Marys     (photo – Trevor MacMillan)

#1 Ryerson 79  #8 Saint Marys 70  –  The opening quarter was a quiet one for the Huskies, but the home side came back with 25 points in the 2nd stanza to trail by just 4 at the break.  Ammanuel Diressa scored 16 points in that opening 20 minutes for the Rams, and they looked the more confident club.

But Saint Marys would not roll-over, and they continued to respond to every Ryerson surge with one of their own. The Maroon closed it 1 in both the 3rd and 4th quarters, but never took the lead. After Theon Reefer made it 68-69 with 2 free throws for SMU at the 2:46 mark, 6 straight points by Adika Peter-McNeilly staked the Rams to a 7 point advantage, and that was the ball game.

Diressa, the 6-5, 4th year wing man from Toronto, collected 24 points to lead both teams, as well as adding 7 rebounds and 4 assists.  Peter-McNeilly scored 17 pts/ 7 rebs as Ryerson hit 7 treys to just 4 for the Huskies.

SMU gave it a real run in the 4th quarter, but could not make the big play when the chips were on the line. 5 Huskies were in double figures, led by 14 points/ 15 rebounds from Achuil Lual, and 17 points / 11 boards by Reefer.       Box Score  

Ryerson will play home-town favourites, Dalhousie,  in the 2nd  semi-final on Saturday, and Saint Marys go to the consolation side for a game with Alberta  at 8 pm on Friday.

________________________________________________________________________

 

   Overtime –

  • 3 Canada West referees in the Ryerson-Saint Marys contest tonightRiley Kerrison and Michael Weiland from Calgary, and Neil Donnelly from Regina.
  • Great Halifax crowd for the Dal-Alberta game, as the numbers grow through the local teams playing back-to-back on the nights draw. The atmosphere has to be a big plus for those Atlantic teams.  (Attendance announced as 6,500)
  •  In First Round Games from the Women’s Nationals in Victoria – 

Queens 60  Cape Breton 51 Laval 69 Saskatchewan 59 –   the defending champions go down. Later games …  McGill 72   Regina 62,  Carleton 77  Victoria 66

Go to U-Sports – Women’s Basketball     for results and schedule.

 

2017 Women’s Individual Awards  – 

Nan Copp Award (Player of the Year): Danielle Boiago, McMaster 

Defensive Player of the Year: Antoinette Miller, Winnipeg

Kathy Shields Award (Rookie of the Year): Kyanna Giles, Regina

Peter Ennis Award (Coach of the Year): Dave Wilson, Queen’s

Sylvia Sweeney Award ( Academics & Community service): Katie Ross, Acadia

Tracy MacLeod Award (Courage overcoming adversity): Vanessa Pickard, McMaster

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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”.

 

 

 

Canada West Major Awards and All-stars

 

UBC Dominates Canada West Major Awards

The UBC Thunderbirds claimed 4 of the 5 major awards voted on by Canada West coaches for the 2016-17 season.

Conor Morgan is Canada West Player of the Year – photo  UBC Athletics Rich Lam

Most Outstanding Player – Conor Morgan, UBC, 4th year forward – “Not only did Conor have a great season statistically by leading Canada West in scoring, he also took on a more advanced leadership role on our team. Conor’s hard work in the off-season made him a more complete player this season, and the results showed.” – UBC head coach Kevin Hanson.

Top Defensive Player – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC, 5th year wing –  “Jordan is the consummate team player. He will do anything asked and it all starts at the defensive end of the floor with him. His effort level is contagious and influences the younger players on our team. He has had a remarkable five years at UBC and will go down as one of the top defensive players in school history.” – Coach Kevin Hanson.

 Rookie of the Year – Scott Kellum, Victoria, guard – “Scott was one of our most consistent players all season. By the end of the season he was our starting point guard. It is rare to have a first-year player make such significant contributions to the team in their first season. His future is very bright if he continues to work hard.” – Victoria head coach Craig Beauchamp.
Ken Shields Award  (Academics and Service to the Community) –  Phil Jalalpoor, UBC, 4th year guard – “Phil’s work ethic on the court is matched by his dedication to his academics. He is the prototypical student-athlete and a role model to his teammates. Through his hard work, Phil was able to attain Academic All-Canadian status. He is leader within the greater UBC community and has a bright future both on and off the basketball court.” – UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson.
Coach of the Year – Kevin Hanson, UBC – In his 17th season as the UBC Head Coach, Hanson wins this award for the 6th time.  He was also chosen as the CIS (U-Sports) National Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2010.  His T’Birds had a Canada West League best record of 19-1 in the regular season.
15 All-stars chosen by Canada West coaches

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos   –  Photo – David Moll, Dinos Athletics

 First Team All-Stars

Brody Clarke / F / Alberta / 2 / Toronto, Ont.

Conor Morgan / G, F / UBC / 4 / Victoria, B.C.

Thomas Cooper / G / Calgary / 5 / Chattanooga, Tennessee

Shane Osayande / F / Saskatchewan / 4 / Toronto, Ont.

Volodymyr Iegorov / F / TRU / 5 / Donetsk, Ukraine

 

Manny Dulay , Fraser Valley photo- UFV Athletics

Second Team All-Stars

Austin Waddoups / G / Alberta / 3 / American Fork, Utah

Jordan Jensen-Whyte / G / UBC / 5 / Calgary, Alta.

Manny Dulay / G / Fraser Valley / 5 / Surrey, B.C.

Dejon Burdeaux / G / Lethbridge / 4 / Oakland, California

Justus Alleyn / G / Manitoba / 4 / Winnipeg, Man.

 

Matt Forbes, Saskatchewan Huskies

Third Team All-Stars

Tyvon Cooper / G / Brandon / 2 / Middleton, New York

Brett Layton / F / Mount Royal / 2 / Calgary, Alta.

Matthew Forbes / F / Saskatchewan / 5 / Regina Beach, Sask.

Grant Sitton / G, F / Victoria / 5 / Brush Prairie, Washington

Denzel Lynch-Blair / G / Winnipeg / 3 / Toronto, Ont.

Scott Kellum, UVic Vikes

 All-Rookie Team

Andre Kelly / G / Alberta / Mississauga, Ont.

James Wagner / F / Manitoba / Winnipeg, Man.

Johneil Johnson / G / Regina / Lake Echo, N.S.

Scott Kellum / G / Victoria / Issaquah, Washington

Narcisse Ambanza / G / Winnipeg / Toronto, Ont

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