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 – 

 

Calgary vs Saint Marys in Consolation Final

 

 

 

Cooper leads hot Dinos shooting in win over Manitoba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Final 8 in Halifax …   Schedule for Saturday –

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

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

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

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Overtime –

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

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

          Saskatchewan 65 Cape Breton 51,      Victoria  78  Regina  64

  •  The Women’s schedule on Saturday – 

2 pm Pacific – Laval  vs Queens in semi #1

4 pm        –  McGill vs Carleton in semi #2

7 pm  –  Saskatchewan   vs Regina

 

Ravens Rebounders, McGill Defense Win Early games

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Overtime –

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Cooper,  Calgary,  5th,  Chattanooga, TN

 2nd Team –

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

Dele Ogundokun, McGill , 4th , Hamilton, ON

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

Caleb Agada,  Ottawa ,  5th,  Burlington, ON

Shane Osayande,  Saskatchewan ,  4th ,  Toronto, ON

 All-Rookie Team         

Kadre Gray                Laurentian       Toronto, ON

Eddie Ekiyor              Carleton           Ottawa, ON

Scott Kellum              Victoria            Issaquah, WA

Jamaal Potopsingh    UNB               Brampton, ON

Kendrick Jolin            McGill              Pte. Claire, PQ

Ryerson and Carleton Aiming for Rematch

 

Ryerson and Carleton favoured to meet in Championship Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, you can   Watch on U-Sports TV 1

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, is Canada’s winningest coach

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

 

 

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”.

 

 

 

Bisons, Dinos, Huskies – All on to Final 4

The Herd are full value for a sweep of #2 UBC

Ilarion Bonhomme’s big night propels the Bisons past the ‘Birds.   photo – Rich Lam, UBC

Manitoba  98   #2  UBC  96   OT –  Kudos to Coach Kirby Schepp and his Bisons , as they go into War Memorial and out-play the #2 ranked team in the country on consecutive nights.  The Herd have the Thunderbirds barely hanging on again Friday, and UBC are fortunate to tie it up and send it to extra time. A. J. Basi’s 3 point shot off an offensive  rebound gave UM the lead with 6 seconds left, and the ‘Birds try at the buzzer bounced off the iron.

5th year transfer point man, Ilarion Bonhomme had a defining effort for the Bisons tonight, with his 28 points/ 10 rebounds/ 9 assists.  Justus Alleyn scores 18, with 4 treys before he fouled out, while Keith Omoerah had a double of 14 pts/ 11 boards.  UBC were led by team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte’s 33 point / 10 rebound effort in his final outing for the T’Birds. Patrick Simon scored 21 coming off the bench, and added 5 rebounds.

This was a shocking result to many, but a tribute to the depth of talent on Manitoba, and in all of Canada West, where we saw several visiting squads equit themselves very impressively.   Box Score  

#6  Calgary   76  Thompson Rivers 68 –  For the 2nd night running, the Wolf Pack hold the Dinos feet to the fire, with timely shooting and a stifling zone defense.  It’s tied at the half, then TRU get a lead midway through the 3rd quarter, which they don’t relinquish until the 3 minute mark of the 4th frame.

Dinos full court pressure finally wore down the ‘Pack. 6 points by Calgary’s 4th year post man, Mitch Ligertwood, in the last 1:40 were the crucial ones in this series winner.  The UC defense limited Thompson Rivers to just 12 points in the last 10 minutes.  Calgary won the rebounding 47-34, and hit 12/18 free throws to just 2 of 5 for the visitors.   UC’s Thomas Cooper had another sparkling effort, with 26 points and 9 rebounds, and Jhony Verrone was solid with his 13 points/ 11 rebounds, and superb defensive effort. Mambi Diawara was sharp, especially late in the game, with defensive pressure, and he tallies 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 5 steals.

Volodymyr Iegorov plays his final game for the Wolf Pack, hitting 20 points and claiming 11 rebounds. Derek Rhodes scored 11 and Mike Rouault 10 for TRU, who gave a very brave effort on both nights.    Box Score  

#9  Saskatchewan  88  Winnipeg 77  –  The Huskies storm out of the gates early, and grab a huge 31-8 lead after 10 minutes. But the Wesmen win the middle frames 46-29, to get to within 6.  Saskatchewan’s offense clicks for 28 points in the 4th, and they sweep the series.

Shane Osayande is strong again with a 21 point/ 19 rebound  crusher, while Alex Unruh has a nice game for U of S, with 20 points on 8/10 FG shooting. Trevor Severinski cashes 4/8 from outside for the Dogs for 16 points and he doubles with 10 boards. Narcisse Ambanza scores 18 pts / 5 asst for the Ws, and Denzel Lynch-Blair returns for 14 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 steals.  Box Score

31 pts from their captain, paces the U of L past Alberta in game 2

 Lethbridge 112    #8  Alberta   111  OT –  As much as the ‘Horns were limited by U of Adefense on Thursday, the U of L shooters responded with confidence on this night. The visitors shoot 49% from the floor, hit 15 treys, and convert 25/29 free throws. Alberta betters the Pronghorns with 51% shooting, the same 15 treys, but get fewer free throws (20/22) in a most efficient offensive display by both clubs .

Before fouling out with 10 seconds left in regulation, Dejon Burdeaux scored a team-high 31 points/ 8 rebs/ 5 assists for Lethbridge, who force a game 3, to be played at 7 pm Saturday night.  Zac Overwater is big for the ‘Horns with 26 points/ 12 rebounds, and Elliott Sentance contribute’s 16 pts to the winning cause.   Box Score  

 

 

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In the Atlantic –  Friday Night –   UNB 85 at St. FX 74, at #10 Dalhousie  90 UPEI 75, Saint Mary’s 94  at  Cape Breton 78, at Acadia 97 Memorial  82

 

Sat. OUA Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto   (On OUA TV)

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 57  Trinity W 41 (Win series 2-0) ,  at #6  Victoria 74 Winnipeg  69  (series tied 1-1),   Fraser V. 74  at # 8 Saskatchewan  62  (series tied 1-1),  at Alberta 60   UBC 52   (wins series 2-0) … 3rd games on Saturday for Vikes – Wesmen, and Cascades – Huskies.
  • TRU’s Luke Morris

    TRU forward, Luke Morris, is providing scoring and leadership to his young Wolf Pack team.  Coach Scott Clark comments in this article from Morris’ hometown Mission City Record.  “He’s a bigger guy [6-5] and can score in a variety of ways,” said Clark. “He can step out and hit a three, score in the post, score in the cut and offensive rebound.”   “There has been increased expectations from our coaching staff and he’s shown more leadership and a lot of growth this season,” Clark said.

 

  •   We learn that Denzel Lynch-Blair of Winnipeg misses last night’s game at Saskatchewan due to accumulating 5 technical fouls over the course of the season.  League Directors review reports on technical fouls, and may suspend players, depending on the details of the offense (s).

 

Road Teams Look Good In Opening Games

 

 

Bisons shock UBC,  ‘Pack play Dinos tough, and Winnipeg scares the Huskies

3 of the 4 Canada West  1/4 Finals see the visiting underdogs play inspired games on the opening night.  The Manitoba Bisons go and hand the #2 UBC Thunderbirds their only home loss so far this season.  The ‘road warrior’ TRU Wolves gave as much as they could before bowing by a slim margin to UC. #9  Saskatchewan needed some last minute heroics to subdue a fired up Winnipeg team by the single point.

  Manitoba 79   #2 UBC  75 –   The Bisons plant the seed of doubt, with some good clutch shooting and very strong team rebounding (42-38 over UBC) .  Faced with a looming comeback bid from the home side, and seeing their 10 point lead disappear with 3 minutes left, the Herd circle and hold their ground.  The last of 4 treys from A. J. Basi and 5 free throws from Ilarion Bonhomme seal the deal.

UBC may have lost this for a number of reasons, but their free throw average of 52% (13/25)  wasn’t nearly up to the 22/30 = 73% for Manitoba. Basi leads the Brown with 22 points, while Keith Omoerah adds a nifty double of 17 pts/ 15 boards.  Bonhomme controls the attack at key times , as he counts 12 points/ 6 rebs/ 3 assists.

The T-Birds appear poised in the 4th, but just did not have their rhythm in the last 2 minutes, with shot opportunities falling off the rim. Jordan Jensen-Whyte 22 points led UBC, with Will Ondrik adding 16 / 5 rebs. Conor Morgan was not his usual self, tallying just 12 points on 5/16 from the floor.   Box Score     Game 2 on Friday is at 7 pm Pacific.

 

David Kapinga is the Calgary Dinos’ defensive ace   photo – David Moll

#6  Calgary  75  Thompson Rivers 71 –  A tale of 2 halves, as the Wolf Pack recover from a 19 point 1st half deficit, and win the 3rd quarter 24 – 9, finishing the 2nd half with 47.  Calgary shoot 44% to start the game, but go ice cold in the 2nd half, finishing at 35%. TRU are 34% after 20 minutes, but hit 53% in the last 20 minutes.

Volodymyr Iegorov has a monster game for the Orange, scoring 27 and grabbing 15 rebounds, and dealing out 6 assists.  Derek Rhodes with 14 pts and Trent Monkman on 10 help the Thompson Rivers cause.  The Dinos secured the win with a stronger 4th quarter, with key hoops from guards Jhony Verrone and David Kapinga down the stretch.

Thomas Cooper with 21 points/ 10 rebounds/7 assists led the UC attack, backed by Kapinga’s 19 pts/ 6 rebounds/ 6 steals.  The Dinos get all they could have expected from a Thompson Rivers squad whose busy play-off travel schedule  we have chronicled.  The Wolves fought extremely hard to get back in, and came close to tying it up in the last minutes. Box Score    Game time for the 2nd in the best of 3 is 7 pm Friday.

 

#9  Saskatchewan 85  Winnipeg 84 –  The Huskies pull out the win, as they come off the ropes in the final 2 minutes, courtesy of a clutch trey from Trevor Severinski to tie it at 81, then a dunk and a highlight reel shot block from Shane Osayande. The teams are back and forth in this one, with multiple lead changes in the final 20 minutes. U of S shooters hit 51%, as Osayande has another huge night as their leader;  the 6-6 post man scores 26 points / 15 rebounds/ and 5 big blocks. Lawrence Moore with 15 pts/ 7 rebs, and Trevor Severinski hitting 13 pts on 4 of 8 from 3 point range are also key to this win.

The Ws looked like winners  at times in the final 10 minutes, but could not quite get the horses in the corral. Their impressive rookie, Narcisse Ambanza, leads the Wesmen with 24 pts, aided by Jamar Farley’s 16 on 4/6 from outside. Sean Tarver plays his 6th man role nicely, scoring 18 points/ 4 rebounds.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their high scoring guard is absent for Winnipeg in this game, and not sure why?

 Box Score    Game 2 is at 8:30 again on Friday.

 

#8 Alberta 80  Lethbridge 59 –  Not close in this one, as the Bears’ defense make the

Mamadou Gueye leads the Bears over UL  photo – Bears Athletics

Pronghorns attack largely ineffective.  Lethbridge are a woeful 27% FG on the night, and their floor leader, Dejon Burdeaux leaves the game mid-way in the final frame with just 7 points.

Alberta are led by wing man, Mamadou Gueye, with a solid double-double of 20 points/ 10 rebounds. Geoff Pippus hits 4/6 from outside for 14 points, and Dwan Williams adds 12 pts/ 5 rebs.   Box Score     Game 2 is Friday at 8 pm Mountain.

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In the East –  Wednesday

Ontario Play-offs – Round 1 –  Nipissing 77 Queens 74 ,  Laurentian 88  Laurier 72 ,  Toronto 82  Lakehead 61,  McMaster 71  Windsor  63

Saturday’s Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto

 Quebec –  Concordia 79  Bishops 76, and on Thursday, it was McGill 62  Laval 45

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 82 Trinity W 59,  at #6 Winnipeg 82  Victoria 70, at # 8 Saskatchewan 78 Fraser V. 55 ,  at Alberta 62  UBC 58  … all the home sides come out on top.
  • “We’re not celebrating yet”, said Manitoba Bisons Coach Kirby Schepp  after his team’s big game 1 win at UBC.  “This was a physical game, and our guys hung in there when it counted.”
  • It was a last second desperation heave by Winnipeg’s Jamar Farley that closed the score to just 1 point at the buzzer, but it was a sobering sight to see what might have been in this very tight game.

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.

 

 

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.