Who Goes, Who Stays for Next Fall?

 

 

 

 An Early Look at Canada West Rosters

We’ve just caught our breath after a long 2nd semester haul to the 7th straight coronation of the Carleton Ravens as U-Sports Champions.  It was a sobering experience for our 3 Canada West teams, as they all drop their round 1 games.  So it is literally ‘back-to-the-drawing-board’ for the 17 schools West of Ontario.

We start with a peek at the  players these teams will lose from rosters from the past season, key returnees, and a number of announced additions and expected jumps from the red-shirt list

Alberta –  2017 Canada West champs … the Bears lose big Brett Roughead, with no word on any other changes from this year’s 14-6 squad.  They return almost their whole roster, including all-stars Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, play-off ace, Mamadou Gueye, and CW rookie team, Andre Kelly. Coach Barnaby Craddock will  certainly have a contender again next season.

Lucas Mannes (tsf-TWU), a sharp-shooting guard, joins the Dinos this Fall.

Calgary –  The Dinos (16-4) win their last 2 of the year, over Manitoba and Saint Marys to finish 5th at Nationals, but four key seniors, Thomas Cooper, Jasdeep Gill, Mitch Ligertwood, and Dallas Karch, will be missed.  Coach Dan Vanhooren does, however, feel good about his returning core, with David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, Mambi Diawara, and Max Eisle at guard.  Forwards are led by Lars Schleuter, Connor Foreman, and Jeff Rodehutskors.  Both 6-6 fwd Sasha Pojuzina (Regina), and 6-1 guard, Jake Nielson (Cochrane) should move in off the red-shirt list, and guard Andrew Milner is a high school signee from Nova Scotia’s U-17 champions. Lucas Mannes, an 18 ppg guard, transfers from Trinity Western.

Shane Osayande returns for the Huskies with his power game.

Saskatchewan – The Huskies  are 14-6 this year, get to the Final 4, but lose to Alberta and Calgary there.  They will miss their solid post man, Matt Forbes, and his 3 point shooting partner, Trevor Severinski.  U of S has the high-octane duo of forward, Shane Osayande, and guard, Alex Unruh, as 5th year leaders in the Fall. Coach Barry Rawlyk will have a strong returning group with veterans, Jaylan Morgan, Lawrence Moore, Mack Burns, and Joseph Barker.  A healthy return for speedy guard, Chan De Ciman, would be a big plus as well.

Manitoba –  A huge push in the 2nd semester, to a 12-8 record,  lifts the Herd to the Final 4, where they qualify for their 1st Nationals in many seasons.  They bid adieu to 4 rotation players including starters AJ Basi, and Brett Jewell, along with point man Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  The Bisons returnees are solid, led by starters Justus Alleyn, a Canada West all-star, and the 2 way hotshot, Keith Omoerah. Coach Kirby Schepp also revels in the depth from forwards James Wagner and Malik Irwin.  He has announced the signing of local high school star, 6-6 Wyatt Tait  ( Oak Park)

Conor Morgan enters his 5th year for UBC this Fall.                 photo- UBC Athletics

UBC Thunderbirds – After a banner 19-1 regular season, UBC suffered a dispiriting 2-0 sweep to Manitoba in play-offs. We expect the T-Birds to rebound as a typically strong contender, but graduating Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Will Ondrik, and Harpreet Randhawa will significantly change the mix. They red-shirted Jauquin Bennett-Boire, an impact lead guard, who came from a ‘partial’ rookie season at Saskatchewan. Coach Kevin Hanson boasts a deep returnee roster, with CW 2017 Player of the Year, Conor Morgan, into his 5th year along with guards, Phil Jalalpoor,  A.J. Holloway, and post man Luka Zaharijevic.  Patrick Simon is another experienced veteran on the front line, and young guards Taylor Browne, Isaiah Familia, Izaihah Ugoalah will step up. Coach Hanson has announced the signing of Cam Morris, a 6-6 forward from St. Thomas More Collegiate (Burnaby).

 Lethbridge – 5th year guard Will Hickey is leaving and  2nd year wing, Scott Mazutinec will depart on a Mission for his church. The ‘Horns were 13-7 and will be hoping to improve on that for 2017-18, with Kyle Peterson, transfer (UVic) combo guard, returning for his 3rd year, after finishing his church mission.  Dejon Burdeaux will be a 5th year leader, with Michael Pierzchala, Elliott Sentance, and Zac Overwater adding offensive punch.   6-6 wing, Mark Rodehutskors, should help, coming off the red-shirt list, and UL likely adds another Australian post man.

Winnipeg – Coming off a 12-8 record in 2016-17, the relatively young Wesmen lose  Jamar Farley to graduation, but boast all-rookie team member, Narcisse Ambanza, and CW all-star Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Sean Tarver is a high scoring wing man, and William Sesay, a talented all-round contributor.  Up front, the Ws return big post man, Ryan Oirbans, along with 6-7 Billy Yaworsky Coach Mike Raimbault has had good luck in recruiting local talent and a few top players from the East in his tenure at UW.

The Cascades’ Nav Bains and Wesmen’s Ryan Oirbans will do battle again next season.

Fraser Valley – Coach Adam Friesen will be looking to re-tool his offense, as the Cascades graduate both scoring guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon.  There is, however a ton of talent in ‘The Valley’ and the Lower Mainland, and Friesen has established his program largely with locals. He has announced the signing of Harsimran Bhullar of Panorama Ridge HS , Surrey, B.C.  UFV returns a good core of veterans in Navjot Bains, Denver Sparks-Guest, and Anthony Gilchrist.

Brandon – The Bobcats late season run to 9-11 was one of the good stories in Canada West this Winter, and Coach Gil Cheung will be working hard at building on that momentum. They have some key players graduating this Spring, including scorer-rebounder Earl Thompson Jr, shooter Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem. The ‘Cats do have some young talent in guards Tyvon Cooper, a CW all-star,  and Pookie Saunders. John Paul will be a 5th year leader up front, along with rookie Kobyn Jopp, and Tyler Anderson.

2017 Rookie of the Year, Scott Kellum, will lead the Vikes next season.

Victoria –  The Vikes lose their go-to scorer, Grant Sitton, and Coach Craig Beaucamp has wasted no time trying to improve on their 9-11 League mark.  Scott Kellum, a headsy guard from Washington state, is the 2017 Canada West Rookie of the Year, and a solid building block. Vlad Zasmolin (Calgary-Churchill)  could be a ‘sleeper’ off the red-shirt list, and UVic returns several young rotation players in Jake Newman, J.J. Hamel- Carey, and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson.  We understand that TRU’s impressive rookie, 6-1 guard Trent Monkman, will be a red-shirt with the Vikes this Fall.  Coach Beaucamp was busy early, and has signed 6-7 Hunter Hughes from Surrey (Southridge), Andrew Goertzen, a 6-8 fwd from Walnut Grove (Langley), 6-11 Eric Hegadoran from Lambrick Park, Victoria, 6-2 Jaden Touchie, Victoria, Oak Bay, and 6-3 guard Aaron Tesfegiorgis, from Calgary – Notre Dame.  Very busy.

More team reports up-coming  _________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime – 

 

Ryerson and Carleton Aiming for Rematch

 

Ryerson and Carleton favoured to meet in Championship Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, you can   Watch on U-Sports TV 1

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, is Canada’s winningest coach

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

 

 

Final Weekend Features Scramble for Play-offs

 

 

Final games bring so many permutations and combinations ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday/ Sunday , Feb. 11/12

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

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

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

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In the East –

Tues –  #10  Dalhousie  77 at  St FX  65

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

Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill

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

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

 

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Overtime –

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

 

 

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.

Bears Have Toughest Path to Title

 

 

 Bears path is the rockiest 

photo- brody clarke, Alberta

Brody Clarke and his Alberta team have a very tough schedule in the season’s 2nd half.

The Alberta Golden Bears are in 1st place in Canada West, with their 11-1 record, but their path to a title is still a rocky one.  At #6 in the U-Sport Coaches Top 10 this week, the Bears got there by virtue of a 1 point win over the Calgary Dinos, to earn a split in last weekend’s home and home series.

There is no let-up this week, as the Bruins travel to Vancouver for a clash with the #3 UBC Thunderbirds. Historical record – Bears are 89 wins – 90 losses vs the T’Birds !  And that may well reflect the 2 teams’ competitiveness this season.  The top 2 in the standings, and both with only 1 loss.

From there, Alberta hosts the improving Fraser Valley Cascades (5-5) on January 20-21, then they get a bye week before  travelling to Saskatoon Feb 3-4 for a predictably tough assignment against the Huskies (6-4).  U of A finishes up at home against another contending team, the Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-4).  All – in – all, a rugged path through the decisive 2nd half of the schedule.

Calgary hosts Fraser Valley in a Thursday-Friday series –  

The Calgary Dinos (8-2) will be looking to maintain their  position near the top of the Canada West standings with 2 wins this week against the visiting UFV Cascades.  (Game 1 is Thursday – 8 pm Mountain at UC, and available on Canada West TV with ace play-by-play man, Lucas Meyer, and colour from John Tramble.)  The Dinos come off a close loss to rivals , Alberta, and will need to re-focus on a dangerous UFV squad.

logo UFV

Cascades guards, Manny Dulay (15.9 ppg/4.6 rebs/5.4 asst/2.7 steals), and Vijay Dhillon (12.4 ppg/3 rebs/ 3 asst) will go head to head with UC’s David Kapinga (10.3 ppg/ , and 6-5 Mambi Diawara (13.1 ppg . Lars Schleuter, at 6-7, (brings a 3 point threat for the Dinos , as does 6-5, 5th year, ‘designated shooter’ Jasdeep Gill (47.6% from 3)

The pairings up front have UFV’s Nav Bains (8.3 ppg/ and Mark Johnson (9.4 ppg/6.8 rebs) facing Calgary’s Matt Ellis, Conor Morgan, and Mitch Ligertwood (a combined 14.1 ppg/9.4 rebs).  The Cascades’  6-5, 3rd year transfer (UVic), Andrew Morris, is a strong 6th man, who can score, and is shooting close to 50% from the floor.  Starter at the wing, Anthony Gilchrist (8.3 ppg), may be the man trying to contain the Dinos high-scoring wing-man, Thomas Cooper (24.3 ppg/ 6 rebs/2 steals).

The Dinos have an edge in most key offensive categories, but Fraser Valley looks like they may have found a groove lately, and could come on with their attack.  The Cascades big threat is their guard combo, and Calgary will be sure to have defensive harassment as a weapon against Dulay and Dhillon. Home court, and a more productive offense gives the Dinos a decided edge.

 

Canada West Schedule  this week-                  

 Thursday, Jan 12  –  

Fraser Valley Cascades  at #5  Calgary Dinos

Friday, Jan 13 –

Fraser Valley Cascades  at #5  Calgary Dinos

#6 Alberta Golden Bears  at #3 UBC Thunderbirds –  Preview of this feature series tomorrow .  

Saskatchewan Huskies at Lethbridge Pronghorns

Mt. Royal Cougars at UNBC Timberwolves

Winnipeg Wesmen   at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack

Manitoba Bisons  at Regina Cougars

Victoria Vikes at UBC-Okanagan Heat

MacEwan Griffins at Brandon Bobcats

Saturday, Jan 7 – 

Bears at Thunderbirds

Huskies at Pronghorns

Vikes at Heat

MRU Cougars at Timberwolves

Wesmen at Wolf Pack

Bisons at R. Cougars

Griffins at Bobcats

Trinity Western Spartans at home, resting …

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Scores from the East – 

Atlantic –  at St. FX 96 Cape Breton 80, at U-Sp #8 Dalhousie 84 Acadia 81 OT

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There were losses for Top 10 teams last week, including a split between #3 Calgary and #8 Alberta (69-60 UC at U of A, then 81-80 for the Bears in Calgary) .  Also in Canada West, it was un-ranked Saskatchewan winning game 1 of their series with UBC  by a 95-78 count. The Nipissing Lakers beat #6 Brock 69-66, and Laurentian rose up to topple #9 McMaster 95-87.  In Quebec, #7 McGill lost a mid-week game to Laval 70-63.   Memorial is not ranked, even though they lead the AUS standings?

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Overtime –

  • As of last week’s games, we have no undefeated teams left in either Men’s or Women’ s play in Canada West.  In Men’s play, Saskatchewan (6-4) beat UBC (9-1) on Friday, and Calgary (8-2) had beaten Alberta (11-1) in a Thursday contest. On the Women’s side, both Winnipeg (11-1) and Alberta (11-1) were handed Saturday night losses by Trinity Western (7-5) and Calgary (7-3) respectively.
  • The Dinos and Cascades have not met since February 2015, when UFV beat UC in 2 straight in the CW Q-finals in Abbotsford.  The ‘Trees’ have won 5 of the last 7 games between these 2 teams.
  • Quebec Standings –  There is not much to choose between the top 4 teams, and McGill, the favourites, have yet to distance themselves from the pack.  After having seen Bishops out West in the Fall pre-season, we are surprised at the struggles for the Gaiters to this point. # 9 McGill has a big home and home this weekend with cross=town rival, UQAM, while Laval has a H/H against Bishops .

 

 

 

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.

Bisons 2nd Straight Classic Title

 

 

 

 Bisons rumble in the 4th quarter to win back to back titles

Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah is named MVP in the 50th Wesmen Classic

Manitoba  86  #8 Alberta 78 –  The defending champs take a 3 point lead at the half, and they continue to out-play Alberta through the 2nd half.  Shooting it better from the floor, the line, and from 3 point range, the Herd pull away.  Justus Alleyn leads UM scorers with 22, while Keith Omoerah, voted the tournament MVP,  posts a double of 10 pts/ 12 rebounds.  For Alberta, Brody Clarke has 21 points/ 9 rebs, and Austin Waddoups counts 16 points.  Box Score   

Winnipeg 64  Victoria  63  –  The Wesmen win the 2nd half and the game, with a 10-7 advantage in 3 point shots made.  The Vikes are just 34% from the floor, but Hassan Abdullahi hits 12 points on 5/7 and adds 6 rebs/ 2 steals.  Winnipeg get 21 points/ 8 rebs/ 3 assts from Denzel Lynch-Blair to capture 3rd place.  Box Score

Lakehead 89  Regina 56 –  Not much doubt here as the ‘Wolves go up 47-22 by half-time. 4 Lakehead players in double digits scoring, with Jack Bull cashing 10 pts/ 11 boards. Matthew Augustine scores 11 for the Cougars.  Box Score

Algoma 92   Brandon  83 –   Scott Clendenning hits 26 points for the Thunderbirds, and  Earl Thompson Jr (12 rebs)  and Tyler Anderson each score 15 for the ‘Cats.  Box Score  

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Shoveller Memorial in Halifax –

  Saint Marys  Huskies 79  #10 Dalhousie  Tigers  76  –  The home team goes down to the school just around the corner.  Dal falls back by 14 at the half, and the comeback is too little, too late.  The  Huskies are up against the #4 ranked Gee Gees in tomorrows final.  Box Score  

 #4 Ottawa Gee Gees 83 St. FX X-Men  65  –  Caleb Agaga with a double-double of 15 pts/ 12 boards, and there are 6 ‘Ponies’ in double digits.  Box Score  

Consolation games

 UPEI  Panthers  95  Acadia Axemen  92

Queens Golden Gaels 72  Mt. Royal Cougars  68 –   Mt. Royal comes fast out of the gate for a 25-18 lead after 10 minutes, but it goes South from there.  Without ace post man, Brett Layton, the Cougars fire blanks in the 2nd with just 7 points.  For the game they are 32%  from the floor.  Still they keep it close, with Nick Tancon having a good one, with a double of 16 points/ 11 rebounds.   Rookie guard, Craig Martin has 15 points, and Glen Yang 12.   Queens has Tanner Graham  as their top scorer with 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 blocks.  Box Score     MRU plays Acadia on Saturday.

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Classique Olga Hrycak at UQAM, Montreal –

Two wins for the T’Wolves in Montreal.

UNBC  Timberwolves 76  Guelph Gryphons 71-  Another great team effort from the Timberwolves, as they shoot 50% from the field and hit 12/13 free throws. ’15-’16 Canada West all-star, Rhys Elliott , has another stellar effort, with 28 points/ 6 rebs.  James Agyeman deals out 8 assists and scores 8 pts, while Anthony Hokanson has 8 points/ 7 rebounds.  Ahmed Haroon scores 20 pts on 9/16 and adds 9 boards for the Gryphons. .   UNBC play  Memorial on Saturday. (Thanks to Coach Jordan for the box score by text )

  Memorial Seahawks  65   UQAM  Citadins 58

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#3 Calgary 82  Montana-Western Bulldogs  78 –  Down 5 at the break, the Dinos come back in the 2nd half with their defense slowing the Bulldogs scoring .  UC hits 52% in that final 20 minutes, led by the double of 29 points/ 12 rebs by 5th year wing Thomas Cooper.  Lars Schleuter added 16 pts, and David Kapinga 15 pts/ 4 assists.    (Another box score sent by text !)

Cochise College  85   #2 UBC  82 – Guard Jordan Jensen-Whyte paced the UBC offence with a 22-point performance while forwards Patrick Simon and Conor Morgan scored 15 and 14 points, respectively. The Thunderbirds were ahead for all but 12 seconds of regulation.  They held a 72-56 advantage with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the 2nd half but Cochise mounted a furious rally – closing on a 22-6 run – to send the game into overtime. The Apaches outscored UBC 7-4 in the extra period to earn the comeback victory.  (From UBC Athletics)

 Thompson Rivers 79  Antelope Valley  78 – Two nice wins for the Wolf Pack this week.  Tight battles and the right result with good play down the stretch.

 MacEwan  76   Vanguard U. (CA)   68 –   Denzel James leads with 17 points/ 9 rebs, as the Griffins shoot 49% FG including 12/26 from outside.  Box Score 

Saskatchewan 67  Hope International (CA)  60

UBC-O  81 Camosun College 77

  Occidental College Tigers (CA)  77   Fraser Valley 59  –  The Cascades are up 33-32 at the half, but lose 26-45 in the final 20 minutes.  The Tigers are 50% from the floor to UFV’s 39%. The home team wins the rebounding 43-29 , and there are 19 Fraser Valley turnovers to 12 for ‘Oxy’.  Vijay Dhillon is 5/6 from 3 point range for 15 points to lead UFV.   Box Score

                                _______________________________

also –  Rochester College (MI)  82  Waterloo 59  ,  UNB 73  Holland College 72 , at Toronto 78  Laval 61  ,  Johnson and Wales (FL)  80 Concordia 78

______________________________

Overtime –

  • UNBC’s Vaggelis Loukas, who was so good against UQAM on Thursday,  suffered a light ankle sprain early in the opening minutes of the win over Guelph on Friday. Coach Todd Jordan says, “He should be OK for our League play next week.  We’ve had so many of these injuries this season.  It’s been a struggle, but our guys are coming on, and we’re happy with their play this week, obviously.”
  • A closely kept secret … the UFV Cascades are in California to play 2 games.  They dropped an 84-70 decision on Thursday to the host, Westmont Warriors, the #9 ranked NAIA school in the U.S.  All 10 players are in the game with 11 + minutes for UFV tonight.

Calgary Surrenders Lead in Final Minutes

 

 

Hot 2nd half garners win for the Knights

team photo-Lars Schleuter

Lars Schleuter scores 18 , but UC drops a game to Warner-Pacific

 Warner-Pacific Knights 93  Calgary Dinos  86  – The Dinos 2nd game down in Chandler, AZ  was looking good at the half.  Calgary takes a 46-36 half-time lead as Lars Schleuter is hot from the outside.  The 2nd half is a different story, as the Knights charge back with 57 points, and the Dinos cool off with  40.

Most of the damage is done in mid-frame with a 12-1 run from W-P, then again with a 24-10 blitz as they approach 2 minutes.  Calgary get 23 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assts from  Thomas Cooper, and 18 points  by Schleuter.  Jhony Verrone counted 13 points / 3 assists.   Warner-Pacific hit 28/40 free throws vs Calgary’s 13/19.  Box Score 

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, (L), with an incredible winning record in U-Sports.                                           Kevin Hanson, UBC, (Rt) who tops Canada West coaches.

  •  The 15 winningest active coaches   (5 yrs +)  in U Sports (CIS) –  1.  Dave Smart, Carleton – 504 wins – 45 losses = .918  … in 17 years !   2. James Derouin, Ottawa – 173-52 = .769 … 7 yrs   3. Kevin Hanson, UBC – 390-141 = .734  in 17 years   4. Barry Rawlyk, Saskatchewan – 148-60 = .712  in 7 years   5. Amos Connelly, McMaster – 128-59 = .684  in 7 years   6. Steve Konchalski, St. FX – 628-308 = .670  in 42 years!   7. Roy Rana, Ryerson – 126-67 = .653 in 7 years  8. Dave DeAveiro, McGill  (Ottawa) – 329-181 = .645  in 16 years  9. Craig Beaucamp, Victoria – 266-156 = .630  in 14 years   10. Chris Oliver, Windsor (Queens) – 242-154 = .611 in 14 years    11. Adam Friesen, Fraser Valley – 77-49 = .611  in 5 years   12. Barnaby Craddock, Alberta (Brandon, UFV) – 211-143 = .596  in 12 years   13. Jonah Taussig, Saint Marys – 86-61 = .585  in 5 years   14. Dan Vanhooren, Calgary – 292-209 = .583  in 17 years     15. Mike Raimbault, Winnipeg (Brandon) – 126-105 = .545  in 8 years.

 

 

Bears, Dinos, Wesmen Riding High

 

THURSDAY –  CITY GAMES IN THE PRAIRIES –

Wesmen have a higher perch than Bisons    

William Sesay, Wesmen guard.

William Sesay, Wesmen guard.

At 6-2 for the season, the Winnipeg Wesmen, under 7th year Coach Mike Raimbault, enter this last week of the opening half of League play 4th in the standings. Their opponents in the weekend’s “Duckworth Challenge’, the Manitoba Bisons have a very different view.

The Herd are wallowing in a last place tie at 2-6, and are certainly the more desperate team in the series.   This all-Winnipeg showdown may be just what the Herd need to get their confidence on the rise.  A home and home sweep could send them off to the break with  a much  more positive outlook. They are, however, facing a Wesmen squad who are playing very well.  

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-03-41-am

Winnipeg –  Denzel Lynch-Blair – 16.3 ppg / 5.8 rebs/ 4.6 asst/ 2.3 steals, Sean Tarver –  14.6 ppg/ 39.6% from 3, 5 rebs/ 1.9 steals, Narcisse Ambanza – 11.4 ppg/ 59% FG, 3 rebs/ 2.1 asst, Wiliam Sesay – 11 ppg/ 43% from 3/ 8.5 rebs/ 4 assts, Ryan Oirbans – 8.5 ppg/ 6.9 rebs/ 2.6 blocks

 

Manitoba –   Keith Omoerah  15 ppg/8 rebs/ 2.5 asst/ 2.3 steals,  Justus Alleyn  15.8 ppg/ 3 rebs/ 2 asst, AJ Basi    13.5 ppg/ 3 rebs/ 2.3 steals, Ilarion Bonhomme  12 ppg/ 4.5 rebs/ 3.5 asst , Our call –  The Bisons will be up for this series, but Winnipeg should get at least a split.  (Thursday at UM – 8 pm, Saturday at  Wpg 7 pm)

 

Dinos invade Cougar territory ‘on a roll’ 

Mitch Ligertwood, Dinos forward.

Mitch Ligertwood, Dinos forward.         photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

The Cougars are sitting at 4-2, and have some great talent in their first five, but their assignment is a daunting task.  In the 5-1 Dinos they face the CW leaders in points/ game, FG%,  3 pt%, and steals per game.  Calgary rolls over a playing line-up that consistently involves all 12 players. 

But the Cougs played them tough back in October, and they may catch UC in an ‘overconfident’ phase, with all their 25 and 30 point wins ‘pumping their tires’.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-04-18-pm

Mt. Royal –  Josh Ross 18.7 ppg/ 10.8 rebs/ 3.3 asst/ 1.5 steals, Brett Layton  17.3 ppg/ 10.5 rebs/ 2.5 blocks,  Derek Wolf  12.3 ppg/ 3 rebs/ 2.3 asst, Glen Yang  12.3 ppg/ 2.5 rebs/ 2.2 asst

Calgary –   Thomas Cooper  24.3 ppg/ 5.3 rebs/ 2.7 asst/ 2.3 steals,  Mambi Diawara  15.2 ppg/ 6.3 rebs/ 2 asst/ 2.2 steals, Lars Schleuter  12 ppg/ 47% from 3/ 3 rebs, David Kapinga  9.5 ppg/ 57% FG/  3.3 rebs/ 4.3 asst/ 2.2 steals,    Our call –  Dinos wear down the Cougars starters  (Thursday at MRU at 8 pm, Sat at UC at 7 pm)

 

League leaders have so many pluses in Edmonton clash

Alberta's Mamadou Gueye

Alberta’s Mamadou Gueye      photo-  U of A Athletics

The Golden Bears are 8-0 and appear to be improving week after week.  They are 

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-2-21-51-pmnow a deeper and more confident crew.  As much as we admire the way the Griffins have battled their way to their 3-5 record thus far, this series for bragging rights ‘Along the N. Saskatchewan’  seems almost pre-determined.  Advantage Bears with shooters like Austin Waddoups (14.8 ppg/ 49% FG/ 52% from 3), and forwards as efficient as Mamadou Gueye (14.3 ppg/ 7.4 rebs) and Brody Clarke (14.8 ppg/ 7.1 rebs).  A big hurdle for Thadius Galvez, Denzel James and the Mac squad, who give up 15 + ppg more than U of A.    Our Call – a decisive Bears sweep .  (Thursday at     U of A at 8 pm,  Sat at MacEwan at 2 pm)


 

Overtime –

UBC' Conor Morgan

UBC’ Conor Morgan

  • In his summer job as a bartender, UBC’s Conor Morgan accidentally sliced a couple of fingers on his shooting (Rt) hand.  But, as T’Birds’ Coach Kevin Hanson says in this Vancouver Sun article from  Howard Tsumura  Morgan’s drive to improve his game in the summer has been paying dividends.  Despite the injury, which still leaves some numbness in the hand, Morgan is tearing up Canada West opponents on a weekly basis, for the 6-0 T’Birds. 

 

 

Big 2nd Half Leads to Dinos Road Win

 

Calgary defense creates havoc in the Lethbridge back-court

dinologo1

 #3 Calgary 95  at Lethbridge 71 –  This is an odd one from the outset, with neither team looking sharp in the opening 10 minutes.  A messy ball-handling effort, especially by Lethbridge (22 turnovers), as they face relentless  Calgary pressure.  After the 10-7 cold start, the Dinos (4-1) wind up 10/20 from 3 pt range, and 46% from the floor to only 37% for UL (4-3) . With just 1 point at the half, Thomas Cooper comes through with 18 in the 2nd to pace the  57 point, 2nd half outburst.      Dinos – Thomas Cooper 19 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 asst/ 3 steals, Lars Schleuter 16 pts/ 4 of 6 from 3, Mambi Diawara 15 pts/ 8 rebs.  Pronghorns –  Elliott Sentance 21 pts/ 10 rebs,,  Dejon Burdeaux 7 pts/ 9 rebs/ 8 asst/ 4 steals      Box Score 

Ryan Cunningham is hot for the Cougars.

Ryan Cunningham is hot for the Cougars.

at Mt. Royal 90  MacEwan  66 –  Another strong offensive effort from the Cougars, who are 53.7% from the floor, including 9/18 from 3 point range. 4 MRU players in double figures, with a career night for Ryan Cunningham with 22 points.   Mt. Royal now 4-1 on the season, while Mac slips to 2-5.     Cougars –  Cunningham 22 pts/ 4 rebs, Josh Ross 12 pts/ 10 rebs/ 6 asst, Glen Yang 15 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 asst   Griffins – Thadius Galvez  21 pts/ 3 rebs,  Adonis Monfort-Palomino 10 pts.  Box Score  

Winnipeg  93  Brandon 83 – The Bobcats (2-5) trail by as many as 24 points earlier on as Winnipeg start a smaller, quick line-up . BU come back to within 5, but , with 5 players in double figures, the Wesmen (5-2) hold on in the final minutes . Wesmen – Narcisse Ambanza 23 pts/ 6 rebs/ 4 asst,  Denzel Lynch-Blair 19 pts/ 6 rebs, Sean Tarver  18 pts/ 6 rebs     Bobcats – Earl Thompson Jr.  28 pts/ 10 rebs, Tyvon Cooper, 27 points/ 4 rebs/ 8 asst   Box Score


 

The Eccentric Canada West Schedule (Part 3)

  • Editor’s note –  Yes, we do carry on about this schedule, but it such an obvious target.  We understand that the League office is receiving unsolicited alternate scheduling ideas for future seasons.  What a surprise!

Following are the number of home and away games for Canada West teams this season. A bit of a ‘mish-mash’, you’ll notice …

Alberta – 10-10     Brandon 11-9, Calgary 11-9,  UFV 11-9,  Lethbridge 10-10, Mac 9-11, Manitoba 9-11, MRU 10-10,  UBC-Okanagan  10-10, Regina 10-10, Saskatchewan 10-10, TRU  10-10, Trinity  9-11, UBC 11-9, UNBC 10-10, UVic 9-11, Winnipeg 10-10

No, this is not equitable, but some of these differences could be fixed with a little more home and home activity. Here … UBC and Trinity Western play one at War Memorial and the next at Langley.  Shazam!  They’re both 10 home and 10 away.  And … Calgary does the same with MacEwan, evening out both to 10-10. Manitoba and Brandon should play a home and home , and they both go to 10-10. Now for the Vikes and the Cascades … home and home makes them even at 10-10.

You’re welcome ….  Oh, is that whining I hear about how ‘They owe us from last season?”  Let’s get past that, especially if we want a workable schedule.  Besides, the home and home arrangement is far better from the fan’s perspective.  The doubleheader is not a good format; we know that travel costs pretty well favours these, but the more we can do home and homes, the better for marketing the product.  It builds rivalries, and makes it more interesting for everyone  involved.

We can’t get everyone into home and home games and still maintain 10-10 for everyone with this 17 team League alignment.  Regina and Saskatchewan should definitely play one at each other’s gym every year, but who else can they combine with?  Brandon, maybe.  Yes, Brandon has 4 home and homes, and Sask and Regina 2 each.

 


Wednesday / Thursday scores from the East –

#6 McMaster 92  Guelph 77,   Laurier  90  Western Ont. 84   OT,  St. FX  1-2  Cape Breton 91    …      #9  McGill 96 Concordia 56,  #7 Dalhousie 75 at Acadia 71