Cougars Aiming Higher

 

Change for MRU  – hunting a play-off berth

As with many Canada West teams this season, the MRU Cougars have undergone significant changes.  Gone is ace big man, Brett Layton, with his 16 ppg/ 9.5 rebounds.  And graduated is solid combo guard, Derek Wolf.

Longtime Assistant Coach Tyler McVicar has also moved on. Coach Marc Dobell, now in his 14th year as the Cougs head man, moved MRU from a National Championship in the CCAA (2009) and eventually into Canada West in 2012.  The program has been competitive, but never quite made the playoff grid in 5 seasons. Dobell suggests that he is looking at changes in a positive light this Fall. “We’ve tried things one way for some time, and I think we can embrace new ideas this season.”

Floor leader, Josh Ross, in his 5th year. photo – MRU Athletics

The Cougars do have 7 players back who were in the rotation last year, including leading scorer, 6-5, 5th year import Josh Ross (16.6 ppg/ 9.9 rebs/3.6 assists/ 1.9 steals) , a ‘point forward’ kind of talent, with multiple skills and a competitive drive.  Glen Yang (Calgary) a 6-3 combo guard who should be a double- digit scorer this year, and 5th year wing, Ryan Cunningham (Calgary), looks ready to up his offensive out-put as well.  Noah Lewis (6-4, guard, Comox, BC) is another 5th year who will be expected to step into a bigger role. Wiande Kher (Calgary), a 6-6 wing man, has also been frustrated with injuries, but, “He is physically sound, and is moving very well”, according to Dobell.  6-7 3rd year, Nick Tancon (Comox, BC) will be  ready to share the load up front.

There is enthusiasm for several new faces, including 4th year wing man, LJ Hegwood, who moves from SAIT, and, at 6-6, has the skill and size to be an impact player for Mt. Royal.  Ben Kapinga, younger brother of David at UC,  is a 5-10 guard who comes in ‘under the radar’. “We are impressed with Ben’s play”, says Dobell. “He is quick, and he makes good decisions with the ball.”   3rd year guard, Quinn Taylor, can shoot the ball, and Coach Dobell is pleased to see his progress after he red-shirted with an injury last year. Kristian Zjak is a skilled and eager Australian import who is expected to get time at the forward spot.

Cougars Last year – 8-12  … fall short in too many close games. Prognosis – the roster turnover brings fresh hope, and they should be right in the play-off hunt.

“This is the Year”, vows Lewis

Noah Lewis is now in his 6th year attending Mt. Royal University, and, in his 5th season of eligibility, he and his teammates are determined to make this a play-off year for the Cougars. “We are not content”, says the Vancouver Island ‘import’. “The team dynamic this Fall is really good; we want to make it to the play-offs together.”

5th year guard Noah Lewis. All-in for team break-through.

Lewis wants to help this team as a senior leader, and suggests, “I’ll do what it takes to contribute to the team success,  My role may change within the system, but that’s good with me, and I think we are togther as a team in wanting to move forward.”  The consistent hard work, and the acceptance of change are something Noah embraces in this final year on this team. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time.  I love being a part of the team, and I know I’m going to miss it when it’s over”, he says.

Lewis will leave Mt. Royal with a Health / Phys Ed Degree, and says he wants to ‘work with athletes’.  That may be in strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, or even Sports Medicine. ” It’s been such an amazing time in Calgary, and it’s come to feel more like home. I’ve had so many different teammates and forged long-term relationships with some great people”, he declares. “I’ve loved competing at such a high level, and to associate with such a great bunch of teammates and coaches.”

Noah Lewis will likely not be among the top scorers in Canada West.  But, if the desire he shows for team success in this his final season is any indication, one can expect his Cougars to have a very positive run at a play-off spot come February. “I’m excited for this season with this group of guys”, he says.  Go Cougars !

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Overtime –

at McMaster 72  UBC-Okanagan 68 OT … break out game for transfer Aloysius Callaghan (Calgary) who hangs up 25 points in a good team effort on the road.

at Saskatchewan 105  Briercrest 49  … Lawrence Moore and Emmanuel Akintunde score 20 apiece for the Huskies

at Lakehead 90  Winnipeg 83  … Billy Yaworsky scores 18 pts / 12 rebs for the Wesmen, with Narcisse Ambanza chipping in 15 points.

Friday games – 

Guy Vetrie Memorial  at Victoria … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph

All games on Canada West TV

Winnipeg at Lakehead – on OUA TV

UBC-O at Toronto

UNBC at Mt. Royal

In the East – at McMaster   Laval, Queens at Bishops, Seneca Coll at Nipissing, Memorial at Brock, and in the Eric Garland Tourney in New Brunswick … Cape Breton – UQAM , and Saint Marys – New Brunswick

These 7 Teams Look to Move Up in Canada West

 

 

Brandon Tull will be a senior leader for the Regina Cougars.      photo – Arthur Ward

 Regina – The Cougars go 9-11 and are good at their best, but are troubled by injuries in the 2nd semester.  Coach Steve Burrows will enter his 5th year at the helm, and faces the task of ‘renewing’ a roster which loses 3 veteran mainstays.  Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, and Matt Augustine graduate, and more size will be crucial in the recruiting project.  The Cougs have dependable vets returning in Brandon Tull, Alex Igual, and Brian Ofori.  Burrows looks to the younger Hillis bothers, Ben and Samuel, and rookie star, Johneil Johnson to pick up some of the slack.  An infusion of talent, especially in the bigs, will be necessary if UR is to move up.

Thompson Rivers –   Coach Scott Clark loses a ‘franchise player’ in import forward, Volodymyr Iegorov, who graduates this Spring.  Clark could anticipate that challenge, but the veteran bench boss also has his rookie stand-out, Trent Monkman,  transferring to Victoria. The Wolf Pack, 8-12,  have been a play-off team in recent years, and Clark has worked successfully to develop his young talent. This coming season will test his resolve once more.  The Orange returnees include import guard, Derek Rhodes, strong forward, Luke Morris, guard, Michael Rouault, and scrappy point man, Madhu McConnell.  TRU will also be looking for some size in the recruiting process, and certainly more depth for this young group.

MRU’s import star, Josh Ross,  returns for his 5th year        Photo – Cougars Athletics

Mt. Royal –  The ‘Blue Cougars’ face a familiar challenge, as Coach Marc Dobell sees 2 big post men, Brett Layton, and Ray Goff leaving the roster along with 5th year guard, Derek Wolf .  Layton is wanting to start Law School, and Goff has had very tough nagging leg injuries, and is graduating early next year.  MRU does return guards Glen Yang, Noah Lewis, and Craig Martin along with import  scoring leader, Josh Ross, Ryan Cunningham, and forward, Nick Tancon.  Coach Dobell is waiting to announce his signees, and has not quite finished the process.  We do understand that L.J. Hegwood is looking to transfer in from SAIT, and that McNally HS (Calgary) star, 6-7 Diew Moses, may be headed to the Cougars as well.

MacEwan –  There will be significant change with the Griffins, as they say goodbye to Denzel James, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens, Keith Gerdes, and Tyler Wise as 5th year grads.  Thadius Galvez, their outstanding lead guard, is also on the move, and Coach Eric Magdanz is left with a major recruiting task.  Returnees Ryan Coleman, Harrison Lane, Adonis Montfort -Palomino, Ali Raza, and Atlas St. Paul-Butler will be counted on next Fall. The Griffs have younger players like British import, Jake Notice, along with 3rd year guard,  Tarik Scott, coming off an injury rehab, and a local red-shirt freshman, Deonte Doslov-Doctor.  Recent signees include Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 guard from Cardston, AB, who comes off a 2 year Mormon  church mission, and 6-8, Ben Niles, from Kamloops (Valleyview Sr Sec).  Coach Magdanz is also excited about Dustin Gatski  (Westlock, AB), a 6-4 transfer after  1 year of Junior College in Wyoming, and Moreau Amadou  a 6-4 wing from   Sir Winston Churchill, Calgary.

Marcus MacKay will carry a big scoring load for the Timberwolves.

UNBC –  Starting last season at 4-4 last Fall, The T’Wolves struggled through 12 straight losses to finish at 4-16, well out of play-off contention.  They lose their slick guard, Rhys Elliot, along with Elliott Rowe, and Sam Zhang to graduation. Coach Todd Jordan will be looking to add some size and more punch to his roster this Spring and Summer.  The UNBC returnees should include big shooting guard, Marcus MacKay, lead guard, James Agyeman, Vaggelis Loukas, an active forward, and Anthony Hokanson, who is a skilled wing man.   Adam Pahl, a  6-6 wing from Okotoks (Foothills HS) , AB was announced in January, and he comes with high hopes.  Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, is a ‘tough-minded’ guard coming off the red-shirt list, and Jordan has a few more prospects he hopes to sign in the next few weeks.  “We need to get bigger, and to make big improvements in our rebounding”, says the 5th year Head man.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans, 3-17 last season, do not graduate any 5th years, and Coach Aaron Muhic suggests that his returnee list should include all of his current roster players. We have mentioned veteran guard, Tyus Allen, who is rehabbing his injured knee, but who will not be ready until at least the Fall of 2018.  The Spartans will return  import guard, Pogos Trunyan, their high scorer (15 ppg), along with 6-10 post Patrick Vandervelden (13 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Vartan Tanielian, a 12 ppg scorer at wing. Among his younger contributors will be guards Max Viitala, and Josiah Meppelink.  TWU have not announced any new signees or transfers.

UBC-Okanagan –  After an 8-12 record in 2015-16, the Heat cooled off to just 2-18 last season.  Coach Peter Guarasci, in his 5th year, loses guard Mitch Goodwin to graduation.  But, he also has 7 other roster players (Cam Friesen, Randy Jernidier, Ryan Morck, Austin Penrose, Buster Truss, David Manshreck, and Davide Ciancio) who will not return, which obviouly leaves a daunting task of recuiting this Spring. Aldrich Berrios, his high-scoring (17.6 ppg) guard is back for his 4th year, along with back-court rookies, Matt Lafontaine, and Tristan Matthews.  Noma Obeseki, an athletic small forward,  will be entering his 3rd year.  Owen Keyes, a 6’9” Kelowna Sr Sec. stand-out has already signed, and looks like a strong prospect. Jake Stokker, Penticton Sr. Sec  is another big man signee , details in this story from Kelowna Capital News 

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Overtime –

  • Mason Foreman, a 6-7 forward from Winnipeg, who most recently attended Athlete Institute Prep just outside Toronto, has signed with the Calgary Dinos for next Fall.  Mason’s father is Jeff Foreman, who was a 3-time CIS All-Canadian with the Winnipeg Wesmen (Great Plains Athletic Conference)  in 1992, ’93, and ’94. ( In 1994, Jeff was CIS Player of the Year, and he was also a member of the Canadian national team.)
  •  UVic will, later this week, induct two former basketball stars into their Vikes Hall of Fame. Spencer McKay , was a dominating post man for Vikes teams of the late 1980s – early 1990s, and Carol Turney-Loos, was a key to their 1980 National title.   More details in this Oak Bay News article   

Quarter-Finals Set for Thursday Tip-offs

 

 

Quick turnaround for quarter-finals tip-offs

If you’re the TRU Wolf Pack, you will feel like visitors on your own campus, as you leave again on Wednesday for Calgary,  your 3rd road destination in as many weeks.  TRU were in Regina to finish League play, then last week a 3 game set in Brandon, finishing Sunday …  Monday a.m. on the road to Winnipeg, connecting flight through Calgary, and finally home to Kamloops.

TRU’s Scott Clark leads his ‘Pack to another play-off showdown with the Calgary Dinos.

The Wolf Pack face the #1 seeded Dinos starting Thursday in Calgary, a team they lost to in the Canada West Final last March.  Coach Scott Clark, speaking from the Calgary airport on Sunday afternoon, allowed, “This schedule is beyond our control, so we just deal with it. We are very proud of our young team, who responded very well to a tough atmosphere in Brandon, and fought off a very athletic Bobcats team.  Now we’ll go back and rest, do laundry, and look at some film.  We hope the guys will be just as fired up to face the Dinos, and we know it will be a challenge.”

The Manitoba Bisons were busy making last minute plane reservations as well, as the Herd head out to Vancouver to meet the UBC Thunderbirds.  Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp tells us, “It’s hard to arrange the flights .  You don’t know if you have 2 or 3 games … we may have to wait until Monday to get back home.  It’s expensive!  Meanwhile UM is prepping to play what Schepp calls ” … the best team in our League right now.”

Lethbridge are chartering a bus to return to Edmonton, where they just finished League play against the same Alberta Golden Bears 2 weeks ago.  Well, not exactly the same Bears; we’re pretty sure the starters for both teams will be more prominent in this 1/4 Final than in their last regular season encounter.

The Winnipeg Wesmen will also board a highway cruiser for their series in Saskatoon against the U of S Huskies.  The Ws took 3 games to subdue the UFV Cascades, but looked sharp in the Saturday 84-59 clincher, as their deep perimeter talent ran away from Fraser Valley.  Saskatchewan awaits with their vaunted pair of posts, and a deeper back-court than they’ve had in past seasons.

Our detailed series previews on Wednesday.

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These are our choices, as we wait for the official list from the coaches voting.  Our 1st teamers are the ‘game changers’, and are most consistent at putting their stamp on the game.  Dejon Burdeaux does it all for the ‘Horns, while Thomas Cooper is a clutch scorer and rebounder for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov is the engine for TRU, with all the skills to turn pro. UBC’s Conor Morgan won the scoring title, and is having an amazing season.  Shane Osayande is a double-double almost every time he suits up for the Huskies.

Our 2nd team features U-Sports’ top 3 point shooter in Fraser Valley’s Manny Dulay, and the all-round value delivered by UBC vet, Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Canada West’s top defensive disruptor and leading 3 pt % shooter is Calgary’s David Kapinga, while Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah fills a stat sheet with points / rebounds / assists. Josh Ross arrived as a transfer to MRU after an All-Canadian College career, and he gave the Cougars scoring, passing, and great rebounding.

Our 3rd team has the incredible ‘cross-over king’ Thadius Galvez of the Griffins, along with the Wesmen’s dynamic scoring guard, Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Grant Sitton stood tall for the Vikes during one of their tougher seasons, and Brandon Tull finished his career at Regina as a record setter for that school.  Austin Waddoups is one of 3 Bears who could be on our list, but his energy, creativity, and timely scoring have launched Alberta to greater heights.

There are certainly others worthy of recognition, but we have 15.  You may wish to mention more of your favourites.  Feel free to share them with us.                                 (All-rookies Wednesday)

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Julian Spear Chief – Morris, playing  for the Pronghorns. photo – UL Sports

Overtime –

  • Former Lethbridge Pronghorns star,  Julien Spear Chief – Morris was recently elected as the President of Harvard University’s Law School Legal Aid Bureau.  This  article from Harvard  explains the significance of this election.       Thanks to Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp for passing this on to us.
  • The Victoria  Vikes made it to the CIS Nationals in 2012-13,  2013-14 and 2014-15, and were in the semi-finals in March of ’14 and ’15.  But 2 straight years with a 9-11 League record, missing play-offs last year, then bowing out in round 1 this campaign has Vikes supporters ‘concerned’.   14 year Head Coach, Craig Beaucamp, who has a 70% winning average in Canada West play, and is a 5 – time CW Coach of the Year is determined to get UVic back on top.  ““There are no quick fixes,” said Beaucamp. “It is going to take time. You can’t panic. You can’t just blow it up . Our current group has to get better.  We have a good core and I like it, but we need help. We are small up front. To be honest, we need to add to the mix.”    More on the Vikes’ plans this Times – Colonist  article by Cleve Dheensaw 

 

Vikes Sweep Over Winnipeg Gets Them In

 

 

 

 

Grant Sitton’s shooting propels Vikes to a sweep over Winnipeg. photo- Vikes Athletics

at Victoria 79  Winnipeg 78 –  A massive win for the Vikes, who avoid a tiebreaker scenario for the final spot.  They look to be 11th, with their 9-11 record, while Winnipeg are either 7th or 8th, awaiting the Bears-Horns Sunday game. Grant Sitton, on his Senior Night, lights it up for 27 points/ 12 rebounds for Victoria, and his 5 points in the final 30 seconds snatches victory for the home side, who trailed by 4.  Sean Tarver led the Ws with 23 points, while Narcisse Ambanza added 19, and Denzel Lynch-Blair 18.   Box Score    

at #7  Alberta  97  Lethbridge 86 –  The 2 Alberta rivals warmed up cautiously in the opening 10 minutes , then hit the ‘Go button’ with the Bears winning the last 3 stanzas by an 81-75 count. Geoff Pippus is hot for Alberta, with 24 points and 5/8 from deep, to go with 5 rebs/ 4 steals. Mamadou Gueye tallied 19 pts/ 7 rebs, as Alberta (14-5) is 1 win away from claiming the top seed for playoffs. Lethbridge (12-7) shoots it well, but hits 3 fewer treys, and 14/20 from the line vs 26/29 for the home side. Dejon Burdeaux has a big scoring night for the Pronghorns, with 35 points/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals .  UL are looking like 6th place finishers on the play-off seeding, regardless of their  result tomorrow against U of A.   Box Score          2nd game, Sun at 7 pm

at Manitoba  71  Mt Royal  68  –  In the 2nd close win in a  Bisons sweep, the home team hits 10 treys on 18 tries, and snares 46 rebounds vs 35 for the Cougars.  Down by 9 at the half, MRU won the 2nd, but couldn’t quite catch Manitoba.  Mt. Royal falls just short of a play-off spot, with their 8-12 record tying them for 12th with Thompson Rivers.  On the 2nd tie-breaker (since the 2 teams did not play each other), TRU come out on top with a split vs Manitoba back in November ; they were equal in results with other common opponents.  Justus Alleyn leads Manitoba with 20 pts/ 8 rebs, while MRU have 4 in double figures with both Josh Ross (15 pts/ 10 rebs) and Brett Layton (15 pts/ 12 boards) with a double-double again tonight.    Box Score  

at Regina 79  Thompson Rivers 74 –  Closer tonight for the Wolf Pack, but Regina (9-11) comes from behind in the 4th quarter to nab the sweep, and claim a play-off spot.  TRU (8-12) are in as well, but go back to B.C. after their 4th straight loss. Brian Ofori pours in 22 for the Cougars, and grabs 8 boards;  rookie guard, Johneil Johnson has 17 and 7 rebs.  Volodymyr Iegorov scores 16 for the ‘Pack, and adds 12 rebounds.   Box Score  

Calgary’s Dallas Karch enjoys a strong game on his Senior Night.  photo- UVic Athletics

at #6 Calgary 95  MacEwan 87  – It’s another free-wheeling affair, as the Griffs work hard trying, in vain, to nab a post-season berth, as the 2nd half, in particular, was played at high speed. Thomas Cooper posted 32 points for Calgary, and had 10 rebounds on a very successful Senior Night. Jhony Verrone was solid again for the Dinos, scoring 20 pts/ 8 rebs.  Thadius Gálvez was his elusive best for GMU, hitting 30 pts, and had 6 boards, while Denzel James  totalled 19 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assts.  The Dinos can finish 1st or 2nd in the play-off seeding, depending on the result of Sunday’s Alberta-Lethbridge game.  Box Score 

#9 Saskatchewan 77  at UNBC 57  –  The Huskies leave no doubt at the half, with a 37-16 spread, and their defense stifling the Timberwolves’ attack. U of S look set in either 2nd or 3rd seed for the play-offs.  Saskatchewan hits 53% from the floor, with Trevor Severinski the top man with 20 points on 6/10 from 3 point range.  Sam Zhang, in his final game for the ‘Wolves, is their leading scorer with 18 points/ 5 rebs.  Box Score  

#2 UBC 104  at  Trinity Western 72 –  Even without an injured Conor Morgan in the

UBC’s Conor Morgan sits out with a leg injury. photo- UBC Athletics

line-up tonight, the Thunderbirds (19-1) are too much for the Spartans (3-17) in the final game of the  regular season. 5 ‘Birds in double figures, with Jordan Jensen-Whyte cashing 23 pts / 8 rebs/ 4 assists, and Isaiah Familia adding 20 points/ 11 rebounds. TWU have Pogos Trunyan with 21 points on 5/11 from outside, but the next highest was Tea Mayberry’s 10 points.  UBC finishes 4th in the final Ratings Percentage Index, based on strength of schedule.  Box Score  

Fraser Valley 85 at UBC-O  78 –  Tied after 3/4s, the Cascades win the 4th quarter and the game by 7 points, with 5th year guard, Vijay Dhillon, hitting clutch shots down the stretch. With the team shooting 54% from the floor, Andrew Morris led UFV with  14 points, with Dhillon and Manny Dulay both scoring 10.  Fraser Valley finish 11-9, and are bound for 10th place in the RPI table.  UBC-O finish their season at 2-18, as Aldrich Berrios leads all scorers with 24 points.   Box Score   

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In the East on Saturday  – 

Atlantic – at UNB 99 St. FX 86, at St. Marys 93 Acadia 90, at Memorial  106 UPEI 92

Quebec – Laval 70 at Bishops 68,  Concordia 63 at UQAM 52

Ontario –  #1 Carleton 114 at York 50,  Western Ont 88 at Laurier 65,  at Waterloo 84  Windsor 69, at Guelph 74  Lakehead  62,  #3 Ottawa  72 at  Queens50  , at McMaster 76 Algoma  61

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Canada West  play-off grid – Sunday

Buenos Noches !

 

 

 

 

Huskies Grind Out a Split With the Bears

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

logo UFV

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

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

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Scores from the East –

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

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

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

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Overtime –

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

 

 

Bears Hang Up a Big W at Saskatchewan

 

 

Bears outside shooting shocks the Huskies on Friday in Saskatoon

Mamadou Gueye and the Golden Bears claim a huge road W in Saskatoon. photo – U of A Athletics

 # 7  Alberta 80 at # 9 Saskatchewan 67 –  The Bears engage their top weapon, the 3 pt shot, with 13/27 – 48% from outside, and pull away in the closing minutes fo the big road win.  Alberta defense limited the Huskies to 38% from the floor, and the visitor’s sharp ball-handling gave them a 4-14 advantage in the turnover column.  6 points was as close as U of S got in the final frame, and Mamadou  Gueye’s 2 treys in the last 2 minutes iced the cake, and Alberta moves to 13-4.

The Bears get 22 pts from import guard, Austin Waddoups, as he cashes 4/6 from beyond the arc, and  Gueye finishes with 21 and 5 boards.  The Huskies (11-6) have 4 starters in double figures, with a 12 point/13 rebound game from Shane Osayande, and 16 pts/ 8 boards by Matt Forbes before he left with 5 fouls late in the 4th.  Box Score     8 pm Central again on Saturday

at Brandon 79  Manitoba  68 –   The Bobcats (8-11) poke a stick in the Bisons’ spokes,

Tyvon Cooper scores 21 as Brandon derails Manitoba in game 1.  Photo –   Bobcats Athletics

with some aggressive team defense and shut-out rebounding.  Manitoba can hit just 30% from the floor in dropping their 1st game in the last 9 League efforts.  Tyvon Cooper shines for the ‘Cats in this upset , with 21 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 steals, and he gets lots of help.  Big men, John Paul (12 pts/ 13 boards) and Earl Thompson Jr  (13 pts/ 10 rebs), both record handy double-doubles, and Pookie Saunders deals out 8 helpers.  The frustrated Herd (10-7) have Ilarion Bonhomme, the ex-Brandon point man, collect 14 points/ 6 rebs/ 7 assists as their top man.  Keith Omoerah totals 13 pts/ 11 rebs for his double, but there’s not enough offense on the night for the visitors.   Box Score    7 pm  Central  on Saturday

 

 

at  Winnipeg 102  Regina 93 –  Regina (7-10) looked like their hot shooting would get them a road win, but their defense allows 57 points in the 2nd half to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.  It’s ‘very rare’ to shoot 58.5% from the floor (50% from 3 !) and manage to lose.  20 turnovers, and a +10 for the Ws from the foul line certainly aided the charging home side. Winnipeg (11-6) have 6 players in double digits, with Sean Tarver the leader, scoring 21, Denzel Lynch-Blair 18, and big Ryan Oirbans recording a double of 14 pts/ 10 assists/ 8 rebs.  The Cougars get 25 points/ 5 rebs/ 4 assts from the explosive Brian Ofori, and both Brandon Tull and Alex Igual drop 21 pts for the visitors.    Box Score         7 pm  Central on Saturday

# 6 Calgary 84 at Thompson Rivers 76 –  A 21-11 final frame gets Calgary to the road win, after they trail for most of the opening 30 minutes.  The Dinos overtake the Wolves despite a decided 3 point shooting edge for TRU (10-5), but Calgary makes more trips to the line (25/34 vs 14/18) .  The Dinos move up to 13-4, while the ‘Pack fall to 8-9, after a closely contested match.  Thomas Cooper helped UC finish strong, as he collects 22 pts/ 11 rebounds, and got help from Mambi Diawara, who was good for 14 pts.  4 TRU players hit double figures, with Derek Rhodes cashing 16 pts, and Volodymyr Iegorov scoring 14 plus 10 rebs/ 9 assts.  Box Score          7 pm Pacific  again Saturday

 

at  MacEwan 74   UBC-Okanagan  62  –   A big 2nd quarter gets the Griffins a clear lead, and they are even from there for their 7th win vs 11 losses on the season. GMU out-shoots (47% to 35%) and out-rebounds (43-33) the visiting Heat, who are now 2-15. Denzel James leads Mac with 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 assts, while forward Ryan Coleman is off the bench for 14 pts/ 8 boards, and Keith Gerdes chips in with 13 pts/ 8 rebs. Both Austin Penrose (7 rebs) and Aldrich Berrios tally 16 points apiece for UBC-O.  Box Score                 7 pm Mountain  on Saturday

 at  Mt. Royal 96  Trinity Western 66 –  The Cougars open up a 51-30 half-time lead, and cruise to their 8th win, with 5 players hitting double figures.  TWU have offensive troubles stemming from 27 big turnovers, and they shoot only 3/5 free throws vs 19/25 for the home side.  Josh Ross paces MRU with his 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 6 assts, while Brett Layton adds 14 pts/ 8 boards.  Max Vitala tallies 18 pts for Trinity, as they are now 2-15.  Box Score               6 pm Mountain on Saturday

Manny Dulay leads UFV to a come-from-behind win photo- UFV Athletics

at Fraser Valley 87 Victoria 83 –  A somewhat unexpected offensive explosion in Abbotsford, as the Vikes (7-10)  post 33 points to grab a 73-65 lead at the 3/4 mark, only to see the Cascades win the 4th by a 22-10 count for the come-back victory.  Manny Dulay’s 36 points for UFV (8-9) continue a personal hot streak, but none hotter than Friday.  Dulay splashes 8/11 from 3 pt range and adds 7 assists, while Andrew Morris helps with 14 pts.  as Fraser Valley shoots 51% from the floor.  The Vikes are 50% from outside on 14/28, but their offense stalls out in the 4th.  Grant Sitton scores 26 for the visitors on 4/8 from beyond the arc, and he adds 9 rebounds/ 5 assts.  Box Score        7 pm  Pacific  on Saturday

 

 at   UBC 123  UNBC 75  –  Up 56-37 at the break, the T’Birds top that with 67 points in the final 20 minutes to post a most lop-sided win.  Cruel and unusual ….  Conor Morgan pours in 36 pts for UBC, with 13 rebounds, while Taylor Browne notches 20 pts off the bench, as the Thunderbirds shoot 67% from the field.  UNBC  has 14 pts/ 5 assts/ 4 steals from James Agyeman Box Score              7 pm  Pacific on Saturday

 

Lethbridge has the bye this week

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Scores from the East –

Atlantic -at #10 Dalhousie 88 Memorial  63, at UPEI 92  UNB 77 , St. FX 85 at Saint Marys 83, at Acadia 101 Cape Breton  88

Thursday in Quebec  … at Concordia 68 Laval 54,  at #8 McGill 79  Bishops 62

In the OUA … #1 Carleton 74 # 3 Ottawa 61, at Toronto 79 York 58, at #5 Ryerson  70 Queens 59 ,  at Laurentian 73   Lakehead 67,  Western 79 at Algoma 67, at Nipissing 79  Guelph 69

 

Overtime –

  • Congratulations to Howard Tsumura, long-time Vancouver Province columnist and blogger, on his new website  ‘Varsity Letters’ . http://varsityletters.ca    This impressive site continues Howard’s amazing coverage of school sports, from high school to university.  He provides thoughtful profiles on individual athletes,  covers the progress of teams, leagues, and championships, with a very keen focus on British Columbia specifically.  It is great to see this popular writer continuing to  lead the way in covering so many amateur sports and athletes.
  • UVic vs UFV coaches’ thoughts going in to a pivotal weekend series,  “We know they can score and they have had some very good results in the second half of the year, knocking off Alberta and playing Calgary really tough,” Vikes Coach Craig Beaucamp said of the Cascades. “We are going to have our hands full, we have to play well on the defensive side of the ball for sure.”    The Cascades head man, Adam Friesen says, “UVic tries to grind it out and games like that come down to a possession here or there. Whoever wins the battles in the paint gives themselves a better chance to win.”   (From a story by   MARIO ANNICCHIARICO in the Victoria  TIMES COLONIST.)

Regina Roars Back to Dump the Dinos

 

Tull leads Cougars to much-needed home win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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Other U-Sports games on Saturday –

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

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

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

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Overtime –        

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

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

 

 

‘Upon Further Review’ … Not UBC

 

UBC, ‘upon further review’ of the baffling RPI rankings, is not #1 in Canada West

As a legendary Canada West coach used to say, “Assumption is the mother of all ****-ups!”   This is certainly the case with our careless deduction regarding final play-off seedings for Canada West.  Trusting (gullible) souls that we are, we reason that a 19-1 record will give a team a better spot than a 16-4.  Well, not so fast!

In the mysterious world of the RPI, we wrongly assumed that ‘things would eventually ‘balance out’ over the season.  But no ….  There is, in fact, no logical scenario for wins and losses over the final weeks where UBC can finish at #1.  Using the brilliant Canada West Playoff  what-if planning tool , as devised by the incredible Dr. Martin Timmerman as part of his amazing  U-Sports Hoops web-site, we can plot these possibilities.  Go to the site.  Follow the link.  Feed in your game by game predictions, then hit the ‘Press this button to see the overall ….” , and Shazzam !  You get the final RPI ratings using your guesses.

Are the T-Birds on top of the RPI stats, even when they win-out, and have a clear best of 19-1?   No.    Redo it, with some other results;  maybe someone will sweep, or another pair will split.  Do it many times over (using common sense picks, however).  UBC is not #1 in any case we’ve tried.   UBC Coach Kevin Hanson doesn’t want to focus on this, as he says, ” … there are 3 weekends left to play. We all knew the RPI rule was being used with the intent to help balance an unbalanced schedule.  I will reserve to comment until the rest of the league games are completed.”   The #2 ranked team in U-Sports Canada rankings will not, it appears now, have the inside track at hosting the Canada West Final 4.

We have to move on, and talk about the week’s schedule.  If you want to look ahead to play-off probabilities, you can use the ‘Shazam ‘  planning tool at U-Sportshoops.

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The Ravens knocked their Ottawa cousins down a notch, and UBC are back at #2.  Ryerson are unbeaten in OUA action, and will be pointing to their game at McMaster, then on to Brock later in the week. Calgary goes on the road to Regina, and will be ‘circling the wagons’ to try and maintain their clean slate of away wins. A move by the Saskatchewan Huskies into the #9 spot, as they are tougher as the season progresses.  Neither McGill nor Dalhousie demonstrate total confidence in their Quebec and Atlantic races.  Threats to their position from Concordia, Laval in the RSEQ and UNB, Saint Marys, St. FX in the AUS.These are both play-off questions.

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Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28

UNBC   at Manitoba –  The Timberwolves are clearly the underdogs against the surging Bisons.  UNBC will be scratching to add scoring, and to slow down Justus Alleyn, AJ Basi, Keith Omoerah and the rest of the Herd.   8 pm Central on Fri, the 6 pm Sat.

 

#5 Calgary  at  Regina  –  The Dinos, with their more vigorous and ‘all-in’ defensive effort should frustrate the sputtering Cougars. Calgary will be looking for efficient offense, and more cohesion from their 12 man rotation. Regina is at home, and need a win to help with playoff hopes.  8 pm Central both games.

Josh Ross and the Cougars face a tough task at U of S.

Mount Royal   at  #9 Saskatchewan –  Nobody said it would be easy, and MRU, after 2 losses to UBC, are now at Saskatchewan, the only team to have a win over the Thunderbirds.  Tough indeed.  Brett Layton and Josh Ross will have their hands full with Shane Osayande and Matt Forbes.      8 pm Central for both.

Winnipeg  at MacEwan  –  Is Winnipeg for real?  They are ‘under the radar’, even at 9-5.  Some say ‘easy schedule’, but the Wesmen face road games against an experienced and under-rated Mac crew. Not a runaway here for Ryan Oirbans, Sean Tarver against  Adonis Monfort- Palomino, Keith Gerdes and company.    8 pm Mountain on  Fri, 7 pm Sat

UBC-Okanagan  at  Lethbridge  –  The Pronghorns are motivated by play-off possibilities, while the Heat have to be content to play ‘spoiler’ here.  Dejon Burdeaux and Elliott Sentance vs Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin  is an interesting match-up.      Games are Friday at 8 pm Mountain, and Sat at 7 pm .

5th year forward, Volodymyr Iegorov , TRU ace

Thompson Rivers at Fraser Valley –  This is the ‘Feature Series of the Week’, and one with so many possibilities.  Old foes dating back to College League days, these two schools have both had success in Canada West .  UFV’s guard play (Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon)  make them slim home favourites.  But can the Cascades handle rebounder/scorers Volodymyr Iegorov and Michael Rouault off the Wolf Pack?   Fri – 8 pm and Sat – 7pm Pacific

Brandon   at    #2  UBC  –  Just when the Bobcats were building some momentum, they fly to the Coast for a most demanding test against the League -leaders.  UBC’s Conor Morgan vs Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr.  Tyvon Cooper for the ‘Cats and Jordan jensen-Whyte of the ‘Birds.  Too much firepower from the Thunderbirds, you would think.     These games are 7 pm Pacific both Friday / Saturday

Trinity Western  at Victoria –  Two ‘must-haves’ for the Vikes.  Grant Sitton welcomes more help;  he has Scott Kellum, Justin Kinnear, now who else will step up?  TWU have a new spirit in their ‘team under construction’.  If their guards can compete, their big men can give UVic some trouble.     Friday at 8 pm Pacific, and Saturday at 7 pm.

Alberta gets the bye this week.

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Overtime –        

  • Canada West corrected their RPI calculations (which, admittedly, can be very tricky), and the Manitoba Bisons are at .5872, the 5th highest in the League.  That makes more sense, since they won 2 games.  Teams can drop, if they play a lower-ranking opponent, as the Herd did with TWU.  The Manitoba drop first reported as .4964, however, seemed far too great. MRU was also corrected to .4964 (not .4704 as originally posted).
  •  If teams are tied for the final playoff spot, the tie breakers will be – 1. Results between the 2 teams  2.  Record vs common opponents 3. RPI rating Once the 12 teams for play-offs have been decided, they will be seeded 1-12 by their RPI ranking.
  • UFV Coach Adam Friesen with his thoughts about TRU this week.  ““We know they’re going to be hard-nosed, they’re going to be tough inside, and they’re going to be throwing a bunch of different defences at us to try to throw us off,” UFV bench boss Adam Friesen said. “Volodymyr Iegorov is one of the best players in our league, if not the country, so we’ve got our hands full with him.”   From Adam Kinvig  , Fraser Valley Athletics
  • From the OUA tonight – #4  Ryerson 99 at McMaster 77

 

 

Thunderbirds On Lofty Perch

 

 

The #3 ranked UBC Thunderbirds are eyeing the rest of the Canada West field as they soar high above, with what looks like a friendly path to a 6-0 finish (at home to Brandon, UNBC, at TWU), and the top spot in the play-off draw. The nuances of the RPI system of ‘fairly balancing’ an un-balanced regular season schedule could throw a curve, but the ‘Birds are #1 now.

Jordan Jensen-Whyte and the UBC T’Birds look like a lock for #1 seed.                                      photo – UBC Athletics Rich Lam

Calgary Dinos didn’t make their lives any easier in losing at home to Saskatchewan on Saturday, and the ratings system may affect them, especially with any more losses. 2 road series at Regina and TRU  will require their full attention. They finish at home vs MacEwan . At 16-4 they should be 2nd .   (*** RPI ?)

Alberta Golden Bears, who also were tripped up on home court by UFV,  need sweeps at Saskatchewan and then home to Lethbridge in their 2 weekends remaining for a shot at 2nd, but the Huskies are re-energized, and the ‘Horns still have their eye on a high finish. U of A – 14-6 ?  Saskatchewan are on home hardwood vs Mt. Royal this coming weekend, then Alberta the following.  The Huskies finish at UNBC, and a  6-0 string could vault them into the 2 or 3 spot at 15-5. Maybe 14-6 with a split vs Alberta?

Can the Wesmen and senior guard, Denzel Lynch-Blair stay ahead of the Manitoba Bisons?                 photo – Wesmen Athletics

Winnipeg were swept by Manitoba, and split with both Saskatchewan and Lethbridge.  The Ws can still finish at 15-5 by sweeping their remaining series’ at MacEwan, home to Regina, and at Victoria.  The odds aren’t entirely rosy, if you look at the difficulty of winning on the road.  Wesmen maybe 14-6 ?   The Bisons are chasing a 6 game win streak, and look determined to complete the string in their remaining games at home vs UNBC, at Brandon, and home to finish vs Mt. Royal.  14-6 ?

Lethbridge Pronghorns have 10 wins, and will host Okanagan this week, then get a bye before traveling to Edmonton to finish up against the Bears.  Best case scenario, we guess 13-7.  The Pronghorns , Manitoba, Winnipeg, and Saskatchewan have a slim chance of becoming mired in an epic tie-breaking calculation.  ( If tied –  Record between the 2 teams, record vs common opponents, then the dreaded RPI)

Can hot-shooter Manny Dulay help the Cascades into the play-offs?     photo –  UFV Athletics

Fraser Valley is a team on the rise, as they win at Alberta and played Calgary close as well. This coming weekend’s home games with Thompson Rivers could be the crucial pair, if the Cascades are to catch and pass MRU and the ‘Pack. To finish the season UFV are in a home series vs Victoria, then on the road at UBC-O. 11-9?

MRU’s road games at Saskatchewan and Manitoba give them an uphill battle to finish at .500, but their chances are good for a playoff spot, with 9 wins.  Similarly, TRU are on the road in 2 of 3 series (at UFV, at Regina) plus they host a tough Calgary team in Kamloops.  The Wolf Pack may be tied with both Cougars when all the dust settles.  RPI !   8-12, 9-11?

Regina are in a 5 game swoon, and return home to play a slightly ‘miffed’ Calgary Dinos squad this week.  They also play at Winnipeg and are at home to TRU.  Somewhere the Cougars need to get ‘off the schneid’ with  1-2-3 wins. 8-12 ?       Brandon has 4 games left, and they will be huge under-Cats at UBC, and need at least a split with Manitoba, who visit Brandon on Feb 3-4.  7-13?

 UVic has a mathematical shot, but need maybe 3 or 4 wins in their 6 games vs Trinity W and Winnipeg at home, and their road set at TRU.   UNBC’s finish at Manitoba, at UBC, home vs Saskatchewan is too tough for them to move up. MacEwan needs 5 wins in their last 6 outings,  at home to Winnipeg, home to UBC-O, and at Calgary.  Also a tough ask.

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In the East –  

AUS –  Sunday  at Memorial 98 St. FX 91

 Upcoming games –  Wednesday we have #10 McMaster  at #4 Ryerson

Thursday sees – 2 games in Quebec … Bishops at Concordia, UQAM at Laval

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Overtime –     

  • Canada West Women’s  standings –  Winnipeg 13-1, Alberta 14-2, Regina 12-2, Saskatchewan 10-4, Victoria 10-4, UBC 10-4, Trinity Western  9-5, Calgary 8-6, Fraser Valley 8-6, Brandon 7-9, UNBC 5-9, MacEwan 4-10  (There’s the top 12, in play-off position) …  Lethbridge 4-12, Mt. Royal 3-11, UBC-O  2-12, Thompson Rivers 2-12, Manitoba  1-13.
  • The RPI is a bit ‘unsettling’, when you look at changes from last week, for example – The Manitoba Bisons win 2 games at TWU, but suffer a huge drop in their RPI rating.  Ditto for the Lethbridge Pronghorns, although not quite as severe. You can win your way into the play-offs, but the RPI formula has who you beat, and where you win or lose playing a big role.
  • Most Outstanding Player ?  Here’s a 4 stat composite total … of points per game, rebounds, steals, and assists –  Top 8 – 1. Thomas Cooper, Calgary – 35.4   2. Conor Morgan, UBC – 34.5  3. Josh Ross, Mt. Royal- 33.8,  tied in 4th.  Shane Osayande, Sask – 32.4,  Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU – 32.4 ,   6. Elliott Sentance, Lethbridge- 30.1,  7.  Brett Layton, Mt. Royal – 30.0,  8. Dejon Burdeaux, Lethbridge – 29.6

 

Foothills City Hosts Two Feature Series’

 

Huskies and Thunderbirds visit the Alberta Foothills 

5th year wing, Dallas Karch of the Dinos              photo – David Moll

The Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) are on the road for the 2nd straight week, again in Southern Alberta, in a ‘throw-down series’ with the Calgary Dinos (10-2) . Surely with added confidence from 2 wins at Lethbridge last week, the ‘Dogs will be looking to their big forwards and team rebounding for an edge here.  Guards Jaylan Morgan (Toronto) and Lawrence Moore (Chicago) are working well as a pair, and give good back-court leadership and scoring. Forwards,  Shane Osayande  and  Matt Forbes, are both capable of double-doubles in scoring/ rebounding every night.

Shane Osayande is the Huskies scoring-rebounding ace.  photo – U of S

Calgary have the higher scoring rate, and use an 11 + rotation to increase the pace at both ends.  The Dinos defenders have picked the opponent’s pockets the 2nd most in the League, led by guard David Kapinga, a consummate disruptor. Inside, UC has a 3 1/2 man post crew ( Matt Ellis, Mitch Ligertwood, Connor Foreman, and a bit of rookie Jeff Rodehutskors) , who will work at containing the Huskies stars.  2015-16 CW MVP, Thomas Cooper can score inside or out, and he will demand extra attention from U of S defenders.

It may be the depth of Calgary (Lars Schleuter, Jasdeep Gill, Dallas Karch, Jhony Verrone et al …) , or the inside game of Sask.  But, we can also expect foul shooting to play a part as it has done in recent, passionately contested games.  The series can put Calgary firmly at the top of the standings, or it could vault Saskatchewan into championship contention.    Games at UC – 8 pm Friday, 7 pm Saturday

 

The 11-1  UBC Thunderbirds, riding a wave after topping the U of A last week in Vancouver, bring an assured squad to S. Calgary for a 2 game set with the Mt. Royal Cougars.  Conor Morgan,  Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Will Ondrik, and A.J. Holloway lead a deep and experienced crew, who are scoring 88 ppg vs 72 pts for their opposition.   Coach Kevin Hanson has more talent at his disposal, with Patrick Simon, Luka Zaharijevic, and  Harpreet Randhawa ready on the front line.

The Cougars (7-5), who won 2 last week at UNBC,   answer with Josh Ross, Brett Layton, and Nick Tancon at the forward spot, but they will need the perimeter to assist on the boards, where UBC is +5  and MRU at -1 reb/game . The Cougars guards have taken good care of the ball, and the trio of Derek Wolf, Glen Yang, and Ryan Cunningham have been scoring at a more consistent pace.  We might, but won’t, call this an up-set possibility.  UBC is a heavy ‘over-dog’, but  MRU will compete.   Fri at 8 pm and an early 6 pm tip on Sat.

Fraser Valley (5-7) are also returning to Alberta, but this time to Edmonton for 2 against the 11-3 Alberta Golden Bears.  The Bears, smarting from a 2 game lost weekend in Vancouver, will be determined to get things back on course. That means Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke firing away up front, and Austin Waddoups playing his ‘whirling Dervish ‘ style on offense.  The Cascades need an exceptional effort both ways, but they do have shooters, in Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon.  The UFV defense will be challenged by Alberta’s long-range snipers.  Bears a favourite, with a chance of a Cascades upset.       Friday at 8 pm Mountain, Sat at 7.

Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6) fly to the Island, to meet the 5-7 Victoria Vikes on Ken and Kathy Shields Court this Fri/Sat. Two wins could serve to put the ‘Horns back in the top 4 mix, but they lost 2 at home to Saskatchewan last week, and weren’t really near their best on Saturday. The Vikes won 2, and now need to step it up even more against a better opponent in Lethbridge.  It’s Grant Sitton and rookie Scott Kellum leading the Vikes, and Dejon Burdeaux with Elliott Sentance called on to shepherd the Pronghorns.  We’ll suggest a split .   Friday tip at 8 pm / Sat. at 7 pm Pacific

 Regina Cougars (6-6) at Brandon Bobcats (5-9 ) –  One highlight this week will be to listen in again to the unmistakable colour commentary of ‘Cats coaching legend, Jerry Hemmings.  Keep it coming Coach !  Meanwhile, both Coach Steve Burrows (Green Cougars) and Coach Gil Cheung (Bobcats) are losing sleep trying to get their respective sides to ‘put it together for 40 minutes’. Twice.  Good match-ups – BU’s Tyvon Cooper vs Reg’s Aaron McGowan.  The Cougars’ Brian Ofori working full-out to control Brandon’s ‘Big Cat’, Earl Thompson Jr.   Guessing a spirited split, harkening back to the Great Plains rivalry.      Friday at 8 pm Central, and Sat. at 7.

Manitoba Bisons (6-6) at Trinity Western Spartans (2-10) –  A chance for the Herd to thaw-out in the Fraser Valley.  And to duplicate their 2 game sweep of the Spartans at the same venue last February.  All the signs point to Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn, A.J. Basi and friends extending their unbeaten string to 9 games (including their Wesmen Classic title).  But they’ve fooled us before. Trinity come off a bye, and may have their Spartans in a row, with bigs Max Vitala and Patrick Vandervelden becoming more convincing.  Guards Pogos Trunyan, and Vartan Tanielian can score; now can Trinity defend well enough to stop a Herd of Bison ?         Fri and Sat. at 7 pm Pacific.

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Scores from the East   –   Carleton  81  at Ottawa 40 –  And, this was the away game.

Carleton’s Connor Wood attacks the hoop at Ottawa. photo Verelie Wutti

A sobering realization for all other U-Sports teams across Canada, as the Ravens pick the bleached bones of the fallen Gee-Gees so meticulously.  UO are 9-1 in OUA action, and ranked #2 by coaches;  and they are allowed to shoot just 21% !?  The utterly commanding Carleton performance spread from shooting to rebounding, and ball-handling to all-out aggression. By half-time, witnesses to the dismantling just wanted to look away.   Two periods where the Ponies tallied single digits on the scoreboard.  The grey-clad victims were shooting a deathly 7% from the floor for much of that ugly opening 20 minutes.  The Blackbirds feed off this kind of physical superiority and mental torture.  Ottawa had no 2nd -chance points, according to their own stats crew.  Smothering team defense is a given, then Connor Wood  shoots, Kaza Kajemi-Keane penetrates, and the duo of Eddie Ekiyor and Ryan Ejim rule the inside for the reigning National Champs.   This is what they do, even to their toughest opponents.  Again this season.  Beware the Raven !    The Official Autopsy  

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Overtime – 

  • Are there different rules in the OUA?  Was there as much give and take in post offense-defense, or defending the dribble penetration as it appeared in the Carleton-Ottawa ‘bare-knuckler’ last night?  We don’t see the same accumulation of bruises and finger-prints on opponents’ bodies after a Canada West game where there are just 23 total fouls called.

    MRU’s Ray Goff

  • Our best in his recovery to MRU’s Ray Goff, a 6-7 post man (4th, Okotoks, AB), who suffered a head trauma in a recent practice.  Goff is expected to return, but is undergoing ‘watchful monitoring’ for concussion symptoms.  Already dealing with nagging knee issues, the likeable veteran didn’t need this latest episode.
  • When you have success as Carleton has had, in spades, over the past 17 seasons , you tend to attract talent via recruiting.  Players want to win.  Apparently some want to do that more than they wish to play.  Ravens’ redshirts would look pretty good on the active playing rosters of many teams across the country.  And, how many more stars from other programs might decide to play year 5 at a ‘winning’ program, rather than graduate in the same colours you’ve worn for the previous 4?  (These player decisions are made in other places as well, of course.  We just notice them more at Carleton, Ottawa, and some other traditional powers.