Golden Bears Want More

 

Bears With Bright Outlook

Alberta were primed for last season’s play-off series, and came away with the Canada West crown.  With 10 returnees, including 5th year stalwarts, Mamadou Gueye, Lyndon Annetts, and Geoff Pippus, the Bears bring playing experience and great depth.  Without doubt, this is a top 3 team in Canada West for the upcoming year.

Brody Clarke                         Photo – Bears Athletics

U of A has Canada West All-stars, Brody Clarke, and Austin Waddoups, as well as Rookie of the Year, Andre Kelly.  Oh, and, very likely their best clutch performer in the 6-7 Gueye, a genuine ‘Prime Time Performer’!   Last season Mamadou led Bears scorers at 15.9 ppg / 6 rebs, with Clarke at 14.4 ppg/ 7.1 rebs, and   Waddoups scoring 13.7 ppg/ 3.7 assists.

Alberta utilizes the 3 point shot most effectively with Waddoups hitting  46.8%, Kelly 44.7%, along with Pippus , Ivan Ikomey  and Gueye all over 40% from downtown during the last campaign. Coach Barnaby Craddock, who has the distinction of taking 3 different teams to the National Championship Tournament ( Brandon, Fraser Valley, Alberta), has the talent to get back to Halifax this coming March.

He has added 2 more players in 6-4 wing, Nolan Woodward (Montreal), a powerful offensive threat, and, from France, Hugo Cluysen, a 6-7, 18 year old  forward with club and international experience. Coach Craddock says, “We do have depth, and we think we’ve added some good contributors, as well as some young guys.”

Bears last season 14-6  … Canada West champs … Prognosis – Could well go 16-17 wins … schedule has Alberta at home for key series’.

 

Gueye – “We want to be the best!”

The Alberta Golden Bears, the 2017 Canada West Champions, are blessed with a strong array of veteran returnees, but none so indispensible as their lynchpin wing-man, 5th year star, Mamadou Gueye.  In successive playoff years, Gueye has produced his best basketball when all the chips are on the table.

Mamadou Gueye – Photo Bears Athletics

Last season, after what he himself suggests was a ‘less than spectacular’ regular campaign, Gueye propelled the Bears to their 12th Canada West title with a stellar 30 pts/ 8 rebs in a semi-final win over Saskatchewan, then  20 pts/ 8 boards in the final vs Manitoba. “ Says Gueye, “I was trying to see where to best fit in with our team system as the season progressed.”  “When it came to the play-offs, I knew it was ‘go-time’, and I was confident and ready to play hard”.

Coming to U of A in 2013 from Cegep Ste. Foy in Quebec, Gueye was Canada West Rookie of the Year, and 5 years later he is poised to get his Bachelor of Arts degree this coming Spring.  When asked why he would come West to play his university ‘ball, Gueye explained, “I was impressed with the team, with Jordan Baker and that group who were at Nationals.  And I wanted to see the rest of Canada.  Alberta has the College St. Jean, which has allowed me to use my French in my studies.”

Gueye cites the ‘family feeling’ surrounding the Golden Bears team. “We get great alumni support, and the atmosphere from the fans in our new gym is something we really love.”  Mamadou, a dynamic, slashing scorer, has fed on this positive climate, especially in the play-offs, where he has, unfailingly produced 4-5 more points per game, and taken more of the leadership role in the team’s fortunes.

In this final season, Gueye, who is likely headed for a pro career (Europe?), has some lofty goals; after 2 Canada West titles with U of A (2014 and 2017), he says, “I plan to play with a chip on my shoulder.  We want to be the best, and we want to play our hardest when it matters the most.”   With an outstanding group of returnees, and with Mamadou Gueye’s play-off preparation, we expect to see the Bears in the middle of a title run again in March 2018.

 

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”.

 

 

 

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 

 

 

 

3 Teams Moving Up the Standings

 

 

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

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

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

High Impact Performers last week –

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

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

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

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

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

photo- aldrich berrios

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

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

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

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Atlantic  Standings –

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

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

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Overtime –

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

Bears and Dinos Renew ‘Hostilities’ 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Canada West Schedule – Jan. 5-7

To refresh your memory –

 

 

 

 

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

Thursday, Jan 5  –

#3  Calgary Dinos at   #8 Alberta Golden Bears

Friday, Jan 6 –  

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

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

MacEwan at Fraser Valley

Saturday, Jan 7 – 

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

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

 

Overtime – 

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

5 Top Teams, 5 Top Players

 

 

Top 5 Teams last weekend – 

Jordan Jensen-Whyte and his Thunderbirds win 2 big games vs Manitoba.

Jordan Jensen-Whyte and his Thunderbirds win 2 big games vs Manitoba.   photo- UBC Athletics

Our 5 top teams from week 4, Alberta, UBC,  Saskatchewan , Mt. Royal , and UNBC all get 2 wins, with the Timberwolves getting their first 2 of the year at home vs Trinity Western.  Both Alberta vs TRU (Friday) and UBC vs Manitoba (Saturday) get some late game challenges in one game, but came out on top. Saskatchewan get Jaylan Morgan back, and they pummel the Bobcats twice.  Mt. Royal flashed some offensive punch in shooting over 50% from the floor in both wins at UBC-O.

Top 5 Players of the Week –

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  • John Ross, Mt. Royal, a 6-4, 4th year from Burlington, Iowa has given the Cougars a huge offensive boost this season. In MRU’s 2 wins in Kelowna last weekend, Ross totalled  53 points and 19 rebounds.
  • Conor Morgan, UBC,  6-9, 4th year wing man, from Victoria,  is off to a hot start, as is his Thunderbirds team.  He paces the ‘Birds to a Friday win with a 35 point/ 11 rebound double-double.  On Saturday, he scores 22 and grabs 7 boards as UBC prevails in a feisty duel with the Bisons.
  • Ivan Ikomey, Alberta, let’s his deadly 3 point shot speak for the many ‘members of the supporting cast’ on Friday .  In 21 minutes off the bench, the 6-1, 2nd year guard from Calgary (Bishop McMally)  buries 7/8 attempts from way outside (plus 5 rebs) for 25 points.
  • Elliott Sentance, Lethbridge, has been a steady scoring wing for the Pronghorns, and is 3rd in CW with a 20.2 ppg average.  In the UL split at Winnipeg, this 6-4, 3rd year wing from Leicester, England, tallied 46 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Rhys Elliot, UNBC, is the ‘lead Wolf’ for the T’Wolves as he plays big minutes, and consistently drives their offense.  In 2 much-needed wins at home vs TWU, Elliot contributed 40 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Early Season Indicators in Canada West –

We take a  close look at the Canada West standings (and some interesting single game results) after just 3 weeks of an 11 week schedule  .  

League Standings through November 19 –

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-9-49-13-am

  • Rising to the top – Alberta has 6 wins, a good running start, but their tougher games are ahead of them. UBC have a 4-0 start, with a ‘wake-up call’ in Saturday’s messy win over Manitoba. Calgary lose their home opener, then look like the pre-season favourites, with 3 strong wins to follow.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-3-29-38-pm-copy

  • Mt. Royal have a couple of potential all-stars in Josh Ross and Brett Layton, and good guard play.  At their offensive best  the Cougars are a playoff team. Winnipeg are deeper,  more confident team.  If they can win the City of Winnipeg title, who knows? Lethbridge are in our ‘Feast or Famine ‘ group … the ‘Horns lose  93-72, then beat the same team 83-60.    Talented, but inconsistent. Saskatchewan, after a bye, go to Regina, which is always an intense match-up. The Huskies have one of the more rugged 2nd half schedules.
  • Fraser Valley can win with defense, and their attack will be more effective as they bring all the elements together. Regina are a question mark. Lose by 20, win by 20.    If they go 3-1 or better vs TWU and Saskatchewan, they will have cause for some 2nd half confidence.  MacEwan and Manitoba  are both veteran-laden, and can and have beaten strong teams. Contenders with questions to answer.   Victoria just don’t look like the same type of gritty Vikes unit we had become used to seeing. Some tinkering required.
  • Thompson Rivers, who are 1-5, played U of A very close last Friday, beat Manitoba, as they have faced a brutal early schedule.  UNBC’s schedule now gets a whole lot tougher, and they may not have the size and depth .  UBC-O  had a rough weekend, and they have a rugged schedule ahead of them.  Brandon and Trinity Western are better, but neither threatens to get to the .500 mark in this competitive League.

 


 CIS  on Sunday –

 Atlantic –   Just the one game over in St. John’s , Newfoundland  … the woes continue for Cape Breton, who are now 0-6, after losing a 2nd straight to the Seahawks.              Memorial 79  Cape Breton 71


 

Overtime –

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  • Errata … We correct the info on MRU’s Josh Ross, voted the  player of the year in the Canadian Colleges  loop last season, and apologize to NAIT, who won the CCAA National title last March.  MRU are 3-1 this season … not 4-2, which we had reported.  Sheesh!
  • On the ‘Thanksgiving weekend’ (U.S.) next November, Vancouver will be the site for an 8 team NCAA tournament for men’s squads and one for women.  Headed up in Canada by local co-tournament directors ,  Howard Kelsey, and David Munro, the games will be played at the Vancouver Convention Centre at Canada Place on Coal Harbour.  More in this Vancouver Sun story.
  • In regards to the previous item … from our perspective, we would rather see 2bpi18nnb2c9yhlr-copy-2more efforts made to promote our Canadian product.  The CIS and Canada West get scant attention, and more marketing would be so critical.  Why would those who are trying to build and promote the Canadian University game want to get involved with or support this U.S.-focused event?

Bears Survive Wolf Pack Comeback

 

 

‘Pack Hangs Tough Without Head Coach

Ivan Ikomey lights it up from outside for Alberta, as he scores 25 pts vs TRU.

Ivan Ikomey lights it up from outside for Alberta, as he scores 25 pts vs TRU.

at Alberta  82  Thompson Rivers 79  –  A hard-fought game, as the Wolf Pack score 28 in the final frame, and come within 2 points at the 2 minute mark. Brody Clarke’s late pair of inside hoops are just enough to secure the win, as Voldymyr Iegorov’s 3 point  attempt  to tie misses in the last 5 seconds. Alberta gets a career game from Ivan Ikomey off the bench, as he cashes an amazing 7/8 from beyond  the arc.   A power outage causes some time-clock malfunction/ confusion, and TRU Coach Scott Clark is agitated enough to get tossed with 2 quick Ts near the start of the 2nd quarter.   Box Score   Bears –  Ivan Ikomey  25 pts/ 5 rebs, Mamadou Gueye  19 points/ 4 asst   Wolf Pack – Luke Morris  20 pts/ 7 rebs , Voldymyr Iegorov 14 pts/ 13 rebs/ 5 asst,    Joe Davis 18 pts/ 5 rebs

 at Winnipeg  73   Lethbridge  58 –   The Wesmen completely outplay the visiting ‘Horns, and carry a 15+ lead for most of the game.  7 Winnipeg treys to just 1 for Lethbridge made it very tough for the ‘Horns to stay in touch.  The home side lost their focus in the 2nd half, or the score may have been far worse.  4 Wesmen in double figures, as they shoot 45% from the floor, and force 22 Lethbridge turnovers. Box Score     Wesmen – Sean Tarver 14 pts/ 4 steals, Narcisse Ambanza 14 pts, Billy Yaworsky 13 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals  Pronghorns –  Elliott Sentance 21 pts/ 8 rebs/ 4 steals, Dejon Burdeaux 13 pts/ 6 assists

at Saskatchewan 95 Brandon 60 –    It was 49-22 at the break, and things didn’t improve for the Bobcats in the final 20. Saskatchewan was easily better, shooting 49% to 34% for BU, and the ‘Dogs won the rebounding 43-26.  No contest.  Box Score  Huskies – Shane Osayande 21 pts/9 rebs/4 blks, Jaylan Morgan 18 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 asst, Chan De Ciman 17 pts/ 6 boards/3 steals  Bobcats – Kobyn Jopp 12 pts/ 2 blks, Tyvon Cooper 10 pts/ 5 rebs

Victoria 89 at MacEwan 79  OT –  Victoria start and end impressively as they fight off a determined home team.  An 18 point OT period slays the Griffins, who caught and passed UVic with a 23-8 2nd quarter.  Turnovers and fouls were all the difference, with Mac committing 20 errors to just 6 for the Vikes, and Victoria scoring 31/38 from the line to Mac’s 17-21.   Box Score    Vikes –  Grant Sitton 21 points/ 4 asst, Wayne Tucker Jr 21 pts/ 3 steals . Griffins – Thadius Galvez 25 pts/ 9 rebs/ 3 asst, Denzel James 16 pts/ 6 rebs

UBC needs all 35 of Conor Morgan's points to turn back a hard-charging Herd.

UBC needs all 35 of Conor Morgan’s points to turn back a hard-charging Herd.

at UBC 96  Manitoba 89 –  UBC is ‘romping’ with a 46-30 lead at half-time, but, not so fast!  The Herd come back with 59 points in the 2nd half to throw a scare into the home squad.  Manitoba come to within 4 twice in the last quarter, but the ‘Birds steady themselves in the waning minutes.  Box Score  T’Birds – Conor Morgan 35 pts/ 11 rebs, Will Ondrik and Taylor Browne 14 pts each    Bisons – Ilarion Bonhomme 31 pts/ 7 rebs/ 5 asst, Keith Omoerah 18 pts/ 8 rebs

Mt. Royal 93 at UBC-O 74  –  The Cougars are in ‘go mode’ from start to finish, and a 47-31 half-time spread is all they need for the road win. The forward pair of Josh Ross and Brett Layton are just too much for the Heat, as they divide 50 pts evenly, and grab 22 rebounds as a pair. 51% shooting for MRU vs 39% for UBC-O tells much of the tale.    Box Score     Cougars –  Josh Ross 25 pts/ 9 rebs/ 3 asst, Brett Layton 25 pts/ 22 rebs       Heat – Mitch Goodwin  25 pts/ 4 rebs, Aldrich Berrios 15 pts/ 6 asst

 at UNBC 80  Trinity Western 71 –  The 3 point shot is a deadly weapon, and 13 treys by the T’Wolves to just 3 for Trinity put the ‘W’ in the UNBC column.  TWU took a run in the 3rd quarter to close it to a 2 point game, but the ‘Wolves are better down the stretch.   Box Score     Timberwolves –  Rhys Elliot 22 pts/ 4 rebs/ 4 asst, Elliot Rowe 18 pts/ 5 rebounds   Spartans  –  Patrick Vandervelden 20 pts/ 9 rebs, Tyus Allen 13 pts/ 7 rebs/ 5 asst/ 3 steals.

 


 More CIS scores on Friday –

Ontario –  #1 Carleton 93 at Algoma 65 , at Queens 80   Laurier 68, Western Ont. 53 at Lakehead 51, at #9 Ryerson 84 Nipissing 64, at Toronto 97 Laurentian 87, at York 83  Waterloo 78

Quebec – at Laval 74  Bishops 64

Atlantic – UNB 83 at #10  St. Marys 79 ,   at Acadia 107 UPEI 93


 

Overtime –

  • Kudos to Carleton Coach Dave Smart, who was awarded the honour, ‘Order of Ottawa’  on Thursday night in the capitol. The man who is the answer to the oft-asked question, “Why is Carleton just so much better than everyone  else ?’  Whose Ravens have won 12 CIS titles, and who may well go on winning for as long as Smart continues to coach.
  • Quite the line for Acadia’s  Nick De Palma in the Axemen win over PEI in Wolfeville tonight!  How is 11/17 including 10/15 from 3 point range, for 32 points.  Acadia pounded the   Panthers with the heavy artillery fire as the Lumbermen go 18/38 from beyond the arc.  ‘Raining 3s’.