Golden Bears Shooters Carpet-Bomb Pronghorns

 

 

The draw is now set for the Canada West Final 4 to be held in Calgary next weekend.  The Alberta Golden Bears were the final team to qualify, with their 3rd game win on Saturday over the Lethbridge Pronghorns.  The #3 seeded Bears will play the early game on Friday, March 3 against the #2 Saskatchewan Huskies.  The top seed Calgary Dinos will be up against the Manitoba Bisons, who took out the heavily -favoured UBC Thunderbirds 2 straight in Vancouver in the 4/5 quarter-final.

Bears bury Pronghorns with avalanche of long bombs

Geoff Pippus scores from long range to lead the Bears.   Photo – Bears Athletics

  #8  Alberta  107  Lethbridge 84 –  Alberta fills the air with long-range shots, and scores an incredible 69 first half points, to settle the affair rather suddenly. Shooting 52% from the floor for the game, the Bears have 14 treys in that half, and finish with 19/39 on the night.  The Pronghorns could not stop or match the Bears firepower, as they did not get the same offensive production as fans saw in their OT win on Friday.

4th year guard Geoff Pippus came off the bench and found his range early, accounting for a game- high 26 points on 8/14 from beyond the arc, plus 6 rebounds.  Austin Waddoups was another hot shooter for the GBs, connecting on 5/10 from outside in scoring 21 points. Mamadou Gueye had a double of 12 points/ 12 boards and added 4 assists, while guard Ivan Ikomey nailed all 6 shots, with 4 of those from 3 pt range for 16 points.

U of L are led by 21 points/ 8 rebounds by Elliott Sentance, and 15 points from guard, Dejon Burdeaux.  Alberta heads to Calgary next week for the Canada West Final 4, where they will meet the Saskatchewan Huskies in one semi- final next Friday.  Box Score 

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In the East –  Saturday    

 OUA Quarter Finals  at #1 Carleton 89  McMaster 50, at #3 Ryerson  87 Nipissing 62, at #4 Ottawa 93 Laurentian 81,  at #5 Brock 80 Toronto  59

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 will be in Ottawa on Fri/Sat, with Carleton vs Brock , and Ottawa vs Ryerson.  The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.

Atlantic  –  at St. FX 94 UPEI 93  , St Mary’s 70  at  Cape Breton 66 ,  Memorial  84 at Acadia 74   .  The Quarter-Finals in Halifax next Friday will see Acadia and Memorial in one contest, and  St. Mary’s and St. FX in the other.  Those winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday, the 4th, with the championship final going Sunday.

Quebec – Concordia  75  Laval 63, UQAM 78  Bishops 69 .  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.

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Overtime – 

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals  on Saturday –    at #6 Winnipeg 92  Victoria  65, at # 8 Saskatchewan 78  Fraser V. 69    So their Final 4, to be played at  Saskatchewan next weekend. The draw –
  • Saskatchewan point man, Alex Unruh, on the Huskies’ elimination of

    Alex Unruh, Huskies  – photo U of S

    Winnipeg in the 1/4 Finals.  “It feels good,” said Unruh, who was pressed into a bigger role after an injury Friday to Jaylan Morgan. “Those guys (Wesmen) are a good team. We played them in the regular season straight up and what we wanted to do is try and get it done in two, so, yeah, it feels good and I’m just happy I was able to contribute the way that I did.”  (From a Star-Phoenix article by Darren Zary.)

 

Dinos’ David Kapinga

  •   Calgary’s David Kapinga , on the Dinos’ tough task in getting by a very competitive TRU squad, “I think it was about slowing down Iegorov for the other team,” Kapinga said. “He’s a beast, he’s a beast. He did it all, crazy shots from NBA range, finding his teammates. Johny Verrone did a very good job slowing him down, especially in the second half, and with stops comes transition and that’s what we’re really good at.”   From a story in the Calgary Sun by Rita Mingo 

 

 

 

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  

 

 

 

 

Cascades Ride Dulay to Game 3

 

 

‘If Manny Dulay crosses centre, is he in shooting range ? ‘

 Fraser Valley 78  at Winnipeg  71 –    “Magic Manny’ Dulay has given us the 3 game series we suspected we would have with these 2 evenly- matched teams.  In an extremely well-played game (only 14 total turnovers between the teams), it was the killer shooting

Precision shooting by UFV’s Manny Dulay takes the teams to game 3. photo – UFV Athletics

display by the 5th year guard from Surrey that fuelled the Cascades win in game 2.

In this virtuoso matinee performance, Dulay was an incredible 7 of 7 from way outside, as he scored 29 points/ 6 rebs/ 5 asst/ 3 steals.  Mark Johnson stepped up for 14 points, as he was 2/3 from 3 pt range, as well as claiming 7 rebounds.  The middle of the game saw the visitors tallying 49 points, and today they were able to limit Winnipeg in any small 4th quarter surge.

The Ws get 22 points from the highest scoring non-starter in Canada West, import guard  Sean Tarver. Winnipeg’s Ryan Oirbans is effective again with 16 pts /10 rebs, but the difference was the 12/22 (55%) UFV shooting from beyond the arc.  The Wesmen hit just 5 treys, and thats a 21 point spread !  14/15 from the line helped Winnipeg, but that was not enough to have the home side threaten in the end.   Box  Score    The 3rd and deciding game is Saturday at the same 3 pm Central time.        This and the other play off games available   On Canada West TV

Justus Alleyn leads Manitoba to a series sweep over Regina.   photo- Jeff Miller – Bisons Sports

at Manitoba 88  Regina   80  –  The Bisons claim a spot in the quarter-finals, with a strong opening half, where they open up a 13 point advantage, looking more relaxed and ready than on Friday.  The Herd expand that lead in the 3rd quarter, then hold off a late Regina flurry for the sweep of this series.

Once again tonight, it’s guard Justus Alleyn leading the way for UM with 20 points/ 3 steals, while back-court mate A.J. Basi hits 18 points.  There are 5 Bisons in double digits, as they shoot 48% from the floor, and 41% from 3 pt range ( Alleyn is 4/8 outside and Malik Irwin 2/2 and 10 pts) . Turnovers played a role, with Regina committing 19 and Manitoba 17, while the home side wins the rebound battle 45-36.

Brandon Tull leads the Cougars in their final game of the season, with 19 points/ 4 steals.  UR got 13 points apiece from Johneil Johnson and Travis Sylvestre.   Box  Score    Manitoba earns a date in the Q-finals with the UBC Thunderbirds out in Vancouver starting next Thursday.

Tyvon Cooper scores 30 as the ‘cats win game 1 over TRU. photo- BU sports

at Brandon  101  Thompson Rivers 95  –  Break up the Bobcats !   Finding a  new team confidence, the ‘Cats send their fans home smiling, as they hit 55% from the floor and join the visiting T’Wolves in a  53-55 track-meet in the final 20 minutes.  No one blinked as both teams let it rip, with Brandon hitting 2 more treys (and 52% from 3 pt range)  for the difference.

Tyvon Cooper had a slick 30 points/ 8 rebounds for the Bobcats, while Earl Thompson Jr ‘hit for the cycle’ with 20 pts/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts/ 3 steals.  All 5 BU starters were in double figures, with big John Paul registering a double of 11 pts/ 10 boards, and Pookie Saunders  posting 14 pts/ 5 rebs/ 7 assists/ 5 steals.

TRU responded to a 48-40 half-time deficit with a big offensive eruption in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  Volodymyr Iegorov displayed his play-off mettle with 29 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals, and Joe Davis had one of his finer nights, cashing 24 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.     Box  Score        Game 2 is at 7 pm Central on Saturday.

Mike Pierzchala has a big 31 pt night in the ‘Horns series opening win.     photo – Levi Balan

at Lethbridge  97 Victoria 85 –  The ‘Horns repel a spirited UVic comeback in the 3rd quarter, and finish strong to capture game 1 after putting up 29 in the 4th.  The home side gets a scare, as Dejon Burdeaux, their powerhouse guard leaves with an awkward fall late in the 3rd.

Burdeaux gets some timely ‘corner work’ from his seconds, and, much to the collective relief, he’s back for a solid final 20 minutes. The big gun for UL on the night was Mike Pierzchala, with a sparkling 9/11 outside shooting display, leading to 31 points.  Also aiding a team 52% from 3 pt range was Elliott Sentance with his 21 points on 5/9 from outside, plus 8 rebs/ 7 assists.

The Vikes spread their scoring pretty well, as they get 14 pts each from Grant Sitton (9 rebs), and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson (7 boards).  UVic had 3 others in double figures, with a good team shooting night (44% FG, 41% 3 pt, and 17/19 from the line).   Victoria could not match the Pronghorns energy in the final 10 minutes, and they will need a Saturday win to extend the series.  Box  Score     Game time Saturday is 7 pm Mountain.

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Winning is Tough for Canada West’s Newest Schools

Only 2 of the 6 ‘Explorer Division teams from last season made the play-offs this campaign.   And these were not the latest entries to Canada West;  both Fraser Valley (2006) and Thompson Rivers (2005) have been in the League for some time now. The Wolf Pack and the Cascades have both enjoyed some success in play-off competition over those years.  Trinity Western joined Canada West in 1999, then, a year later, the 4 Great Plains schools were added – Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, and Winnipeg.

This season we see the newest of our 17 teams, Mt. Royal, MacEwan, UBC-O, and UNBC, all on the outside looking in at the post -season play-downs. The TWU Spartans, who are also out, have had a few brushes with championships with Jacob Doerkson and company, but have ‘fallen on harder times’ in recent seasons.

No team outside of Victoria (16), Alberta (11), UBC (9), Calgary (5), Brandon (1), Lethbridge (1), and Saskatchewan (1) have ever won the Canada West title.  There were, of course, championships won in the GPAC by Brandon, Manitoba, and Winnipeg.

This season’s play-off slate prompts us to consider the old saw, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, as we have Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC the top 4 seeds, awaiting their opponents for the quarter-final series. We do believe the newer schools can become more competitive, and, on many nights, they have been already.  It’s not easy, however, to build a consistently strong contender in the early years of participation in Canada West.

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In the East –  Friday    

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 88  Saint Marys 81 ,  at Acadia 88  St. FX 82,  at UNB 99 Cape Breton 93 – a good effort by the Capers, but they remain O-for.

Quebec –  at Laval 73 UQAM 62

Ontario –   at #1 Carleton 82  #5 Ryerson 77-  Good game.  Makes the play-offs more interesting !  at #3 Ottawa 74  Toronto  54 , at Queens 70 York  60, Laurentian 87 at Algoma 64, at Lakehead 66 Waterloo 62

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Overtime –

Nova Scotia star, Andrew Milner, signs with Calgary.

  • Andrew Milner, a 6-3 guard from Antigonish, NS,  has signed with the Calgary Dinos for the Fall of 2017.  Milner, who was a member of 2 Nova Scotia Provincial teams which won Canadian Championships in 2015 and 2016, will graduate this June from Rothesay Netherwood School (NB) .  Calgary Head Coach Dan Vanhooren says, “Andrew is very skilled and dedicated young player, and we look forward to his joining our program.”

 

  • All 4 of Canada West’s 1st round play-off sites are on the Prairies … teams seeded 5 – 8. Manitoba, Lethbridge, Winnipeg, and Brandon are hoping home court will give them the edge, and they can move on to quarter-finals next week.
  • Women’s Canada West 1st Round Play-offs –   (Best of 3 series’) Thursday, Brandon 56 at Trinity Western 48,  Friday  ,  Calgary 67 at Fraser Valley 48,  at  UBC 74 UNBC 61,  at Victoria 67 MacEwan 54 ,  at Trinity W 70  Brandon 57 – goes to a 3rd game Saturday  .     Interestingly, all 4 of these series are in B.C.  The Women’s top 4 seeds are 1 Saskatchewan  2 Regina   3 Winnipeg  4 Alberta.

 

 

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.

 

 

Final Weekend Features Scramble for Play-offs

 

 

Final games bring so many permutations and combinations ….

Brandon Tull and the Cougars are at home to TRU.       photo – UR Athletics

Thompson Rivers (8-10) at Regina (7-11)-  This series has implications not only for the 2 teams, but throughout the CW standings.  We have to see Regina as the favourites, being at home, or do we?  The baffling Green Cougars are 3-5 on home court, and 4-6  on the road?  The Wolves are 4-4 on the road this year, and have won 6 of the last 8 meetings with Regina.  TRU are the younger team, but have Volodymyr Iegorov, a tough match-up inside.  It’s a toss-up, with both teams scratching for a play-off berth.   Fri /Sat  at 8 pm

Winnipeg (12-6) at Victoria (7-11) –  Another series where the results will affect all teams in the RPI ratings.  The Vikes would kill for a sweep, and a guarantee of getting into the post -season.  UVic is not keen on missing 2 years in a row. The Ws have won 6 of 8 in the season’s 2nd half, and want to assure a home court for round 1 of play-offs.   These teams are 7-7 over their last 6 seasons’ meetings;  we think a split may be the most likely scenario.   Fri  8 pm / Sat 7 pm

Mt Royal (8-10) at Manitoba (10-8)   –  Both these teams are coming off losses, and we’re not sure how they will respond to these games.  The Bisons are going to be 5th, so there’s no pressure there, but they will want to sharpen -up prior to play-offs.  The Cougs may find themselves in a math tie-breaker for a play-off spot if they can’t get that 9th win.     Fri 8 pm , Sat 6 pm

David Kapinga is having an impressive campaign for the Dinos.         photo – David Moll – UC

MacEwan (7-11) at #6 Calgary (14-4) –  “They’re pretty good!”  So says Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren as he reviews MacEwan game tape.  “Their post guys are tough, and work hard.  (Thadius) Galvez and (Denzel) James can play.”  Yes, the Griffs are under-appreciated by some, but will not go down without a fight.  Calgary are without Lars Schleuter, who is nursing a ‘lower-body injury’.  Closer than we might expect.  Intriguing match-up –  Adonis Montfort – Palomino (former Dino) returns to his home-town  vs the Dinos super-quick point , David Kapinga.   Fri  8 pm/ Sat  7 pm

Matt Forbes, U of S ‘big dude’         Photo – GetMyPhoto.ca

#9 Saskatchewan (12-6) at UNBC (4-14) –  This does not look like a good match-up for the smaller T’Wolves, as the Huskies bring the ‘big meanies’, Shane Osayande and Matt Forbes.  U of S has a shot at the #1 seed (slim as it might be), so they will have that incentive.  Vaggelis Loukas needs help inside, while Rhys Elliott and Marcus MacKay shoot lights out.  Still a tall order for UNBC.   Fri 8 pm / Sat  / 7 pm

#2 UBC  (17-1) at  Trinity Western (3-15) –  The Thunderbirds are, make no mistake, peeved that they will not be the #1 play-off seed.  So they can be expected to be in a surly mood as they travel to Langley to finish their League slate.  TWU won their last, and are playing better, but this should not be close.   Fri and Sat  at 7 pm

Fraser Valley (9-9) at UBC-O (2-16) –  The big question might be, “How do we get to Kelowna, with all the deep snow on the Coquihalla Highway?”  Assuming the Cascades can ‘plow their way through’, they will be excited for a chance to  get to 11 wins, and to host a play-off series the following week.  Their senior guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon will give the Heat’s 3rd year points leader , Aldrich Berrios, and rookies Triston Matthews and Matt Lafontaine  all they can handle.    Fri  8 pm / Sat at 7 pm

Saturday/ Sunday , Feb. 11/12

Andre Kelly’s return should help Alberta vs Lethbridge  Photo – UA Athletics

Lethbridge (12-6) at   #7  Alberta (13-5)   –  The Bears are the ‘odds-on’ to finish as the top seed for play-offs wither tough schedule giving them a boost in the RPI.  This holds true, if they sweep, for sure, or maybe even if they allow Lethbridge a split? ( There are other possibilities, but let’s just wait.)  The Bears look to have an edge at home, and they’re playing better with Andre Kelly back in the line-up.  The ‘Horns will need a 3rd,4th, 5th guy to assist Dejon Burdeaux and Elliott Sentance, if they are to get a win.   Weird game times, with a volleyball conflict.        Sat at 4 pm / Sun at 7 pm

Brandon Bobcats are 9-11, in the play-offs,  and lounging contentedly in their ‘dorm rooms’ this weekend

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In the East –

Tues –  #10  Dalhousie  77 at  St FX  65

Upcoming –  In the OUA – Waterloo at Western Ont,  Laurier at Windsor

Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill

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There are no changes this week, as Ottawa lost to Carleton (doesn’t everybody?), and the Bears and Huskies split.

On the basis of the Top 10, it looks like the OUA has the lead in the ‘At Large Berth’ competition. The U-Sports Final 8 in Halifax March 9-12 will have 2 Atlantic teams, 2 OUA teams, 2 Canada West teams, and 1 Quebec team . An ‘At-large team’ (Wild-card)  will be chosen by a committee of U-Sports coaches. There are many more criteria besides this Top 10  (More later).

 

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Overtime –

  • We think Saskatchewan will be cheering for a split between Alberta-Lethbridge, then Regina -Thompson Rivers, and, finally, a Winnipeg sweep at Victoria.  Then, according to ‘Dr. Timmerman’s Magic Calculator’, the Sled Dogs are CW #1 play-off seed !    (But, those are a whole lot of dominoes magically falling in the appropriate direction!)  Probably Alberta #1.
  • What looks more predictable is some kind of tie for the last play-off spot … involving some of, two of, several of  UVic, Mt Royal, Regina, TRU, or MacEwan.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Regina Roars Back to Dump the Dinos

 

Tull leads Cougars to much-needed home win

Regina’s Brian Ofori flushes one in the Cougars’ win over Calgary.  photo  UR Athletics

 at Regina 82  #5 Calgary  81 –  This may be the game that revives the Cougars (7-9) , as they erase a 20 point 2nd half deficit, and beat the Dinos down the stretch. Brandon Tull  leads the way with 20 points, as Regina shoots 53% from the floor, and deposits 31 in the bank in the final frame. Johneil Johnson comes off the bench for 16 pts, and Brian Ofori is big in the comeback with 14 pts/ 8 rebs/ 6 asst.  The Dinos lose another back half of a series, and surrender 56 points in the 2nd half.  UC’s high scorer is Thomas Cooper with 20 pts/ 7 rebounds, while David Kapinga hits 11 points, as they fall to 12-4.    Box Score

at #9 Saskatchewan  90 Mt. Royal 87 –   The Huskies had to fend off an inspired MRU squad, who are up 6 at the break, but see U of S pile up 52 points in the final 20 minutes. Double-doubles from the forward pair of Shane Osayande (23 pts/ 14 rebounds) and  Matt Forbes (20 pts/ 12 boards) paced the Huskies (12-6) to the win.   Guard Lawrence Moore cashes 10/10 free throws, as Saskatchewan has the home court blessing of 27/30  from the line vs just 9/13 for Mt. Royal.  The Cougars (7-9)  are close in the final 4 minutes, but never catch the Dogs.  Josh Ross scores 21 for MRU, and Brett Layton has 19 pts and 7 rebounds.   Box Score  

at Manitoba  77 UNBC  68 –     The Bisons outshoot the T’Wolves in a fairly evenly contested 2nd game.  Justus Alleyn, who has often been the leading trigger man for the Bisons offense, goes 7/11 for 19 points/4 asst in the 10th UM win, and 6th straight.  Manitoba (10-6), also had Keith Omoerah with 8 pts/  11 boards, and AJ Basi tossing in 12 pts/ 4 asst.  The 4-12 Timberwolves could never nose into a lead, even though they came within 1 and 2 at several stages in the 2nd half. Rhys Elliott scores 19 for the visitors, and Vaggelis Loukas posts a double of 12 pts/ 11 boards.   Box Score   

at MacEwan 77  Winnipeg  62   –  Good Mac defense, and cold Wesmen shooting (33% FG) give Mac a split, with a big win at home.  Out-scoring  Winnipeg 36-25 in the second half, the Griffs team – rebound for a 52-43 edge, and convert 18/28 from the line to Winnipeg’s 9/19. Denzel James scores 15 for Mac  (5-11) and adds 8 boards, with 3 others in double figures – Thadius Galvez 13 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 asst,  Ryan Coleman 12 pts/ 9 boards, and Keith Gerdes 12 pts/ 8 rebs.   For the Wesmen (10-6), it’s Denzel Lynch-Blair with 20 pts/ 5 rebs, and Narcisse Ambanza scoring 16.     Box Score

The ‘Horns Dejon Burdeaux returns to help earn  a sweep of UBC-O.   photo- UL Athletics

at Lethbridge  83 UBC- Okanagan 61 –  Dejon Burdeaux  returns for the Pronghorns, and leads them with 20 pts and 5 steals. Elliott Sentance keeps pace with 16 pts/9 boards, as UL takes good advantage of 29 Okanagan turnovers, and move up to 12-6. UBC-O  shoots just 35%, with 6 treys vs 11 for the ‘Horns. Lethbridge is better from the line, with 20/23  vs 19/30  for the Heat. Austin Penrose scores 16 for UBC-O  (2-14)    Box Score  

 

 

Thompson Rivers 79  at Fraser Valley 67 –  The Wolf Pack (8-8) use their superior size, and take it to the hoop, forcing Fraser Valley to foul in this B.C show-down series.  Volodymyr Iegorov (14/16), Trent Monkman (9/10), and Joe Davis (5/5)  lead the ‘Pack to a 91% FT night and a 29-9 differential in points from the stripe.  Iegorov with 25 pts/ 12 boards, and Luke Morris with 14 and 10 rebs both record valuable double-doubles for the Orange.  The Cascades  (7-9) have Manny Dulay with 20 points/ 7 rebs, and Vijay Dhillon scoring 14, but they are out-rebounded 49-39 by TRU.    Box Score   

at #2 UBC 87  Brandon 53 –  Again tonight the T’Birds (15-1)  spread the minutes and the scoring, as Conor Morgan hits 21 pts and 19 rebounds, while Jordan Jensen-Whyte adds 16 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 asst.  26 turnovers spell trouble for the Bobcats, and they shoot just 36% from the floor, while watching UBC hit 19/25 free throws vs BU’s 6/12.  Earl Thompson Jr manages just 11 points as the top scorer for Brandon (7-11) . Box Score   

at Victoria  69   Trinity Western  65 –  With the game tied at 65 with 4 minutes left, the Vikes Grant Sitton scores the only 4 points to finish, and the home team gets the sweep.   Victoria (7-9) have Scott Kellum as their spark-plug, as he goes 8/10 from the floor, including 5/6 from outside for 23 pts/ 4 rebs. Trinity (2-14) can never get un-tracked offensively, as Patrick Vandervelden is their top man with 16 pts/ 13 rebounds.   Box Score    

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Other U-Sports games on Saturday –

AUS – at UNB 84 Acadia 74, St Marys 105  at UPEI 98, Dalhousie 73 at Cape Breton  70

Quebec – Concordia 75  at Bishops 69 , at UQAM 70 Laval  65

Ontario – #1 Carleton 80 at Western Ont. 56, #3 Ottawa 78 at Windsor  64, at #6 Brock 89 at Guelph 62, Nipissing 65  at York  63, Laurentian 85 at Queens 64, Toronto 65 McMaster  57,  Laurier 82   Waterloo 75

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Overtime –        

Howard Tsumura’s major contributions to Post Media amateur sports coverage will be missed.

  • Canada West, B.C. Colleges, and B.C. High Schools will all feel the loss of veteran sports writer, Howard Tsumura, who announced Friday that he is taking his leave from the Vancouver Province newspaper immediately.  Tsumura’s coverage of amateur / school sport in British Columbia was phenomenol, and his week by week features had depth, perspective, and great connections with all the young athletes and their coaches.  Our thanks to Howard for his amazing work.  Good luck on your soon to be announced career move.
  • Mahmoud (Junior) Sesay (Winnipeg)  has left the U. of Lethbridge and the Pronghorns basketball team. The transfer from UVic , who had been away from the League for several years before joining the ‘Horns in January, apparently has some sort of medical issue making it very difficult to continue.

 

 

Winnipeg Teams Eke Out Close Wins

 

 

Manitoba and Winnipeg get wins in tense affairs

AJ Basi is a key man both ways for the streaking Herd.     photo – UM Athletics

at Manitoba 86  UNBC 85 –  The T’Wolves throw a scare into the Bisons, as the visitors lead by 2 after 30 minutes, after tallying 31 in the 3rd quarter. 2 free throws each by AJ Basi and Ilarion Bonhomme allow the Herd to slip by for the win in the final minute.  Basi leads Manitoba (9-6) with 23 points, while Justus Alleyn kicks in with 21.  The home-standing UM shoots 18/26 from the line vs only 6/9 for the visiting UNBC (4-11).  Marcus Mackay is red hot from long range for the ‘Wolves, hitting 8/10 for 28 points.  Box Score  

Winnipeg 89 at MacEwan 85 – Another game tonight where the favourites are pushed to the limit, as the Griffins pour in 37 points in the 4th quarter to rattle the Wesmen. Mac hits 12 treys to the Ws 5, but Winnipeg (10-5) enjoy a rare visiting team edge in the foul shooting, with 22/29 vs just 7/11 for the chagrined home side.  6 Wesmen in double figures as they shoot 48% as a team;  Denzel Lynch-Blair is their high man with 18 points, while Sean Tarver adds 17. MacEwan (4-11) get 22 points/ 5 rebs from Keith Gerdes, and 21 points/ 7 rebs/ 9 assists by Thadius Galvez.    Box Score  

#9 Saskatchewan  82 Mt. Royal  62 –  A 20-6 advantage in the final 10 minutes allows the Huskies to pull away for their 10th win of the season. Their defense holds the Cougars (7-8) to just 36% from the floor, and U of S dominates the boards 48-21. Matt Forbes has another strong game for the ‘Dogs with 26 pts/ 12 rebounds.  Derek Wolf replies with 21 pts for MRU, but big gun, Brett Layton, is limited to just 6 pts/2 rebs.   Box Score  

#5 Calgary 86 at Regina 70 –  With every Dinos player hitting the score sheet, and the team cashing 14/28 from 3 point range, Calgary stormed to a 69-47 lead after 3/4s, and  waltzed home. Regina hit just 4/21 long range attempts, and that decided the contest. David Kapinga and Mambi Diawara went a combined 8/9 from outside for 16 points apiece to pace the 12-3 Dinos.  Johneil Johnson was the game high scorer for the Cougars (6-9) with 22 points.  Box Score  

UBC-O rookie, Matt Lafontaine, has a big game at Lethbridge.  photo – Heat Athletics

at Lethbridge  75  UBC- Okanagan 71 – No Dejon Burdeaux for Lethbridge , and no Mitch Goodwin or Ryan Morck for the Okanagan Heat.  You have to give the Heat (2-13) great credit for a gutsy effort, where they were thwarted by some unfriendly officiating, as much as by their ‘Horns opponents. UBC-O shoot all of 5/7 from the line to 26-31 for the home side. Incroyable! Heat rookie, Matt Lafontaine scores a game-high 22 pts, with 6/8 made from 3 pt range. Austin Penrose works hard for 10 pts and 11 rebounds, but the visitors come up just short.  The Pronghorns (11-6) survive without their king-pin, Burdeaux, as 4 players hit double figures, topped by the 15 pts/ 8 rebs/ 4 assts  from Elliott Sentance. Box Score  

at Fraser Valley  80 Thompson Rivers 72 –  The Cascades (7-8) shoot it better (46% to 41% FG) , and they take better care of the ball (15 TOs to 20 for TRU).  Erasing a 5 point half-time deficit in the 3rd quarter, UFV finish strong (22-14) in the final 10 to garner the win.  6 Cascades players are in double figures, led by 17 by Andrew Morris off the bench, and 13 each from  Manny Dulay, Mark Johnson, and Anthony Gilchrist.  TRU (7-8) have Joe Davis as their high scorer with 25 pts/ 12 rebounds, with Volodymyr Iegorov tallying  21 points.  Box Score

at #2 UBC  127  Brandon  62 –  The T’Birds go with the ‘scorched earth’ strategy, and they have 4 players off the bench scoring in double digits.  The whole UBC team play 11 or more minutes, as they shoot 54% FG, and rack up an incredible 34/43 from the free throw line.  Jordan Jensen-Whyte is the high man for the Birds (14-1) with 23 pts. , while Earl Thompson Jr. leads the Bobcats (7-10) with 14. Box Score 

at Victoria  72  Trinity Western 63 –  Victoria (6-9) put in a very workman-like effort in winning in almost every category.  Grant Sitton is the top gun for the Vikes yet again, with his 26 points/ 8 rebs, while Scott Kellum manages 17 points off the bench. Patrick Vandervelden scores 19 points for the Spartans (2-13). Box Score  

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Thursday scores from Quebec – Concordia 75  Bishops 55,  UQAM 70 at Laval 66

Other U-Sports games on Friday –

AUS – Acadia 84 at UPEI 68, Saint Marys 93at UNB 80, Dalhousie 85  at Cape Breton 67

Ontario – #1 Carleton 104 at Windsor 54, #3 Ottawa 91 at Western Ont. 55, at #6 Brock 74  #4 Ryerson  65, At Guelph 76  Algoma 58,  Nipissing 93  at Queens 84,  Laurentian  79 at York 58

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  • Overtime –        
  • UFV Cascades Coach Adam Friesen, on his 5th year, guard Manny Dulay, one of the best-ever , 3 point shooters in Canadian University Basketball  “ …  he’s transitioned himself into our starting point guard the last couple of years. He’s a play-maker for us, a shot-maker, and obviously he can still shoot the outside shot. He’s become a leader, too, and especially here in his senior year.”   From a  story in The Now (Newspaper, Surrey, BC)  by Tom Zillich  
  •  Regina Coach Steve Burrows,  lauding his 4th year guard, Brandon Tull, on Tull’s reaching 1000+ points as a Cougar.  “It’s a tribute to him and it didn’t have anything to do with me,’’ Burrows said with a chuckle. “He loves the game and he has a passion for it. He works at it every day. He was in here in the morning and what he’s done is a tribute to how hard he works at it.’’  From a story in the Regina Leader-Post by Murray McCormick.
  • UVic Head Coach Craig Beaucamp, with a coach’s take on Trinity Western,   their 2-12 opponent, … “Trinity scores a lot of points. We need to be better defensively than we were last week against Lethbridge.”  (Editor’s note – TWU also gives up an average of 94 ppg ….)    As far as the Vikes prospects for a playoff spot, the Coach says … “You might look at our record and think we would be well out of it, but actually, we are not,” said  Beaucamp. “We control our own destiny. We have to stay healthy [some Vikes are dinged up physically], remain resilient, stay positive, don’t panic, and keep things simple.”  From the Times-Colonist story by Cleve Dheensaw. 

T-Birds and Dinos Pulling Away

 

Top two teams pulling away from the field with wins in Calgary

Dinos Thomas Cooper with a 3 -way gem in a winning effort over Saskatchewan                                   photo – David Moll – UC Athletics

at  Calgary Dinos 82   Saskatchewan Huskies  69  –  In a fairly scrappy game, the teams went to the line a total of 56 times, and there were ice packs and bandages on the bench and after the tussle.  The Dinos defense limited Saskatchewan to just 37% from the floor vs 47 % for UC.  Thomas Cooper played an inspired game for Calgary, with his 23 points/ 14 rebounds/ 7 assists, as he lays it all out at crunch time.  Shane Osayande was top man for the Huskies with 23 pts/  7 rebs, while Matt Forbes fought hard for his 18 pts/ 7 boards.  Calgary climbs to 11-2, while the Dogs drop to 8-5.   Box Score     The  2nd game is 7 pm Saturday

 UBC Thunderbirds  81  at  Mt. Royal Cougars 60  –  Up by 9 at the break, the T-Birds padded their lead by another 13 with a dominating 3rd quarter. UBC (12-1) shoots 49% to only 31% for the over-matched Cougars. Conor Morgan leads the ‘Birds with 24 points/ 7 rebs, and the rest of the team in in single digits. Brett Layton shines for the Cougars (7-6) with a double of 19 pts/ 10 boards, and Derek Wolf adds 13 points.  Box Score   It’s an early 6 pm tip on  for the Saturday contest.

logo UFVFraser Valley  73   Alberta Golden Bears 71 –  In the night’s only big upset, it’s he UFV version of the ‘Splash Bros.” , Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon with 9 treys between them, including Dhillon’s ‘dagger’ 3 with 45 seconds left. Dulay scores 20, and Dhillon cashes 14 as the Cascades gut out a road win to advance to 6-7.  The Bears (11-4) shoot just 35% from the floor, one of their coldest games of the year, and they are in it late through their 16/22 from the foul line vs 5/6 for the visitors. Mamadou Gueye is the U of A leader with 24 points/ 7 rebounds, while Brody Clarke hits 18 pts/ 9 rebounds/ 4 assists.  Box Score     It’s 7 pm Sat. for game 2

Lethbridge Pronghorns  76  at   Victoria Vikes 58 –  Two hot quarters do the trick for

Elliott Sentance enjoys 6th man success in ‘Horns win at UVic         photo – UL Athletics

the visiting Pronghorns, as they go a combined 47-27 in the 1st and 3rd.  The Vikes are as cold as they can be at 24% from the floor, while Lethbridge manages 43% , including 9/18 from 3 point range. Elliott Sentance plays the 6th man role to  perfection for the ‘Horns, with 22 points in 18 minutes off the bench, going 4/5 from deep.  Zac Overwater scores 15 in a similar role as a sub for the visitors as Coach Mike Hansen rolls his whole line-up at UVic.   Grant Sitton’s 18 points and 12  rebounds pace the Vikes, and Scott Kellum scores 15, including 4/5 from 3 point territory.  Box Score    7 pm Saturday

at Brandon Bobcats 95 Regina Cougars 91  –  This was a very well played game by both teams, and a couple of extra finishes off turnovers salted it away for the ‘Cats. Brandon (6-9)  scores 55 in a wild 2nd half, including the winning 5 points straight in the final minute.  Regina (6-7)  has several chances to close the gap, but gets nothing to drop at the end.  30 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists for a career effort by the Bobcats Tyvon Cooper, with Chris Stanhope pouring in 26 pts on 10/13 and 5/6 from outside.  Both teams are over 40% from 3 point range. Regina has 5 starters in double digits , led by the 19 with 9 boards by Alex Igual, and a tidy 10 points/ 8 boards from Samuel Hillis.   Box Score    7 pm Saturday for game 2.

Manitoba Bisons 108  at Trinity Western Spartans  76 –   It was 57 – 29 Manitoba at the half, and the teams basically traded hoops for the 2nd half.  The Bisons (7-6) destroy the Trinity defense, shooting 59% from the floor, led by 20 points from Justus Alleyn.  Rookie forward James Wagner scores 18 for the Herd off the bench, and Joey Nitychoruk adds 16.  TWU’s Pogos Trunyan tallied a game high 24 points on 6/8 from beyond the arc.    Box Score             Game 2 is 7 pm Saturday

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In the East – 

AUS – Thurs. –  #9 Dalhousie 101 at Acadia  84 –  The Tigers are the AUS leaders, and they go to Wolfeville and play one of their better offensive games.  Dal plays at home vs  UNB on Saturday.            Friday –  Saint Marys 101 Cape Breton 70

Quebec –  On Thursday –   at Concordia 66   #7 McGill  56 –  Stingers avenge big 96-56 drubbing from the Redmen at McGill back in late November.  ‘The Beehive’ proves to be a friendlier venue as this Quebec League seems less predictable /  more competitive as we get deeper into the schedule.           Fri –  UQAM 70 Bishops 61

OUA – #1  Carleton 90  Guelph  54 , #2 Ottawa  89  Lakehead  60,  #8 Brock 77 Queens  63,  Windsor 89  Algoma 47, Nipissing 69  Laurentian 66, York 71  McMaster 68,

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Overtime – 

  • Canada West Women’s scores … Regina 77 Brandon 40, Mt. Royal 80  UBC 75 !!!  ,  Saskatchewan 62  Calgary 53 , Alberta 63  UFV  51, Trinity W 70 Manitoba 65,  Victoria  84  Lethbridge 59

Top 2 Teams Meet in Vancouver

 

 

Canada West  leaders square – off  in Vancouver this weekend

West-Coast showdown for old rivals UBC – Alberta

The UBC Thunderbirds (9-1) have ‘lured’ the 11-1 Alberta Golden Bears into War Memorial Gym for a top – 2  showdown this weekend.  Both teams have visions of claiming the top spot, and a sweep by either would be tremendous.

These teams both score very well, and shoot it around 46% from the field. The Bears are the bigger threats from 3 pt. range, with Austin Waddoups, Geoff Pippus, and Ivan Ikomey all in the top 5 long range snipers in CW.  U of A also has an exceptional rebounding team, and the T’Birds will see the board battle as a focus for this match-up.  The Bears own a 5 – 3 edge over the ‘Birds in games played over the past 3 seasons.

Who to look for?        UBCConor Morgan – CW top scorer @ 25.3 ppg ,  Jordan Jensen-Whyte, 5th year guard, 13.3 ppg, who is a big game performer, and 5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik (10.6 ppg), who’s shooting 49% FG.

Alberta –    Austin Waddoups is a feisty, confident lead guard who’s over 50% from anywhere on the floor!  Brody Clarke is a skilled big man, scoring 15 ppg/ 7.5 rebs. and Mamadou Gueye averages 16 ppg/ 7 boards.

The 6th man comparison is intriguing, with former T-Bird, Geoff Pippus, a big scoring threat for the Bears, and young Taylor Browne giving UBC a spark in his 19 mins/game.   We have to call it a toss-up, and expect a split in 2 very tight games.  A sweep either way is a likely ‘game-changer’ for a League finish.

 

‘Horns and Huskies in a swing series at Lethbridge

‘Bridge Town sees renewal of heated Prairie feud

Here are 2 teams looking to contend, and the 8-4 Pronghorns want to use home floor to distance themselves from Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, and Regina. But either in Saskatoon or S. Alberta, over the last 4 seasons Saskatchewan and Lethbridge have split their annual 2 game set evenly.

The ‘Horns ‘king-pin’ is 4th year import guard, Dejon Burdeaux (Oakland, CA), a 2-way leader who shoots 53% from the floor, scores 15 ppg, shares 4.5 assists, grabs 5.5 rebounds, and steals it 3.7 times a game.  UL’s other weapons include import guard, Elliott Sentance, a premier scorer (19.6 ppg, 3rd in CW), who claims 7.3 rebs/game, and Zac Overwater, a 6-8 wing (13.2 ppg) from Lethbridge.

The Sled Dogs (6-4) respond with a powerful inside game, led by the dynamic Shane Osayande, a 6-6, 4th year forward (Toronto), who averages a double of  19 points and 11 rebounds.  A healthy Matt Forbes (12 ppg/8 rebs), a  5th year bruiser, helps the Huskies with their team  +10 rebound margin, and is upping his scoring totals. Speedy guards, Alex Unruh Saskatoon), and Chan De Ciman (Regina) get perimeter help from Jaylan Morgan, a 6-5 swingman, and 6-3 import addition Lawrence Moore.

Why would we expect anything but a split here?  Two good teams, rounding into form will make for a dynamite series in the ‘Bridge Town’.

 

More Canada West action –

Two Winnipeg teams on the road this week –

Denzel Lynch Blair leads the Wesmen against TRU

> The 8-4 Winnipeg Wesmen, led by guards Denzel Lynch-BlairWilliam Sesay, and Sean Tarver head to Kamloops to play the TRU Wolf Pack (6-6).  The ‘Pack have an 8-2 record over the Wesmen in games since 2008.  Thompson Rivers big men Volodymyr Iegorov and Luke Morris will challenge the Ws, and we feel a split may be in the cards.

>  Closer to home base, the Manitoba Bisons (4-6) start their 2nd half at the Regina Cougars (6-4), with the Herd anxious to fulfill the promise of a veteran team coming off a big Wesmen Classic win.  Alex Igual and the Cougars will have to be at their best against Keith Omoerah and the Bisons.

>  Mt. Royal Cougars (5-5) fly to Prince George, BC to face the UNBC Timberwolves (4-8), and MRU are looking to bounce back from a home loss to Brandon.  This series will feature ‘Wolves shooters Rhys Elliott and Marcus MacKay against Cougars forwards Brett Layton and Josh Ross. Neither team will be satisfied with anything but a sweep.

Bobcats shooting guard, Tyvon Cooper

> Victoria Vikes  (3-7) at UBC-O Heat (2-10) –  UVic’s backs are against the wall.  Any play-off hopes for Grant Sitton and the Vikes cannot allow under-dog heroics from the Heat guard pair of Mitch Goodwin and Aldrich Berrios.

>  Another Prairie match-up has the 4-8 Brandon Bobcats at home against the veteran 3-9 MacEwan Griffins.  Brandon is showing new life, with 2nd year guard, ‘Pookie’ Saunders stepping up to complement high scorer Tyvon Cooper and stellar forward, Earl Thompson Jr.  The Griffs’ Thadius Galvez, Denzel James, and 5th year forward, Keith Gerdes will keep it interesting.

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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 –

  • UFV’s Adam Friesen, on his team’s focus going into their road series at #5 U. Calgary.  “We know we’re facing a really good team, but we hope to come in excited and loose,” Friesen said. “This is going to be a great opportunity to test ourselves and get better. We want to see if we can compete for all 40 minutes harder than we ever have this season, because if we don’t, it’s going to be a long night.” (From Dan Kinvig – UFV Athletics)
  • Conor Morgan video –  5th year star looks to lift T-Birds … from high school prodigy to pro prospect for UBC’s outstanding 6-9 forward.

 

 

 

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!