Long Road for 1st Round Play-off Teams

 

 

 4  Competitive Series in 1st Round of Playoffs

              … Thursday start for ‘Play-in’ series’ in Canada West

As the top 4 seeds, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC rest-up, heal, and prepare, there is no slow-down for the 8 teams heading into the ‘Play-in’ series this weekend.  Games start at Manitoba and Winnipeg on Thursday night in two of the best of 3 sets, with Brandon and Lethbridge hosting series’ to begin on Friday.

Here are the match-ups –

Keith Omoerah contributes to the Bisons offense in many ways.      Photo – J. Miller, UM Sports

#12 Regina Cougars at # 5 Manitoba Bisons –  If we look at the past history between these teams, we might be tempted to call this a lock for the Herd.  Manitoba has beaten Regina in 15 of the most recent 16 meetings, including a January sweep at Regina (84-75, and 93-81).  But the Bisons have not been as convincing over the past month, with a couple of losses at Brandon, then close calls with UNBC, and both nights last weekend against Mt. Royal. Regina comes off a solid weekend at home, where they swept the TRU Wolf Pack.

The Cougars and Bisons are both laden with experience;  Regina features guards Alex Igual (14.7 ppg/ 4.6 rebs/ 3.3 assts), Brandon Tull (13.5 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and rookie, Johneil Johnson (12.2 ppg/ 3.7 rebs). Forwards, Brian Ofori (13 ppg/ 6.3 rebs) and  Travis Sylvestre (9 ppg/ 3.6 rebs) have played well of late.

Manitoba have a strong, veteran group, with Justus Alleyn their top scorer at 17.4 ppg/3.6 rebs, and the all-around play of Keith Omoerah (13.2 ppg/ 8.7 rebs).  AJ Basi (13.3 ppg) and Ilarion Bonhomme are dangerous back-court threats.  James Wagner, a big rookie can give the Bisons a boost inside, along with veteran post, Brett Jewell .  The question remains, ‘Which team can pull together and win 2 games this weekend?’  The home court favours Manitoba, and UBC awaits the winner .  (Central) 7:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if a 3rd game is necessary)

Winnipeg’s William Sesay will be a key factor vs Fraser Valley.

#10  Fraser Valley Cascades at #7  Winnipeg Wesmen –  This is the other Thursday start, and we have two guard – oriented teams facing off after both just had road trip weekends.  The Cascades have the quick turnaround from a bus-trip up and back on the icy, snow-packed Coquihalla Highway to Kelowna last weekend.  Wash the uniforms, pack the bags, attend a brief 2 days of classes, and off they go to Winnipeg.  The Wesmen come off a 2 loss weekend in Victoria, and somehow have to ‘right the ship’ , and win the home series vs a UFV squad that has won 4 straight to finish the season.

5th year Cascades back-court shooters, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon against  Winnipeg’s Denzel Lynch-Blair, Sean Tarver, and rookie,  Narcisse Ambanza. The much improved Fraser Valley post man, Nav Bains, battling with the Ws’ big Aussie import, Ryan Oirbans.  Talented complimentary players like the Wesmen’s William Sesay and Jamar Farley  vs Fraser Valley’s Denver Sparks-Guest, Mark Johnson, and Andrew Morris.

The Cascades have won 5 of the past 7 meetings, but the Wesmen have home court.  This is looking like a 3 game series.  Note the different game times (Central) –  Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 3 pm, and Sat. , if necessary, again at 3 pm.  The Saskatchewan Huskies will host the winner in the quarter-finals. 

UVic’s Grant Sitton will be a focus for ‘Horns defenders this weekend.        photo – UVic Athletics

#11 Victoria Vikes at #6 Lethbridge Pronghorns –  Prior to last weekend’s play, the Vikes were literally hanging by a thread, and needing a home sweep of a good Winnipeg team to make the post-season.  They got that sweep, and now are in S. Alberta to face the ‘Horns, who own 2 League wins over the Vikes in January at Victoria.

The Pronghorns are the clear favourites with their guard leader, Dejon Burdeaux (17.1 ppg/ 5.4 rebs/ 4,5 asst/ 3.6 steals) , taking the team on his back, and leading them to key wins.  3 of Burdeaux’s main ‘wing men’ are the sharp-shooting British import, Elliott Sentance (17.6 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 40% from 3 pt),  Mike Pierzchala (11 ppg/ 6 rebs), a threat to ‘run the table’, and 6-8 Zac Overwater (11.6 ppg/ 4.3 rebs.

The Vikes have leaned very heavily on 6-8 Grant Sitton, who’s surely a Canada West all-star, with his 20 ppg/ 6.8 rebs/ and 1.2 steals.  UVic’s only other double digit scorer is rookie import guard Scott Kellum (13.2 ppg), who hits 44% from 3 pt range, and chalks -up 2.4 asst per game.  Justin Kinnear is close to 10 ppg at forward, and he will need help from  Jake Newman and Hassan Abdullahi on the glass, if the Vikes are to stay with the ‘Horns.

We like Lethbridge as the home team here;  Victoria will have to make another jump forward if they hope to get the wins.  Game times are (Mountain) 7 pm on both Friday and Saturday, and 3 pm for a Sunday game, if it’s needed.  The winner here travels to Edmonton to play the Bears in the quarter-finals.

#9 Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   at  #8  Brandon Bobcats –  The Bobcats host their 1st play-off series since 2009 in the old gym  ( SI Director Matt Packwood tells us).  This is the 1st one in their new ‘Healthy Living Centre’.  These teams have only played 9 times, ever, with the most recent a BU home win over TRU in January of 2014, so we can’t rely on trends!

We will watch a compelling battle of the big men, as the ‘Pack bring 5th year, 6-7  import, Volodymyr Iegorov, along with 6-5 Luke Morris, and 6-5 Joe Davis, who are all double digit scorers , with Iegorov among the League’s top rebounders at 9.1 rpg. Brandon responds with high-scoring Earl Thompson Jr (16.2 ppg/ 8.6 rebs), 6-5 Chris Stanhope, and a surging giant in 6-11 John Paul from St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean.  Brandon’s guards are led by shooter, Tyvon Cooper, while TRU has wing man, Michael Rouault, and import guard, Derek Rhodes.

There will be some new-found excitement surrounding this Bobcats team at home, and, if they can limit their turnovers and continue their improved shooting, they may pull this off.  The ‘Pack played in the CW Final last year, and this young team are looking to take another crack at it.  Only improved guard play and team defense will get them to the next round.  It may take 3 games to sort this out.  Winner goes to Calgary to face the Dinos in quarter-finals. 

 

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Overtime –

  • UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, with comments about the RPI system, whereby his 19-1 T-Birds finished as the  4th play-off seed,  “Overall, it’s frustrating but we have known that it’s been coming for a few weeks,” said Hanson.   “It is out of our control and we’re not whining about it. Our players are long over the shock. We are getting prepped to play whomever is put in front of us.  (From  Howard Tsumura’s ‘Varsity Letters’ blog  )
  • In that same ‘Varsity Letters’ posting from last weekend, Hanson reports that Conor Morgan has an ankle injury, but is expected to be ‘shooting by the end of the week.’  Guard Phil Jalalpoor is also getting treatment for an ankle injury. UBC has a bye as a top 4 team this week, and will be at home vs the winner of the Manitoba – Regina series Feb . 23-25.

 

 

Huskies Grind Out a Split With the Bears

 

Alberta makes it close, but the Huskies grind-out a big win

at # 9 Saskatchewan  68  # 7  Alberta  65 –   Facing a 43-28 half-time deficit, Alberta charged back to tie it, then lead it several times in the 4th quarter.  Saskatchewan (12-6) finally wins it on free throws in the last seconds, and get a crucial split.  Defense over-shadows offense in this one, as both squads settle for 39% FG shooting. Shayne Osayande has another notable outing for the Huskies with 23 pts/ 11 rebounds , while Seniors, Matt Forbes (14 pts/ 7 rebs) and Trevor Severinski (12 pts/ 5 boards) are also difference-makers.  Alberta are now 13-5, as they get 19 pts/ 6 rebs from Brody Clarke, and both Austin Waddoups  and Mamadou Gueye scoring 17 each.   Box Score    

at Brandon  92  Manitoba  77  –   This is a banner weekend for the Bobcats , as they clip their provincial rivals, Manitoba, twice, and on Saturday they fashion as good a game as they’ve had all season. The ‘Cats out-shoot (44%-38%), out-rebound (58-40) the Bisons, while beating UM to the ball on most chances.  Earl Thompson Jr racks up 27 points/ 12 rebounds to lead the way, and Tyvon Cooper is good for 22 points, including 12/12 from the line. BU’s 6-11 post man, John Paul, is a force, with 18 points/ 15 boards and 4 blocks. Manitoba have Justus Alleyn with 26 points/ 6 rebs, but they never real threaten as the Bobcats build on their lead in the 4th quarter.   Box Score  

at  Winnipeg 87 Regina  81 –    Replicating their late surge for a Friday win, the Wesmen

come-from-behind for the sweep with a 26-19 4th quarter.  The senior guard, Jamar Farley goes 6/10 from deep, and leads Winnipeg scorers with 22.  Sean Tarver has a strong finish and tallies 20 points, as the Ws move up to 12-6, and in good shape to claim a home play-off start. Regina (7-11) may be on the outside after these 2 losses, as the Cougars just could not finish either game. They get 18 points each from Alex Igual (5 asst/ 5 steals)  and Johneil Johnson (9 rebs)  Box Score

Calgary 76 at Thompson Rivers 60 –   The Dinos have control of this one with a dominating 24-10 spread in the 3rd quarter.  Despite an unusually cold weekend for 3 point range, UC gets a valuable sweep, and move  up to 14-4.  Thomas Cooper has 19 pts/ 8 rebs to lead the way, with David Kapinga tacking on 17 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assists/ 5 steals. Buzz-saw.  Calgary is aided by an aggressive defense, forcing 24 TRU turnovers to only 11 for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov notches 16 pts/ 8 boards in his final home game for the Orange, while rookie Trent Monkman pours in several late hoops to post 15 pts.  The Wolf-Pack are now 8-10, and still having to scrap for a post-season next weekend.  Box Score 

 

at  MacEwan  93  UBC-Okanagan  64 –    A decisive win for MacEwan on their Senior Night, as they  improve to  7-11, with a chance of a play-off berth still alive.  51 points in the 2nd half presses the issue, as GMU shoots 52% from the floor, getting 25 points/ 8 rebs from Thadius Galvez.  5th year wing, Denzel James, adds 22 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 blks, and Keith Gerdes has 18 pts.   UBC-O (2-16) are led by Aldrich Berrios’ 21 points, and 19 pts/ 8 boards by rookie Triston MatthewsBox Score

Trinity Western  71 at  Mt. Royal  54   –  It’s 48-18 TWU in the final 20 minutes, as the visitors grab a satisfying split after a dispiriting loss Friday.  The Cougars, overall, seemed listless in this one, with 28 turnovers providing Trinity all the extra chances they needed. Max Vitala, scores 21 points/ 5 rebs/ 5 steals, while the Spartans also get 17 points and 10 big rebounds from Patrick Vandervelden Pogos Trunyan looks steady at the point for TWU, and ge records 16 pts/ 5 rebs/5 steals, and his team gets to 3-15 in the standings.  MRU (8-10) shoot just 37%, with Josh Ross grabbing 16 rebounds to go with 8 points, and the 2 graduating players, Derek Wolf and Brett Layton (9 boards)  hit 11 and 10 points respectively.   Box Score  

logo UFV

at Fraser Valley  89  Victoria  79 –   A sweep for the Cascades, raising their play-off chances , at 9-9, and dimming UVic’s with their drop to 7-11.  UFV ring up 8 points in the final 20 minutes to pull away, as 5 Cascades go for double digits on the score-sheet. Denver Sparks-Guest has a good outing off the bench, with 19 pts/ 6 rebs, while 5th year guard, Vijay Dhillon, scores 17/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts, and Nav Bains records an 11 point/ 11 rebound double. The Vikes’ Justin Kinnear stands out with a 24 point/ 5 rebound game, and rookie Scott Kellum hits 17 pts/ 4 assts.  Box Score   

 at   UBC  109  UNBC  61   –   It may have been a slow start for the Thunderbirds, but they got rolling to the tune of 72 points in the 2nd half !  UBC are now 17-1 heading into the final week of League play, while the T’ Wolves fall to 4-14. Jordan Jensen-Whyte scores 24/ 5 rebs for the ‘Birds, and Conor Morgan tosses in 20 pts/ 6 boards, as the whole line-up is utilized in this blow-out.  Rhys Elliott has a good one for UNBC with 23 points, and Vaggelis Loukas adds 16 pts/ 9 rebounds.  Box Score   

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Scores from the East –

Atlantic –  at #10 Dalhousie 91 Memorial  69, UNB 107 at UPEI  92 , at Acadia 114 Cape Breton 99

Quebec – # 8 McGill 87 at Bishops 59 , Concordia 57 at Laval  55

In the OUA …  at # 4 Brock 71 W. Laurier 58, Waterloo 83 at McMaster 62 , at Lakehead 68  Nipissing  57,  Western 86 at Algoma 75,  at Laurentian 79 Guelph 50 , at Toronto  85 Queens  77

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Overtime –

  • Why didn’t Manny Dulay and Nav Bains of UFV start vs UVic  in Friday’s big game?  Here’s the story from Dan Kinvig, Fraser Valley Communications Coordinator, ‘ With the Lower Mainland of B.C. buffeted by a rare snowstorm  … Dulay and teammate Nav Bains, traveling from their hometown of Surrey to UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre, were stuck  … and the clock ticked ever-closer to game time. We’ll let Dulay pick up the story from here.’  “We were in the left lane (headed eastbound), and the right lane opened up,” he began. “As we switched, Nav’s car started swerving and we actually did a 360 (degree spin) in both lanes. We ended up in the left lane, but now we’re facing these cars (going in the same direction). Luckily, no one was coming right behind us, and everyone went around us. We didn’t end up in the ditch, and no car hit us.  We didn’t want to tell anyone (when we got to the gym), but we actually almost died.”
  • Jamar Farlay, Winnipeg’s 5th year guard, knows how to celebrate Senior Night, as he buries 6 treys for the Wesmen, and breaks away for a buzzer-beating flush to finish the 3rd quarter.  His efforts pace the W’s to a sweep, and well on the way to a good play-off seed.  And how about the final home appearance for Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr, who goes for 27 points/ 12 rebounds  in the ‘Cats 2nd consecutive win over Manitoba.
  • Not sure why it would be a violation for several players to leap up off the bench and cheer the efforts of teammates on the floor.  Enthusiasm, joy, congratulations.  If it’s not ‘excessive’ , why create an unnecessary rule conflict ?
  • Fitting congratulations from Trinity Western Coach, Aaron Muhic, for his troops after their fine effort in a win at Mt. Royal, “It was a good win for our guys tonight,” said  .. Muhic. “I’m very proud of our toughness and willingness to compete. We finally had a game where we put the little things together and we attacked for most of the game. It was a great overall team effort.”  (From TWU’s Mark Janzen). 

 

 

Dinos Dust Cascades in 2nd half Barrage

 

63 point blitz pushes Dinos to a dominant home win

Dallas Karch and the Calgary Dinos buried the UFV Cascades on Thursday.

Calgary  106  Fraser Valley  68 – A 43-37 game at the half turned into the rout for the Dinos, who tallied 63 points in the 2nd half, UC  out-shot the Cascades 49% to 336% from the floor, and hit 25/34 free throws to just 5/11for the visitors. The 24 UFV turnovers gave the potent Dinos offense more than enough chances .

Calgary goes 10 deep with 4 players in double figures.  Thomas Cooper scored 19 points, with 13 rebounds, and both Mambi Diawara and Dallas Karch hit 15 points. Point guards David Kapinga and Max Eisle paved the track with 5 and 4 assists respectively.  Fraser Valley cashed 13/32 shots from outside, with 15 points from Denver Sparks-Guest leading the way off the bench.   Box Score 

Calgary moves up to 9-2 for the season, and Fraser Valley drops to 5-6.  The teams play again on Friday at 8 pm.

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Scores from the East – 

Ontario –  at #10 McMaster 85 Laurier 54, at Windsor 85  Western Ont. 78

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Overtime –

TRU rookie point man, Madhu McConnell

  • The TRU Wolf Pack, over the Holiday period, lost the services of 2nd year and former all-rookie guard, Jeff Tubbs.  “It is not ideal that now you are trying to figure out player rotations,” Clark said about the situation.  Madhu McConnell (1st year, Victoria, BC) looks to be the player stepping up in the rotation.  Coach Scott Clark says, “ Madhu has seen an increase in playing time and he has responded.”   From Larry Read, TRU Athletics
  • The UC Women (8-3) came back strong in the 2nd half for a 69-59 win over UFV (7-4).  The home team trailed by 3 at the half, but scored 33 points in a hectic 3rd stanza to pull away.
  • You can tell it’s a big point spread in the game when Canada West TV broadcasters Lucas Meyer and John Tramble ‘drift off the dock’ with a thorough discussion of favourite movies and tastiest meals!  Focus boys, focus ….

Huskies Cage Cougars

 

 

Big rebounding edge gives the Huskies a lift

Shane Osayande leads the Huskies in their win at Regina Friday.

Shane Osayande leads the Huskies in their win at Regina Friday.  photo – Huskies Athletics

Saskatchewan 77  at Regina  53 –  Saskatchewan (5-2) gets game 1 in the Prairie battle in Regina, but the prettiest thing about this one were the Huskies rebound stats.  Chan De Ciman was ‘slacking off’ with just 6 boards, with the other 4 starters at 9, 9,10, and 10, while Emmanuel Akintunde scoops a team high 11 in his 17 minutes off the bench.  68 boards for the ‘Dogs vs 38 for the Cougars.  With the 25% FG shooting from Regina (4-3), and a cool 34% from the winners there were a ton available.  Shane Osayande leads U of S with 22 pts/ 10 boards, and Matt Forbes counts 20 pts/9 rebs.   Brandon Tull is a lone Cougar in double figurees with 12 points.     Box Score   

br-bobcats-copy

 at Brandon 101  Fraser Valley  84  –  The Bobcats hit the century mark for the first time this season, as they pile up 54 in the 2nd half.  Brandon  shoots 49% from the field, with 12/26 (46%) from 3 point range in the game. The ‘Cats, now 3-6, forced 18 Cascades turnovers, and had all 5 starters score 12 pts+. Earl Thompson Jr. had another good outing for BU, hitting 26 pts/ 13 rebounds, while Chris Stanhope scored 18, and Tyvon Cooper had 17.  UFV (2-5) shot only 33% on the night;  their top man was Denver Sparks- Guest, who came off the bench for 21 points.     Box Score  

Lethbridge 89 at Trinity Western 81 –  Lethbridge come back after trailing early, and they go to 5-4, while Trinity drops to 2-7.  Mike Pierzchala and Zac Overwater both score 24 for the ‘Horns, while Vartan Tanielian leads the Spartans with 21. Box Score

 

  Thompson Rivers  87  at UNBC 81  –  Playing without their top offensive threat, an injured Rhys Elliot, the Timberwolves got an amazing 39 point team effort in the 4th quarter, but couldn’t make up for the 69-42 deficit after 3/4s.  The Wolf Pack shot a surgical 55% from the floor, led by Volodymyr Iegorov’s 23 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assts. UNBC get 22 points from import Austin Chandler, but shoot just 36% themselves. They rally in the late stages with 12 treys (vs 5 for TRU) and 25/30 from the line. The ‘Pack improve to 4-5, now tied with the T’Wolves.  Box Score 

at  #2 UBC  100  UBC- Okanagan  64 –  The Thunderbirds (7-0) finished in a punishing 53-32 fashion, as the visiting Heat (1-8) hung in to as close as 14 points late in the 3rd quarter,  but were overwhelmed.  UBC’s  Conor Morgan takes over the Canada West scoring lead with a 34 point night, and Jordan Jensen-Whyte adds 20 pts/ 5 steals. Mitch Goodwin led UBC-O with 15 pts, and Aldrich Berrios tallied 9 pts/ 7 boards.  Key stats –  29 Heat turnovers vs 12 for the ‘Birds, and  33/41 free throws for the home side against  16/22 for UBC.   Box Score 


 

Other U-Spots games Friday

 Quebec-  Concordia  72  at UQAM 65

 Carleton Coach, Dave Smart, in the huddle with his Ravens, during their game with Brock tonight .

Carleton Coach, Dave Smart, in the huddle with his Ravens, during their game with Brock tonight .   photo –  Ron Wuotila for Canada West Hoops

Ontario –  at  #1 Carleton 80  #5 Brock 68,  at #4  Ottawa 79  #7  McMaster 59,  Algoma 76  at York 73 , Nipissing 83  at Waterloo  78,  at  Laurier 81 Laurentian 75


 

Overtime –

  • Why do coaches develop ‘eye-tics’ and other nervous afflictions?  Well, one reason may be the Canada West playoff tie-breaking system.  This process takes place after all League games are done in February, but is cause for concern even now.  Here are the first 3 criteria . 1. Win/Loss record in head to head competition. 2. Win/Loss record versus common opponents. 3. Each team’s RPI ranking.  We are not likely to go beyond this RPI, but we may well get to it.  The Rating % Index is a complicated formula to judge a team based on their winning percentage, that of their League opponents, and of their  opponents’  opponents .   At present here are some RPIs … Manitoba 3W-6L – .6042 RPI = 3rd in Canada West  ?!  …   Regina 4W-3L – .4218 RPI  = 14th in the CW RPI !!  More to come.  Oh … #1 Carleton Ravens are 9-0 vs all CIS opponents, and 9th in the National RPI ranking.
  • Our continuing thanks and appreciation for the amazing work done by Martin Timmerman (Waterloo, ON) on his web-site   cishoops.ca  .  Schedules, results, team information, league standings across the country, and an absolute wealth of statistics, records, and salient facts about Canadian University Basketball. ( Martin, you ‘Da Dog’ !)
  • Is the 3 point shot ‘ruining the game’  or making it more exciting ? Let’s
    MRU's Josh Ross fires a deep one for 3 points !

    MRU’s Josh Ross fires a deep one for 3 points !    photo-  MRU Athletics

    look at some stats and recent results …  9-0 Alberta are the leading 3 point shooting team in Canada West @ 43.9% , then Calgary (6-1) @39.9%, but UBC (6-0) are 13th in the League @30% from outside the arc!  The 4-2 Saskatchewan Huskies just 29.8%, which is well below the UBC-O Heat (1-7), who shoot 35.1% on 3s. In Thursday’s Calgary win (87-83) at Mt. Royal, the Dinos were 50.8% from the floor, but 3/17 (17.6%) from 3 pt range.  The smaller Cougars (especially after their 6-8 post man, Brett Layton was injured early on) used the 3 point shot as a primary focus of their attack.  MRU were only 37% from the floor, but, of those 70 shots, 31 were from outside, and they made 12 for 38.7% and 36 very valuable points!  (And the fans seemed pretty excited ….)