Home Teams Favoured to Advance

 

The higher-ranked home teams are consensus favourites in this week’s Q-Finals

Keith Omoerah is one of several UM Bisons playing at the top of his game right now. Photo by Jeff Miller Bison Sports

Keith Omoerah is one of several UM Bisons playing at the top of his game right now.                  Photo by Jeff Miller,  Bison Sports

#5  Fraser Valley  at  #4  Manitoba Bisons – The Cascades have won the last 4 games with the Bisons, including a Fall pre-season contest in Winnipeg.  If we fast-forward to February, Manitoba copyhowever, we have Manitoba completing their regular season with 7 straight wins.  The Bisons have more consistent winning efforts with Ws  over UBC, Lethbridge, Calgary … in regular season no one has done better than a split with the CIS #9 ranked Herd.  UFV, in contrast, literally ‘limped in’ with  4 losses in their final 8 games, and lost to each of the other 5 Explorer teams at least once this season.
Injuries and illness have limited the Cascades, and they don’t have the same depth.  Nate Brown has been in and out of their line-up, and he is a big key, if they are to advance. However, look at the experience in the top 5-7 players … Fr Valley5th year all-star, Kevon Parchment, does it all at the wing, and the guard combo of Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhiilon are solid, and Navjot Bains is under-rated , with 9 ppg and 7.5 rebounds.
Manitoba will be favoured .  Their home court, they shoot far more FTs, score more , and play at a higher pace .  UM has high quality guards … A. J. Basi, Justus Alleyn,  and Ilarion Bonhomme, While Keith Omoerah (big guard-wing) 9.8 rebs/ 13 ppg/ 3.8 assts. Forwards – Wyatt Anders 9.8 reb, Brett Jewell, Jon Alexander.
It’s hard not to pick the Bisons, but UFV have some veterans who believe in themselves, and Coach Friesen is no stranger to play-off pressure.  Game times – Central, Thursday  7 pm  Fri- 7 pm, * Sat. – 3 pm

#7 Regina  at  #2 Thompson Rivers –  Regina are in the air today, winging their way to TRU Wolf Pack copyKamloops, after a 2 day prep for this Q-Final against the Explorer Division’s top team, TRU.  We have no update on the health condition of the Cougars, after last week’s ‘campus plague’ had brushed some team members.
What UR will find in the B.C. interior is a big, skilled, confident Wolf Pack team with an exceptional front line;   6-10, Josh Wolfram (19 ppg / 9.6 rebs), 6-7, Volodymyr Iegorov (18.4 ppg/ 7.1 rebounds), 6-4, Luke Morris (12.5 ppg/ 6.3 rebs)  are a formidable trio. Reese Pribilsky is a 5th year guard who can score and distribute, and 6-5 Gerard Gore appears ready to make an impact with some recent efficient scoring and steady rebounding. The Pack shoot the ball well, inside and out, and imagesfrom the foul line, although they don’t get there enough. They do a good job on the boards, and they take good care of the ball.
The visiting Cougars will need a better shooting effort to begin this series  than last week’s with Winnipeg, if they hope to come out on top vs TRU.  Jonathan Tull (17 ppg), Brandon Tull (12 ppg), Alex Igual, and Andre McGowan have the games to give the ‘Pack a real run, but shooting and rebounding will be the key.  Contending with TRU’s size will be a bigger challenge if big Stephen Shields is still not available on Thursday . The Cougars want to run, and can score from the break with J. Tull and McGowan.  Their 3 point shooting usually comes from Will Tallman, McGowan, and Igual.
If there’s an upset in this Q-Final round, it could be in this series, if Regina were to be at their best, and TRU were feeling the ‘pressure’ of a home crowd.   Game times –  Pacific – 7 pm, 7 pm, *7 pm, if necessary

UBC's Jordan Jensen-Whyte uses speed, power, and finesse to get the ball to the hoop for the 'Birds.

UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte uses speed, power, and finesse to get the ball to the hoop for the ‘Birds.        photo – The Ubyssey

# 6  Lethbridge at  #3  UBC –  There’s a temptation to rate the T-Birds as huge ubcfavourites, with a home floor, and the League leading team FG% – 47%, and rebound margin – +9, averaging 83 ppg and giving up just 71. The ‘Birds  beat the ‘Horns twice at this same venue in League play in early January, and CW records tell us that UL last beat UBC in Vancouver in 1999.  We are, however, going to give the Pronghorns consideration for their veteran depth, and the key role that their 2 talented imports could play.
Brandon Brine (19 ppg, 6.7 rebs)), a 5th year, 6’6’  Aussie  can go for 30, and can scoop 10-12 rebounds on any given night, while, if he has recovered sufficiently from leg injuries,  guard Dejon Burdeaux (12.5 ppg, 4.5 rebs,3.5 'horndasst, 3.4 steals,) a California product,  is a load at both ends, with a slashing offensive style , and the quick hands of the Canada West steals leader. Rob Olsen (15 ppg) is among the League’s best 3 point % shooters at 41.8%.  The ‘Horns, with younger forwards, Zac Overwater (6-8), Chris Vaughn (6-9), and Mike Pierzchala (6-5), have some size to try and match the Thunderbirds.
But the T-Birds have this ‘War Memorial edge’ – it’s a tough place for visiting teams to win.  Three ‘Birds are major scoring / rebounding threats – Conor Morgan (7.3 rebs) and Jordan Jensen-Whyte (5 rebs) are near 15 ppg apiece, and 6-8 David Wagner (5.5 rebs) has a well-honed touch on the inside (12 ppg). With 6-8 Patrick Simon, 6-7 Luka Zaharijevic, and 6-7 Will Ondrik, UBC has more than enough size to intimidate.  Import guards Phil Jalalpoor and A.J.Holloway do a good job of keeping the offense on track.
A Lethbridge win in this match-up would be a surprise; not an impossibility, but certainly and eye-opener.    Thursday – Saturday … 7 pm  Pacific for all 3 games (* if the 3rd is necessary).
#9 Alberta  at  #1 Calgary  –  Do all the season’s stats go out the window when we talk Dinos14about a Dinos v Bears play-off series? Well, no, but there is a tradition of very hard-fought games, many of which have gone right down to the wire. We don’t think Calgary will dominate the Bears this weekend, but we do think, based on their depth and season’s performance, that they should be the odds-on favourites.
Alberta comes with a stingy defense, which surrenders an average of 71 ppg, but their offense (68.5 ppg) has been lacking punch in many games this campaign. The FG shooting stats are shaky   – 39% from the floor, 29% from 3, but they hit 73.5% from the line. Mamadou Gueye, their 6-7 Quebec import, scores 18.5 ppg, and 7.5 rebounds, while rookies Brody Clarke , a 6-8 post (12 ppg, 6.3 rebs), and Colby Jackson , a 5-9 guard (8 ppg, 4.7 assists, 1.2 steals)  are also big contributors on the attack.   7-1 Brett Roughead makes his presence felt on defense, and can mix it up in the paint.
Calgary has speed and quickness going both ways, with point men David Kapinga, and Torrez McKoy taking the lead. If their defense makes things hard for Gueye, Clarke, and Jackson of U of A, the Dinos should have enough fire-power to get the job done at the Bears 3other end.  CW’s #1 scorer, Thomas Cooper (26 ppg), has range, quickness, and a remarkable ability to get to the rim.  He has a pair of outstanding 3 point shooters ‘riding shot-gun’ – Josh Owen-Thomas (44.6%) and Lars Schleuter (44.2%).
Everyone who plays can score – with wing-men Jasdeep Gill (7 ppg) and Dallas Karch (6 ppg)  capable of bigger things in big games. UC has as many as 4 posts set to go, with the 5th year, 6-7 Matt Letkeman leading the way, but 6-7 Mitch Ligertwood, 6-7 Matt Ellis, and 6-6 Connor Foreman are ready at any time.  These teams present a big contrast in style, with Calgary on the run, and Alberta almost looking to limit the number of possessions. The Bears defense could hamper the UC attack, but not enough, by our estimation to secure an upset here.
Games are (Mountain) Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 7 pm, and * Sunday at 2 pm, if needed.


 

 

Overtime –

  • Error ! –  We were relying on some old info regarding Quebec play-offs … their tournament will have 4 teams (where previously they involved only 3) .  There are League games left, but the match-ups have already been decided –
    In the semi-finals – Laval plays McGill and UQAM plays Concordia.    All games at McGill  on  March 11-12.
  • The OUA announced a change in the final League results on Monday …   York U. self-reported an eligibility violation for one of their players, and consequently they forfeited 3 wins, taking them out of play-off consideration.  U. Toronto is elevated from 4th to 3rd in their Division, and they get the #10 seed previously held by the Lions.
  • Fraser Valley Coach, Adam Friesen (right) , on his Cascades’ challenge vs the A FriesenManitoba Bisons in Winnipeg,  “It takes strong leadership, good chemistry and mental toughness to have success on the road in the playoffs,” Friesen noted. “The challenge is that you’re having to face a good team, because they’ve earned home court.” “They’re well-rounded,” Friesen noted. “Their bigs are a physical presence down low, and their guards are versatile and can shoot from deep. “They’re challenging, and we’ve got to do our best to figure it out. Controlling the pace of the game will be important.”  (From UFV Sports – Dan Kinvig)
  • Lethbridge 5th year players, Rob Olsen and Jared Baker , as they prepare to play at UBC in their Q-Final series, “I don’t want it to end. This has been such a big part of things, I know none of us want this weekend to be the end of our basketball careers,” (Olsen) said.  As for Baker, “I’ve been playing competitive basketball since what, Grade 4?” he said. “Maybe even earlier than that. No, I don’t want it to end, none of us do.”

10 Wins is the Target for Pioneer

 

 

Can You Count To 10 ?

Can the Bears and Mamadou Gueye de-rail the HUskies shot at the playoffs?

Can the Bears and Mamadou Gueye de-rail the HUskies shot at the playoffs?                                       photo – U. Alberta Athletics

10 is the magic number for entry to the playoffs as a Pioneer Division team,  especially if you’re the Saskatchewan Huskies ! Canada West’s Evan Daum has produced a playoff possibility primer for the fans going into this week’s play, and that’s a great service to those many of us, who are mathematically challenged ! Here’s Evan’s analysis –

Who’s clinched in the Pioneer (seven playoff berths): Calgary, UBC, and Manitoba have all clinched a playoff spot.
Possible clinches this weekend: Calgary can clinch first overall with a sweep of Regina.
Regina can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Calgary,  or a Saskatchewan loss against Alberta … Winnipeg can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Lethbridge
Lethbridge can clinch a playoff spot with a sweep of Winnipeg … Alberta can clinch a playoff spot with a sweep of Saskatchewan.

We are not, however, afraid to go out on a limb by making assumptions based on past performance. so the real key series is Alberta at Saskatchewan.  The Bears are in with a win to get to 10!  Everything hinges on the Huskies record over the next 4 games. 2 at home with the Bears and 2 down the highway in Regina  next week vs the Cougars. The ‘Dogs need to win all 4, or they’re gone, if we assume Lethbridge can win at least 1 of 4 games (and they can and will, as they finish with 2 at home vs Trinity W) .  Winnipeg already has 9 wins, and has the tie-breaker with 2-0 over Saskatchewan.

Victoria Vikes (7-11) get the bye this week.

 In the Explorer –  (three playoff berths):
The analysis from Mr Daum  Thompson Rivers has clinched first …  UFV can clinch a playoff spot with a victory against Thompson Rivers , or a combination of losses by MacEwan against UBCO and Mount Royal against UNBC …  UBCO can clinch a playoff spot with a sweep of MacEwan and one Mount Royal loss.

GriffinsHome copy
Yes, well,  we look at this week’s MacEwan at UBC-O series as the crucial set.  A sweep by either team will get them in is our ‘guesstimate’ … Mac has a useful win over TRU, should they be tied for 3rd.  MRU needs to sweep, then get help from TRU beating Okanagan twice, and UNBC over Mac at least once.   Now the head starts to hurt …. We have to like UBC-O, since they’re at home, but if they split this week, Mac has a shot if they beat UNBC twice to finish.  OK, that’s confusing enough.  Let’s play !

Pioneer-

Thursday / Friday  –  

Calgary's Torrez McKoy and his 'mates have a home series vs Regina this week.

Calgary’s Torrez McKoy and his ‘mates have a home series vs Regina this week.                          photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

Regina at Calgary –  Homers !  That’s what these teams are against each other recently … at Calgary, the Dinos are 5-0 in the last 5 League games vs the Cougars, and at Regina, it’s 6-2 Cougars over the Dinos in that same time frame.  Motivation here is about equal, with Calgary looking to clinch 1st place, and Regina wanting to boost their playoff ranking.  Key match-ups are –  point – UC David Kapinga, Torrez McKoy  vs UR Alex Igual, Aaron McGowan …wing – UC  Thomas Cooper vs UR Jonathan Tull … forwards – UC  Matt Letkeman, Lars Schleuter vs UR  Stephen Shields, Will Tallman.  Big crowds expected … tough, competitive games !  (both at 8 pm Mtn)

Friday / Saturday –  
Lethbridge at Winnipeg –  Does this Lethbridge  zone defense seem explicitly designed to play the Wesmen?  Can the quick, tenacious UW defense slow down the quick-strike ‘Horns attack ?   Do Dejon Burdeaux, Rob Olsen, and Brandon Brine light-up the Ws with their potent offensive power?  Can Denzel Blair-Lynch get enough scoring help to stay with the scoring pace of the Pronghorns?  8 pm Central for both nights. Tune in to Canada West TV for these and other highlights

Alberta at Saskatchewan – This series has had a major impact on Canada West standings for a number of years;  usually it has been in a battle for 1st, 2nd, 3rd , but now it’s for playoff survival.  The ‘Dogs are backed into a corner, and have to fight for a post-season spot with 2 wins this week.  Alberta is coming off a pair of wins last week, and would love to sideline the Huskies. Mamadou Gueye has his game in order for the Bears, and, if their guards can slow down Chan DeCiman , Evan Ostertag and Co. , they may do just that. Both games are at 8 PM Central.

UBC at Brandon –  A few factors in play here … The ‘Birds have bombed the Bobcats 10 straight games  dating back to 2008.  This is not a ‘banner year’ for the ‘Cats (1-15) … the T-Birds are prepping for playoffs that will see them ultimately host the CIS Nationals.  We’re not sure that Brandon’s  D.J. Jordan and Earl Thompson Jr. can, between the 2 of them, score enough to overcome the difference in depth between these teams.  We’ll ‘bravely’ call UBC to sweep.  Games are 8 pm  Fri/ 7 pm Sat – Central.

Manitoba at Trinity Western –  This is a miss-match of one team, Manitoba, working their way to a possible CW title, and another, TWU, fighting for just a bit of respectability.  Manitoba has so many players now ‘running with the Herd’ … A.J Basi, Justus Alleyn, Keith Omoerah, Wyatt Anders, Jonathan Alexander and more.  Trinity usually counts on a hot hand from one or both of Kelvin Smith and Lucas Mannes, and it has not been enough.

A Hot Time in the Okanagan !

The eyes of the ‘Explorers’ are on Kelowna, where the UBC-O Heat try to stay ahead of their primary rivals for 3rd place, the MacEwan Griffins.  In Abbotsford, we see if Fraser Valley can muster up enough fresh bodies to take a serious run at the vicious TRU Wolf Pack, who have been terrorizing the Division for much of the season.  And, over in Prince George, Mt. Royal needs 2 wins over UNBC and their prayers answered elsewhere, if the Cougars have any hope of a post-season appearance.  Games are 8 pm and 7 pm Pacific time for all 3 series in the Explorer. (3 playoff spots at stake).

Mitch Goodwin and the UBC-O Heat have a vital series at home vs MacEwan.

Mitch Goodwin and the UBC-O Heat have a vital series at home vs MacEwan.

MacEwan at UBC-Okanagan –  The Griffs are the masters of the weekend split, having gone 1-1 in 6 of their 9 series to date this season, including the November pair with Okanagan. The Heat have won 3 of their last 4 games, and, when they get scoring from 4 and 5 players, they have beaten everyone in the Explorer.  Neither team, however, has been all that predictable.  So … Mitch Goodwin and Aldrich Berrios vs Denzel James and Thadius Galvez ?  Not really !  The ‘supporting cast is critical for both squads.  Too tough to call this series, but a sweep would be a surprise, either way.

Thompson Rivers at Fraser Valley – It has been the recent habit of the Cascades to win at home and struggle on the road; in late November in Kamloops, UFV were trounced by 14 then 30 by the ‘Pack.  Fraser Valley are 7-1 at home, and have responded to many challenges this season, but Thompson Rivers may be too much to handle, with their size and skill.  Nate Brown needs Kevon Parchment back, and Manny Dulay has to have a hot Vijay Dhillon as an option. It could happen, but the odds are longer than they have been in years.

Mt. Royal  at UNBC  –  The Timberwolves have had a rough go this year, made worse by losing their injured point man Billy Cheng and dropping all 8 of their games since the Christmas break. MRU’s post tandem of James Lefebvre and Brett Layton may give UNBC real trouble, and the guard match-up with MRU’s Glen Yang vs Elliot Rowe for the ‘Wolves may be decisive.  The Cougars have some developing depth, but haven’t proven their ability to win 2 games in a weekend.


 

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The Calgary Dinos climbed another spot this week from 5th to 4th as they win 2 games to extend their winning streak to 10.  UBC jumps over McGill into 7th ranked, and, despite their gaudy 14-2 record, Thompson Rivers stays in 9th spot.

The Ryerson Rams continue to impress at #1, and Ottawa is in 2nd again, just ahead of the defending CIS champs, the Carleton Ravens. In the OUA this week, we see the Ottawa teams travel to SW Ontario  … #2 UO and #3 Carleton take on #6 McMaster and #5 Brock.

 

Two Weeks – ‘Do or Die’ Games

 

 

 Two weeks will decide playoff slate in Canada WestScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.48.24 PM

As we look at the slate of games ahead for this week, we are reminded how difficult it usually is to get a sweep in Canada West this season, with the parity in our League.  When the top 3 or 4 teams do win a pair, as we saw last week, it separates them from the pack.
Ergo … the UC Dinos snatch a nail-biter from U of L on Saturday, and now have a real shot at the #1 spot.  Manitoba Bisons, with 2 wins over Winnipeg,  finish up at  TWU this week, and appear to be solid in 3rd place with a predicted sweep. Regina Cougars made a big move by getting 2 from UVic, but they now have 4 competitive games, at Calgary, then at home vs the dreaded Huskies.

The UBC Thunderbirds come off a bye week, and head way East to Brandon for a series we might call a mis-match, but the ‘Cats will be wanting to spoil the party for the ‘Birds.  UBC is home vs Winnipeg to finish the regular season, and they could really de-rail the Wesmen in their run for the playoffs.

Lethbridge Pronghorns stay on the road, and they need at least a split in Winnipeg to secure 4th, assuming they can win 2 at home against Trinity W in the final week.  It gets very sticky at this point, as the Winnipeg Wesmen need 2 wins in their last 4 (home vs Leth., at UBC) to be higher than 7th, and 1 to get into that last slot.  Alberta Golden Bears have 3 games left, and need 1 win to get into the playoffs; the Bears are at Saskatchewan then home for 1 game vs Calgary; the U of S Huskies need 4 wins to finish, which will be tough against traditional rivals like U of A and Regina.  UVic Vikes do not control their own fate, and are most likely out of the post season, with a best record of 9-11 if they beat Brandon twice at home in the final week.

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Mac and Okanagan Duel for Third – Explorer DivisionScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.48.38 PM

We have a ‘must -win’ situation  for both UBC-O Heat and MacEwan Griffins this week, as they square-off for 3rd place.  It is likely to be one of 2 or even 3 series splits this week, with not much separating the teams, especially when you take home court in consideration .  The Heat taking 2 might be a surprise, but would lock it up for them, while MacEwan need to make up ground over the final 2 weeks just to get to a tie-breaker scenario.

The top 2 teams are in Abbotsford, and a split seems reasonable here, but only if Kevon Parchment is back in action for the Fraser Valley  Cascades as they face the 14-2 Wolf Pack of TRU.  UFV is 7-1 at home and 3-5 away, while TRU are 7-1 both home and away; the ‘Pack are favoured, but we see the Cascades vets answering the call here.

Mt. Royal Cougars have a chance to sweep at UNBC , but the T’Wolves showed on Saturday at TRU that they have some fight remaining, despite their 3-13 record and their injury woes.  The Cougars are 2-6 on the road, and need a big weekend to improve on that mark.

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The Payton Manning ‘Thanks to All My Teammates’ Awards

The opening week of February was, indeed, ‘The Turn For Home’ , with now just 2 weeks

Ilarion Bonhomme returns to the Herd, and will make a difference.

Ilarion Bonhomme returns to the Herd, and will make a difference.   photo – UM Athletics

left in League play.  We saw so many games last weekend  demonstrating how the ‘stars can truly shine’, and also how much the fate of the team depends on their lesser-known teammates, who come through with essential contributions in critical situations.

Keith Omoerah tallies 39 points, 25 rebounds, and 7 assists to drive the Bisons to a sweep in the Winnipeg ‘Derby’ … but let’s celebrate also the return to the Herd of back-up point man, Ilarion Bonhomme, who gives great experience and depth of scoring, leadership, and defense as the playoffs approach.

Thomas Cooper produces 51 points, many crucial hoops in the 4th quarter, along with 12 rebounds and 13 assists in 2 wins over Lethbridge … but outside shooters, Lars Schleuter and Josh Owen-Thomas go 14/23 from 3 point range for a major impact in a key series.

Mamadou Gueye is the ‘Big Bear’ at Alberta, with his terrific 55 point, 15 rebound, 7 assist series as the GB’s hold tight to the final playoff spot … we also give a nod to red-shirt rookie Brody Clarke, who is a steady force in the front line, as  he counts 33 points, 11 rebounds, 4 asst, 4 steals.

Jonathan Tull steps up again as the top offensive threat for the Regina Cougars, as his 47 points, 12 boards, 5 assists, and 6 steals propel the Cougs to a sweep of the UVic Vikes (their first such double over Victoria in ‘recorded history’) … Tull gets help from several ‘mates, including guard Alex Igual, who is double figures both nights, and the duo of Brian Ofori (17 pts/ 7 rebs) and Aaron McGowan (16 pts/ 8 reb/ 5 asst) , who came off the bench, into the breach, aiding in the big come-back on Saturday.

Fraser Valley splits their series at UBC-O, and they lose their all-star wing man, Kevon

UFV’s Manny Dulay is a key vet in the ‘small, but mighty’ Cascades line-up.

Parchment, for the Saturday game … however, the Cascades see  the return to form of two integral veterans, guard Manny Dulay (40 points, 10 rebounds), and big man Nate Brown, with 37 points and 11 rebounds  in the series.  Let’s hope we see Parchment recover, so UFV can field their best team down the stretch.

MacEwan have the dynamic Denzel James with his 48 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals in a split with Mt. Royal. The Cougars respond with their consistent pair in the post, James Lefebvre (36 pts, 13 reb) and rookie Brett Layton, the League’s top rebounder (10.4 rpg)  … off the bench for the Griffs, fortunately, comes Ryan Coleman, a veteran forward, who scores 15 points / 5 rebs Saturday in their win.  For MRU, the 1st year wing man, Neil Phillip displays his full range of talent, with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 3 blocks in the 2 games.

Dinos Top ‘Horns in Firefight

 

Round 1 to Calgary in a high-scoring affair –

Thomas Cooper's 24 points led the UC Dinos to a key win over UL on Friday.

Thomas Cooper’s 24 points led the UC Dinos to a key win over UL on Friday. photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

at  #5 Calgary 101  Lethbridge 91 –  As advertised, it was an offensive show on Friday in Calgary, as the 5th -ranked Dinos solved the UL zone in the 4th quarter, after seeing a 17 point – 2nd quarter lead disappear in the 3rd.  Again rolling over his line-up, with 10 players at 10 minutes +, Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren got good guard play from both Torrez McCoy and David Kapinga at the top of the attack. 5 UC players in double figures, led by the ever-reliable Thomas Cooper with 24 plus 7 rebounds/ 3 assts. Lars Schleuter (17 pts/6 reb)) and both Matt Letkeman and Dallas Karch with 14 points,  pushed the attack, while Matt Ellis claimed 8 boards in just 13 minutes. UL got 21 apiece from Brandon Brine (8 reb) and Dejon Burdeaux, but Burdeaux’s foul trouble hampered the ‘Horns down the stretch.  Calgary is now 13-3, and Lethbridge in a 9-6 log-jam in the middle of the playoff pack.  Box Score

Bisons get game one of the Red River Rivalry on Friday at home.

Ilarion Bonhomme and the Bisons get game one of the Red River Rivalry on Friday at home.  photo – Manitoba Athletics

at  Manitoba 79 Winnipeg 65 –  The Bisons (12-5) opened with a rush, taking a 27 -14 lead after 10 minutes, and held the Wesmen to 36% from the floor to get a big intra-city win at UM tonight. Manitoba hit 47% FG against the tough UW defense, as A.J. Basi did his thing, hitting 23 points with 6/13 from outside, and Keith Omoerah helped with his 17 pts / 9 rebs/ 5 asst. The Wesmen (9-6) got 20 points from Denzel Lynch-Blair, and some good rebounding by Ryan Oirbans (12) and William Sesay (11), but were ineffective at the offensive end in the 2nd half when they needed a rally.  Box Score

Just for our two visiting B.C. schools in the Pioneer Division (UVic in Regina, and TWU at Alberta), we’ve ordered up a virtual ‘heat wave’ in Saskatchewan and Alberta –   Regina +2, and Edmonton +3 ! Shorts weather out here boys ! Did it help the Vikes and Spartans on Friday ?    A-h-h … No ! )

 Regina  85  Victoria 73 –  The Cougars (9-6)  had the hot hand at 49% from the floor as Jonathan Tull played the lead role with 23 points / 6 rebs/ 4 assts/ 2 steals, and ‘little brother’ Brandon cashed 16 points / 4 assists . The home side controlled the boards (44- 35) , with 6th man, guard Aaron McGowan, grabbing 7, and Stephen Shields 6.  10 Regina 3-pointers vs 4 for UVic really put a stamp on it. The Vikes (7-10) had 17 from Mack Roth and 16 by Jordan Charles, but went down 58- 31 at the half to take any drama out of the contest, as they lose their 5th straight.  Box Score

at Alberta  78 Trinity Western  58  –  A stingy Bears defense chokes off the Spartans offense (29% FG) , and the home team uses a 30 point 2nd quarter to stake themselves to a 49-27 lead at the break.  Mamadou Gueye has a stellar effort with 28 points and 8 rebounds for U of A (8-8), and Brody Clarke chips in 17 points / 5 boards.  Kelvin Smith had 15 points for TWU (1-14), who were out-rebounded 52-37.  Box Score
 at Saskatchewan  77 Brandon  76 –  The Huskies carve out a win, despite 4 missed free throws with seconds left, giving the ‘Cats a shot to win … but, no.  U of S led throughout, but never put it away, as Brandon came to within 1 on several occasions .  D.J. Jordan scored 33 points for BU, with 4 of the Bobcats 10 treys (vs only 3 for the Dogs). Saskatchewan had 4 players in double figures, led by 5th year guard, Evan Ostertag with 15, and Shayne Osayande with 13 plus 6 boards. Earl Thompson Jr. hit 20 points / 8 rebounds for Brandon, but they fall to 1-14, while U of S goes to 5-10.  Box Score


Fraser Valley Out-shoots Heat in Kelowna

Nate Brown and the UFV Cascades take a road win over UBC-O.

Nate Brown and the UFV Cascades take a road win over UBC-O.

Fraser Valley  81  at UBC-Okanagan 65 –  Still with Canada West’s shallowest bench (8 players) , the Cascades play a solid team game. Led by 18 points from Nate Brown (8/11) plus 14 points / 8 rebounds by Kevon Parchment,  UFV hits 55% from the floor as they climb to 10-5.  UBC-O (7-8) cannot do better than 35% from the field, and, despite several mini-runs in the middle frames, they could not challenge in the 4th. 12 points / 8 rebounds from Mitch Goodwin and 13 points each from Aldrich Berrios and Cameron Friesen were Okanagan’s best.  Box Score

 

at Thompson Rivers  87  UNBC 70 –  A slow (13-24 ) start didn’t faze the ‘Pack, as they rang up 31 in next ten minutes and pulled away for a comfortable win in the 2nd half.  52% shooting for TRU (13-2) against 32% for UNBC spells big trouble for the visitors, as Josh Wolfram scores 25 plus 8 rebounds, and Volodymyr Iegorov notches 21 and 10 rebounds to lead the way. Marcus MacKay finds the range for 27 points for the T’Wolves, with an amazing 9/15 from 3 point range; this is not enough, however, to prevent UNBC from dropping to a Division low 3-12.  Box Score

Glen Yang has a big night for MRU as they beat MacEwan on Friday.

Glen Yang has a big night for MRU as they beat MacEwan on Friday.                          photo-  MRU Athletics

 at Mt. Royal 83  MacEwan  74 –  The first game of this crucial set goes to the Cougars as they ride the 26 points from Glen Yang, who converted all 12 of his free throws.  The fouls were a big factor in the outcome, as Mac had 28 to 15 for MRU; that translated into 24 points for the home team to just 7 for the Griffs. The Cougars’ James Lefebvre, with 16 points/ 5 reb, and Brett Layton 12 points / 10 boards also figured prominently for Mt. Royal, who are now 6-9 and tied with the Griffins.   MacEwan got 18 points from Denzel James and 12 points / 11 boards from Chris Mooney, but 22 big turnovers  resulted in 25 Mt Royal points, spelling doom for Mac.   Box Score

 

 


 

More  CIS Scores   –  
Thurs  …  Quebec –  UQAM  82  McGill  78  , Concordia  72  Bishop’s 53
Friday … Atlantic – at St. FX 88  UPEI  85 (ouch!)  , UNB 107  at Saint Marys 97 ,                                  at Acadia 76 Cape Breton 73
Ontario –  at # 1 Ryerson 105 Laurier 82, at #2 Ottawa 78  #3 Carleton 72 ,     # 4 Brock 77 at Toronto 71 , at Windsor 82 Laurentian 62 , Lakehead 78 at York 63, at Algoma 96  Waterloo 68 ,  at Western 75 Nipissing 43 , at Queen’s 93 Guelph 81


 

Overtime –   

  • Manitoba wing man, Keith Omoerah,  on the excitement around the home and home series with Winnipeg, “Every time you play your hometown rival it’s your toughness (that matters),” Omoerah said. “The playbook kind of goes out the window a little bit. It’s just who’s going to play the hardest that weekend. Whoever plays the hardest usually comes out with the victory.”   From the Winnipeg Sun – Kirk Penton.
  • A celebration of the  Life and Accomplishment  of famed  Alberta Colleges coach, Phil Allen, will be held at the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton on Wednesday, February 17  at 10:00 am in the main gymnasium. There will be a reception to follow. Players, Alumni, Colleagues, Family and Friends are all welcome. Please RSVP or contact the family directly – joelallenx@gmail.com

Vikes – Huskies in Feature Series

 

CW … Series of the Week –

Likes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies' Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.

Vikes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies’ Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.          photo – UVic Athletics

#9 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-1) at  Victoria Vikes (2-0) – The Victoria Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

are having yet another ‘Official Home Opener’ for the their bright new, yellow -themed CARSA Centre, as the Saskatchewan Huskies return for this week’s League series. Fans will remember the October opening for the Guy Vetrie Tournament, when the Sled Dogs won 3 games over ‘heavy-weights’, Fraser Valley, Carleton, and the Vikes … that one was 95-72 !

But … this is now.  UVic is 2-0, and ‘finding a different way to get things done on the court’.  A shaky pre-season brought some doubt, but Mack Roth, Reiner Theil, and Grant Sitton are hoping to lead a quick resurgence for the defending Canada West champs.  They, like the Huskies, will be playing a more guard-oriented game, even though both teams pride themselves in getting the ball into the paint.  It’s just not your classic back to the hoop , Chris McLaughlin – type attack.

  • Key Huskies –  Evan Ostertag, Jauquin Bennett -Boire, Shawn Lathan, Trevor Severinski
  • Key Vikes –  Grant Sitton, Brandon Dunlop, Mack Roth, Reiner Theil.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.20.34 PM

One notable match-up is the grizzled  5th year vet, point man Brandon Dunlop (left, above), in his 3rd ‘Tour of Duty’ on the Viking ship, going up against ‘raw rookie’, Jauquin Bennett-Boire (right), the Huskies QB on offense. JB-B is more likely to be a scoring threat, but Dunlop is a cagey and tireless worker, who will give all he has for a Vikes win in both these games.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.  photo – David Moll – UC

#6 Calgary Dinos (2-0) at Manitoba Bisons (1-1) – Home-opener for the Bisons, who have big dreams, but they’ve dropped 5 of their past 6 meetings with the Dinos, and need to find a way to control the diverse Calgary attack.  The trio  of Wyatt Anders on the boards (#1 in CW at 12.5 rpg), AJ Basi (21 ppg) with the deep treys, and point guard Justus Alleyn (4.5 assts, 9 ppg) are central to the Bisons game plan.  Calgary has a 10-11 deep rotation, led by 4th year import wing, Thomas Cooper, averaging a double/double of 25 ppg/10 rebounds. Dallas Karch (11 ppg, 5 rebs) and Lars Schleuter (10 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) are a pair of 6-7 forwards who got off to a good start in week 1.  Both these games should be nip and tuck, and won in the final few minutes.

Winnipeg Wesmen (0-2) at Alberta Golden Bears (1-1) –  Second prize for the Ws is another weekend in Sunny Alberta !  Tough scheduling start for the Wesmen, who need a bigger dose of offensive flow against a Bears team intent on leading with their aggressive defense. UW’s Jelane Pryce is expected to produce 15+ ppg, and needs a better shooting performance this week. Jamar Farlay (14.5 ppg) looks to be a big cog in the offense, but the Wesmen need more ‘hands on deck’. Alberta are good at home, and had Mamadou Gueye, Sebastian Denault, and 1st year import guard, Colby Jackson, score in double figures vs UBC last week.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Bobcats (0-2)  at Lethbridge Pronghorns (0-0) – Opening night for the ‘Horns, who have one of the longer returnee lists in the League.  Guards, Jared Baker, and Rob Olsen, along with forward, Brandon Brine, are ‘prime-time players’, and import guard Dejon Burdeaux (Fresno CC) is a potent back-court addition for U of L . For the revamped Bobcats, DJ Jordan scored19 ppg in Brandon’s 2 losses vs Regina last weekend, and he  gets help from Chris Stanhope (17 ppg) and Earl Thompson Jr., a beast on the boards (10 rpg) who scored 11 ppg .

Trinity Western Spartans (0-2) at UBC Thunderbirds (1-1) – Trinity may encounter  a flock of angry T-Birds this week, after UBC dropped their home opener to Alberta last Friday. Conor Morgan, David Wagner, and Jordan Jensen -Whyte and company figure to do some damage to a TWU squad trying to establish some team cohesion;  Dean Richey (import guard, Spokane, WA) looks like a leader, and Kelvin Smith has the tools; team shooting and rebounding need to pick up.  We note the Spartans improved turnover ratio, as new Coach Aaron Muhic works for a more efficient style.

The 2-0 Regina Cougars get the bye this week.


 

Explorer Division – 

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

MacEwan Griffins (1-1) at  Fraser Valley Cascades  (2-0) –  Another test for the defending Division champions, as they host a veteran-laden Mac team.  UFV may not overwhelm, but they get the job done, with their experience and toughness. Mark Johnson (3rd year tsf from Coll. of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA), is obviously a great addition, and he joins battle-tested vets, like Kevon Parchment and Nate Brown to form another strong Cascades squad. The Griffins will have to earn everything they get; Denzel James and newcomer Thadius Galvez look like a dynamic pair for the Griffs.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent 'Pack attack.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent ‘Pack attack.  – photo – TRU

Thompson R. WolfPack (2-0) at Mt. Royal Cougars (1-1) –  The ‘Pack come in with an 8-0 record over the pre-season and opening week.  Josh Wolfram, Reese Pribilsky, and  Vololodymyr Iegorov are a ‘wrecking crew’ on offense.  The Cougars respond with new-found size and scoring by 1st year post Brett Layton, a 6-8 returned Mormon missionary, who retained and refined some of his hoops skills last summer. James Lefebvre and Derek Wolfe are seniors that MRU will rely on, if they are to get a win vs the ‘Pack.

UNBC Timberwolves (0-2)  at UBC-Okanagan Heat (0-2) –  Here are 2 teams looking for their first victory of the young season.  Both coaches see these as ‘winnable games’, and a split is a necessity, even on this 2nd weekend. The T-Wolves ride the scoring touch of Aussie guard, Rhys Elliot, and an increasingly confident Billy Cheng, who scored 32 in the first of 2 strong team efforts against TRU last week. Okanagan also came to play on the road at Fraser Valley, and they showed more offensive depth, with Dean Johnston, Mitch Goodwin, Aldrich Berrios, and newcomer, Randall Mosca all averaging double figures.


 

Overtime –

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU's new 'secret weapon' !

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU’s new ‘secret weapon’ !  photo – TRU Athletics

  • TRU’s Coach Scott Clark appreciates the impact that  Vololodymyr Iegorov  the 6-7, 3rd year  forward, from Donetsk, Ukraine is making on his WolfPack team.  “He scores in a variety of ways, “ Clark explains. “He doesn’t score in your face. He got to the line, he scores in transition. He scores a three or two. He got a couple from the post some from the back cut. He is like a ‘silent assassin.’ He is a good player and that is the way good players go about their business.”  (From News Kamloops ).  Iegorov scored 29 ppg on opening weekend, and he is a huge addition, playing beside TRU’s other ace big man, Josh Wolfram.
  • You are Thompson Rivers, at 8-0 vs CIS and U.S. Colleges, but do you get even a sniff from the CIS Top 10 voters ?  Ah-h-h, NO!  Why you say? Well, it’s obvious that the Canada West Explorer Division is considered a ‘B League’ .  Any team in the Explorer, even the consistently competitive Fraser Valley Cascades, are passed over by this perception. These teams may have to live with that until 2016-17, when Canada West again merges the teams into one almost unfathomable 17 team League.

Our Canada West Predictions

Cda West

Canada West – Steadfast ( Foolhardy) Predictions !

After carefully assessing past team records, coaching records, scheduling eccentricities, roster experience, roster losses, notable additions … PLUS … wind direction and strength, size, reliability of defense, turnover margin  …. We have a League that’s as close as it’s been in years.  ‘On any given night … ‘  We think no one goes unbeaten!  Our top 3 are not that far away from 7-8-9. Here’s what we think might happen – (alphabetical order … we really can’t be so precise ….)

Evan Ostertag can score for the Huskies.

Evan Ostertag can score for the Huskies.

Pioneer Division –  

3 Favourites –                    Calgary Dinos– a deep, talented, and experienced Calgary team with 11 home and 9 away games; new faces in the playing roster play a key role … Saskatchewan Huskies– a Huskies squad, who have been ‘winners’ for some years now,  landed some good recruits, and they’ll  be even tougher with Matt Forbes  …                        UBC Thunderbirds – the ‘Birds, led by Morgan, Wagner, and Jensen-Whyte, are BIG, talented, and very motivated as the CIS host team.

Brandon Brine may carry the'Horns to the playoffs.

Brandon Brine may carry the’Horns to the playoffs.

A Blanket Over These 6 Squads –    Alberta Golden Bears–  young Bruins, may struggle early, but have Mamadou Gueye, tradition, defensive mind-set, size up front.  Lethbridge Pronghorns–  the ‘Horns, with great guard play, Brine has some help, but their schedule is among the toughest.  Manitoba Bisons – When, if not now ?  Anders back from beyond, good youngsters, but is the defense up to the challenge?  Regina Cougars – Tull brothers, Igual, and improved forwards. Can they get used to winning close games?  Victoria Vikes – they’re defending Champs!    2-6 has to be an aberration, now, can they can generate more offense. Winnipeg Wesmen – maybe a transition year, but Raimbault may get them in the mix. Jelane Pryce needs others to do some scoring.

(Yes, we think 7 of these 9 will be in the playoffs … Calgary, Sask., UBC, and 4 others, but which other 4 ?)

Hopeful  Spoilers –         Brandon Bobcats – this team is almost a wholesale re-make, and it will take some time.  Big man Paul may give the ‘Cats a lift.  Trinity Western Spartans – new Coach, young team, and trying to find a way to play more efficiently. Hayashi ,Jeffers, Richey, and Smith have to lead the rest.


Two 'monsters' will battle in the Explorer Division.

Two ‘monsters’ will battle in the Explorer Division.

Explorer Division –  This is King-Kong vs Godzilla, the ‘bully-boys’ … and the Wolf Pack will give the Cascades all they would want.  The race is for 3rd for the other 4 teams in this group.

Odds-On  –       Fraser Valley Cascades – they’ve been the ‘tall trees’ in this loop for a while, and have more experienced depth and talent returning.  Parchment, Dulay, and Brown are rock-solid.  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack – Fire-power in Kamloops; Wolfram may be MVP material,  and Pribilsky is stellar. They add a ‘super-forward’ from the Ukraine, of all places?

 

Denzel James shines for the 'Griffs.

Denzel James shines for the ‘Griffs.

The Field –    MacEwan Griffins – they have solid returnees, with Denzel James as a dynamo.Their experience may carry them to the playoffs.  Mt. Royal Cougars – Very tall, all of a sudden, but the most youthful team, and may be offensively inconsistent. UBC-Okanagan Heat – They will win more than last year, with sharper guard play, but may still not be ready for ‘prime-time’. UNBC Timberwolves – Tough pre-season schedule.  The Northern ‘Wolves have experience in the back-court, but need some inside strength to compete.


CIS Regular Season Play Opens in Ontario –

Are the Badgers the #1 team in the CIS ?

Are the Badgers the #1 team in the CIS ?

The OUA get started mid-week with 4 games –

Brock at McMaster should be the feature, as both are in the ‘dare- to- be- great pool’ !

Waterloo will meet their fate at Western … no game. Clinic !

Toronto at Ryerson The ambitious Rams should protect their turf against the Blues.

Laurier at Windsor could be a close one, but an edge to the Lancers.


 

Overtime –

  • So … McGill beats Ottawa 74-70, right there in the ‘G-Gs corral !  They have 1 pre-season CIS loss … to Ryerson.  Ryerson lost to Brock, who are unbeaten in CIS games.  Saskatchewan beat Carleton … Calgary beat Saskatchewan … St. FX  ….    We go Brock at #1 !
  • Week 1 games in Canada West – Pioneers – Winnipeg at Calgary, Manitoba at Saskatchewan, Alberta at UBC, Victoria at Trinity Western, Regina at Brandon … bye Lethbridge .  And, in the ‘Junior Loop’ – UBC-Okanagan at Fraser Valley, Thompson R. at UNBC, Mt. Royal at MacEwan.
  • Ottawa is taking a shot at Indiana again this season … Tuesday at Montpetit Hall.  Just a warm-up for League games with Nipissing and Laurentian later in the week !

UFV and Mac – Explorer Previews

 

Fraser Valley Cascades – Coach Adam Friesen, 4th yearFr Valley copy

The UFV Cascades are the ‘Big Trees’ in the relatively young Explorer forest, and they dominated their competition for most of the 2014-15 regular season, then beat the Calgary Dinos in round 1 of the CW playoffs, before losing to UVic, then beating UBC at the Final 4.

Yes, they’ve lost 2 outstanding forwards in Jasper Moedt and Kadeem Willis as well as flashy guard Dom Brooks, but the group of returnees has talent and experience enough to make Coach Adam Friesen’s squad tough again. 5th year wing man Kevon Parchment may be a CW Most Outstanding Player candidate, with his all-round game.  4th year guard, Manny Dulay, is the floor general and shot 39% from 3 pt. range / delivering 4 assists, with a 2.6 Asst/turnover rate. Large-bodied import forward, Nate Brown, will be an even bigger load for opponents in his 4th year.  Guard Vijay Dhillon showed an improving scoring touch in the latter part of the season, and may well see big minutes.

Fraser Valley's Kevon Parchment will help keep the Cascades on top.

Fraser Valley’s Kevon Parchment will help keep the Cascades on top.

Coach Friesen has been busy in his recruiting, and has a couple of ‘high profile’ additions in the well-travelled Mahad Mohamed, import forward Mark Johnson, and Brandon Burke, who was a stand-out in the Ontario Colleges League last season.  UFV has done well in signing local talent in the basketball hot-bed of the Fraser Valley … adding depth they have 1st year red-shirt  Antonio Jhuty, plus Devin Brar, Sasha Otanga, and Jas Gill.

The Cascades have a busy pre-season, with the Seattle Mountaineers in Abbotsford on Sept. 26, then they go to the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tourn. at UVic  for Oct. 2nd vs Saskatchewan, Oct. 3 against the CIS  champs, Carleton, and an Oct. 4th date vs the Vikes.  They also have games vs Trinity Western, Oct. 10, and Vancouver Island U. on the 23rd.

Returnees

Manny Dulay 6-4   G   4th year ,  Surrey, Tamanawis

Vijay Dhillon 6-0     G   4th,      Richmond, Palmer

Kevon Parchment  6-6    W   5th,  Toronto

Navjot Bains    6-6    F   3rd,  Surrey, Tamanawis

Nate Brown      6-6    F  4th,  Fresno, CA

Antonio Jhuty   6-2    G  1st,  Richmond, Palmer

Marcus Morgan 6-2   G   1st,   Winnipeg, Taylor

Recruits

Mark Johnson   6-5    F   ,   Palm Springs, CA, tsf Coll. of Desert

Madison Cooley 6-9    P   ,   Delta, tsf Kwantlen Coll.

Sasha Otanga    6-2    G ,    Abbotsford,  tsf Columbia Bible

Jas  Gill            5-9      G   1st,  Abbotsford,  Yale HS

Brandon Burke 6-4      F ,     Toronto, tsf. Algonquin Coll.

Mahad Mohomed 6-3   G ,     Toronto, Desert Vista HS


MacEwan Griffins – Coach Eric Magdanz, 4th yearGriffinsHome copy

In year 1 of Canada West play, the Griffs had a deceptive 7-13 won-loss mark; Coach Eric Magdanz points out that 17 of their 20 games were decided by 10 points or less.  “With more depth, and certainly more experience, we feel that we can win a bigger share of these close games this year”, says Magdanz. Mac lost scoring guard Lee Danderfer to graduation, but they will get great leadership from 3 key returnees –  Denzel James, with his explosive style, was their leading scorer at 18 ppg, adding 6 rebounds. Keith Gerdes (13.3 ppg / 5.6 rebs) and Ryan May (11.8 ppg / 7.7 rebs) are a steadying force on the forward line.

The Coach has landed some quality recruits, with Ryan Coleman transfering from the

Mac's Denzel James has proved he can excel in Canada West.

Mac’s Denzel James has proved he can excel in Canada West.

Alberta Colleges League where he was a dominant rebounder and scorer, while import guard, Thadius Galvez, was a 50% shooter from 3 pt. range and ran the offense for his Junior College squad in Oregon.  Another impressive addition is big Atlas St. Paul-Butler, a B.C provincial team player who has the fundamental tools to contribute as a rookie. Chris Mooney, another ACAC transfer, is an adept ball-handler, and good decision-maker as a combo guard.

“We can now play far better ‘off-the bounce’”, suggests Coach Magdanz, “We have far better guard depth.”  The Griffins have retained enough firepower, and they should move up in the 6 team Explorer Division, with a good mixture of experience and youth.

The pre-season has them in Manitoba in early October to play Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Brandon, then they are at home vs Lethbridge and Queen’s Gaels of the OUA. At the Holiday break, Coach Magdanz is excited to be taking his team to the Wesmen Classic in Winnipeg. “We’ll get to see a few teams that we wouldn’t regularly play; it’s a great tournament for our guys.”

Returnees

Ryan May              6-6      F     5th year,     Edmonton

Denzel James        6-2     W     5th ,       Edmonton

Keith Gerdes          6-6     F       4th,      Edmonton

Thomas Jereniuk     5-10   G      4th,     Edmonton

David Grange          5-10   G       3rd,    Edmonton

Deonte Doslov-Doctor   6-2   G    2nd,   Edmonton

Tarik Scott                6-2       G      2nd,  Maple Ridge, BC

Harrison Lane          6-6         F     2nd,    Edmonton

Recruits

Chris Mooney          6-1        G      4th,  Ottawa, tsf NAIT

Cole Aikens             6-8        P      4th ,  St. Albert, AB, tsf Augustana

Ryan Coleman         6-7        F       3rd,   Edmonton, tsf Concordia

Thadius Galvez        6-1        G      3rd,    Ogden, Utah – tsf Treasure V. Jr. Coll.

Tony Wolter              6-1       G       1st,  Calgary, Kentucky Elite Club

Atlas St.Paul-Butler 6-7         P       1st,  Victoria, BC – Oak Bay

Michael Burnham     6-6        F        1st, Winfield, BC

Malik Mate                6-1       G        1st,  Edmonton- Holy Trinity

 

Overtime –

  • UBC’s hosting of the 2016 CIS Final 8 is a ‘one-off’, apparently.  The bids are in for 2017-18, and the ‘Birds are not bidding … Ryerson  is keen on having the Finals back at the Mattamey Centre in Toronto, Carleton and Ottawa are making a joint bid with the Ottawa Senators, and Dalhousie and  Acadia want to bring the Tournament back to Halifax along with Sports & Entertainment Atlantic.
  •  Some late announcements out of Lethbridge, as Coach Mike Hansen adds Dejon Burdeaux, a point guard from Fresno City College (CA),  an All-State California JuCo player last year.  (The 6-0 import is ‘a massive addition to the cause’, says David Wells , our S. Alberta correspondent.) Hansen also announced Lincoln Anderson, who starred for 2 Cardston, AB,  4A provincial champs in 2011-12 and 2012-13. roster.)

Vikes Capture Canada West Title

 

Victoria find a way in Canada West Final  

Marcus Tibbs led the scoring for Victoria, as the Vikes win the Canada West crown.

Marcus Tibbs led the scoring for Victoria, as the Vikes win the Canada West crown.

Victoria Vikes 70  Saskatchewan Huskies 67 –  With both teams guaranteed a trip to Nationals, this Canada West championship may have seemed like icing on the cake, but the ferocity of play belied that notion, with several lead changes, some sharp-shooting from both teams, then a combative finish in the last minute.

Victoria captured their 15th League title, by reaching down and recovering from a V Vike copynasty 3rd quarter, which saw a 9 point half-time lead reversed to a 10 point deficit in the 7 minutes starting the 2nd.  The home-town Huskies went cold in the 4th, and Victoria got just enough offense to creep back in, as Chris McLaughlin and Marcus Tibbs scored key points down the stretch. Tibbs did most of his damage in the opening 20 minutes, and finished the game with 25 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds; McLaughlin had to work hard for his 12 points and 10 rebounds, but he was a big factor at both ends of the floor when it really counted.

The Huskies were on the brink of pulling away for the win, but stalled out in the last 4 minutes; they got another gem of a game from 5th year guard, Ben Baker, who scored 21 pts, grabbed 10 boards, and added 6 assists. Evan Ostertag came off the bench for U of S to hit 7/11 from the floor for 17 points, but their 39% FG shooting just wasn’t enough to get the job done.

Bragging rights in the West, a higher seed, and a better draw at Nationals go to the Vikes;  the CIS Final 8 draw comes out on Sunday, and both these teams will be on flights to Toronto by Tuesday in all likelihood.   Box Score

 

Cascades use the outside shot to win 3rd place game

Manny Dulay is hot from outside, and leads UFV to a 3rd place win over UBC.

Manny Dulay is hot from outside, and leads UFV to a 3rd place win over UBC.

 Fraser Valley Cascades 87  UBC Thunderbirds  71 –  After dropping their ‘win or else’ semi-final games on Friday, the ‘Birds and Cascades could be excused for a lack of fire in this ‘consolation’ tilt.  The Cascades were obviously the more motivated team, as they force  the Thunderbirds into 17 turnovers and beat them on the boards 33-30.  The big difference was a return of their 3 point shooting touch, as UFV hits 12/29 (41%)  vs 4/17 (24%) for UBC.

Very balanced scoring for the Cascades, as it has been most of the season, with 5 players in double figures, led by the 18 of Manny Dulay as he connects on 6/11 from beyond the arc; Nate Brown scores 17 and 7 rebounds, while Kadeem Willis adds 16, and both Kevon Parchment and Dom Brooks tally 15.  UBC has 19 from Kedar Wright and 18 from Tommy Nixon in his final CIS game for the T-Birds.  Box Score

 

Other CIS Playoff action on Saturday –

Quebec Final –

at Bishop’s  Gaiters 68  McGill Redmen 63 – home court proves valuable for the 2nd seeded Gaiters, who take the Cup and the lone Quebec berth at Nationals.

 Ontario Final 4 – at Ottawa U.

Final – Carleton Ravens 103 Windsor Lancers  59 –  The Ravens win the OUA championship in impressive fashion, as they avenge a loss in regular season play to the Lancers.

3rd place game –   Ottawa Gee-Gees  79  Ryerson Rams 66 – The Gee-Gees recover from their upset loss to Windsor, and should be highly seeded at the Nationals.

 

The Field for Nationals – ( draw to be announced on Sunday) 

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 9.36.20 PM

Canada West Final 4 – Preview

 

The Final 4 coaches - Top left, Adam Friesen, UFV, right, UVic's Craig Beaucamp, bottom left UBC's Kevin Hanson, right Saskatchewan's Barry Rawlyk.

The Final 4 coaches – Top left, Adam Friesen, UFV, right, UVic’s Craig Beaucamp, bottom left UBC’s Kevin Hanson, right Saskatchewan’s Barry Rawlyk.

 

Top 4 Seeds Contest Canada West Championship in Saskatoon –

All four top seeds advanced to the Canada West Final 4 this past weekend, some with more drama than others;  UNBC lost 2 straight , but handled themselves very well in a tough match-up against the T-Birds.  Thompson Rivers ‘scared the chicken soup’ out of the # 1 Saskatchewan Huskies, before the ‘Dogs prevailed late in the 3rd game.  The other two series showed more domination by the home team, as both UVic (vs Alberta) and UFV (against Calgary) demonstrated a decided edge in 2 game sweeps.

The defending champs, Alberta, are out, but all four of the qualifiers have plenty of recent experience in this Tournament finale. The ‘Birds have 2 titles in the past 5 seasons, and Saskatchewan 1, while Fraser Valley has been knocking on the door the past 3 seasons, and UVic the last 2.  No advantage there, except the obvious ‘home court / home pressure’ for the Huskies.

Now, let’s take a quick look at several key players on each team, and the team statistics  –

Canada West Final 4 – Facts and Figures – at U. Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Semi-Finals, Friday, March 6 –

UFV's Jasper Moedt, and the Vikes' Chris McLaughlin will have a critical match-up in the 1st  Semi-final

UFV’s Jasper Moedt, and the Vikes’ Chris McLaughlin will have a critical match-up in the 1st Semi-final on Friday.

 

# 3 seed – Victoria Vikes  vs # 2 seed – Fraser Valley Cascades   6 pm Central

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 5.23.23 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 5.23.38 PM

 

The Vikes – Cascades Match-up –

  • Victoria is 6-0 against Fraser Valley in the last 3 seasons, the last time was in pre-season play in October 2014 at Victoria.
  • The Vikes have played in the last 2 Canada West Finals, and gone on to the CIS Nationals. UFV played in Nationals in both 2012 and 2013.
  • Both teams are strong defensively, and both are among the best rebounding units in Canada West.
  • UVic has been the more consistent shooting team, but UVF has 6 players averaging double figures.
  • UVic’s McLaughlin, the CW Most Outstanding Player, has been dominant, but can he do that against Jasper Moedt ? 6-10 vs 6-7 ….
  • Is Marcus Tibb’s quickness negated by the defense of UFV’s Dom Brooks?

    Nate Brown can tip the scales in UFV's favour.

    Nate Brown can tip the scales in UFV’s favour.

  • Is Reiner Theil the defensive stopper that the Vikes need against Kevon Parchment?  Nate Brown? Maybe Mack Roth has the size / quickness? ‘Big Nate’ has both, and is tough to handle.
  • Who’s hot from outside ? Manny Dulay or Brooks for UFV ?  Tibbs or Theil for UVic?  Maybe the X-factor is the ‘Cades’ Vijay Dhillon!  The 2nd yr. guard from Richmond, B.C., transferred from Victoria to Fraser Valley, and he may be hitting his stride just in time for a key playoff role.
  • This should be the lower scoring Semi-Final, and it really is too hard to pick.

 

# 4 seed – UBC Thunderbirds  vs  # 1 seed – Saskatchewan Huskies 8 pm  “

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The Huskies – Thunderbirds  Match-up –

  • UBC has won 7 straight vs U of S, including a sweep in League play in Vancouver in November.
  • The T-Birds missed out on the Final 4  last season, while the Huskies beat UFV for 3rd, and went to Nationals.
  • This game will be high scoring, we would guess.  Lots of foul shooting. Physical. The paint will not be for the faint of heart ….
  • Saskatchewan has been better from 3 pt. range – Collins, Trevor Severinski, Evan Ostertag, Mike Scott.  UBC has Nixon,  and Conor Morgan, bur Andrew McGuinness isn’t shooting as many ….
  • UBC’s Tommy Nixon is the key to their fortunes – if he gets it rolling, gets it in the paint, and gets to the line, the T’Birds offense will fly high. He opens it up for everyone else.

    5th year post, Tonner Jackson, has been solid for the 'Birds.

    5th year post, Tonner Jackson, has been solid for the ‘Birds.

  • Saskatchewan will count on winning the rebound battle – Ben Baker, Connor Burns, Dadrian Collins, Matt Forbes, and crew need to beat UBC’s Nixon, Morgan, David Wagner, Tonner Jackson, and maybe even Brylle Kamen.
  •  Big test for UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte; how will he respond to the ‘all-the-chips-on-the-table’ pressure against the Huskies’ import gunslinger, Scott.
  • Both teams in the 80s … 90s ?  Again, it’s too hard to pick, although many insiders (certainly not lowly outside observers like us) are leaning towards the Thunderbirds.

 

Overtime –Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 7.45.48 PM

  • For those basketball fans in the Calgary area, make sure you’re at the Fighting Tacos 15th Annual NCAA March Madness Party, in support of the Mt. Royal Cougars Team. The Tacos, a notable aggregation of ‘former greats‘ toil in the Calgary Sr. Men’s League. The team has 3 former Cougars, 2 former Dinos, a Huskie and even a Mount Allison guy!  There’s usually a great turn-out, and a lot of fun watching / betting games, eating, drinking, and visiting. All the basics ! Tickets at the door – Richmond Pub – 3919- Richmond Rd. SW  … Come as early as 11 am … evening festivities begin around 4 pm.
  • UNBC copy  Reflections from UNBC Coach, Todd Jordan, a few days after his T’Wolves were eliminated from the play-offs in 2 straight at UBC … “Looking at the season as a whole, the program took a pretty big step moving forward. It was the most successful season to date (in the CIS) and to make the playoffs and a quarterfinal is a pretty big accomplishment. UBC’s program, they were hot coming down the stretch. They have some very talented athletes and it was a good measuring stick for us. We gave them a good run and at the same time, going into War Memorial Gym, it was tough going in on their own turf. But we got the playoff experience.”

Wolves Force 3rd Game vs Huskies

 

TRU Leads Wire to Wire – Parker Paces Scoring

5th year guard, Brett Parker, scores 21 to lead the 'Pack to a 3rd game.

5th year guard, Brett Parker, scores 21 to lead the ‘Pack to a 3rd game against #1 seed, Saskatchewan.

Thompson R. Wolf Pack  81  at Saskatchewan Huskies  75 –  A spirited team bounce-back from the Wolf Pack to square the series and force a 3rd game on Sunday night.  TRU shoots 48% from the floor to 40% for the Huskies, and their 5th year guard, Brett Parker plays an inspired game, hitting 9/13 including 3/3 from outside for 21 points.  Josh Wolfram scores 17, grabs 9 boards, and hits 3 clutch free throws in the final minutes. Reese Pribilsky cashes 5/6 free throws down the stretch to ice the win.

Saskatchewan digs themselves a big hole at 40-25 at the half, but nibbles away to come to within 2 points with about 2:30 left, but TRU finished a pair of pick and roll opportunities and made the crucial free throws.  The ‘Dogs had  6 players in double figures, with 12 from each of Andrew Henry and Dadrian Collins, while Ben Baker had 11 plus 9 rebounds and 9 assists. The 3 pointer got the home team back in it, as they connect on 14/27 – 52%, but TRU plays them shot for shot in the 4th to force another game, this one back at the PAC on the U of S campus – Sunday at 7 pm Central.                  Box Score

 

Dulay Leads Cascades into Final 4 … 4th in 4 seasons for UFV

Manny Dulay strikes from outside for 21 points, as UFV sweeps Calgary.

Manny Dulay strikes from outside for 21 points, as UFV sweeps Calgary.

At Fraser Valley Cascades 72  Calgary Dinos  65 –  Surrendering a 10-24 1st quarter advantage, and 23-39 at the half, Calgary has too steep an uphill in the 2nd 20.  Fraser Valley makes their 4th straight trip to the Canada West Final 4 , joining UBC and Victoria in next week’s championship tournament, with Sunday’s  Huskies vs Wolf-Pack winner the 4th team.  The Cascades shoot just 35% to UC’s 38%, but enjoy 14 extra shots by winning the rebounding 43-39, and the turnover battle 12-16.

Manny Dulay is a stand-out for UFV, scoring 21 on 4/7  from 3 pt range plus 5 assists.  The Cascades two big men, Jasper Moedt (11 pts/13 boards) and Nate Brown (13 pts/7 rebs) do major damage inside.  Calgary gets 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assts from Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson in his last Canada West game, and Rookie of the Year, Lars Schleuter, scores 12.  Box Score

 

More CIS Scores, Saturday –

OUA Quarter-Finals –  #5  Windsor  85  #4 McMaster 70 ,  #1 Carleton 79  Lakehead 54,  #2  Ottawa 116   Laurentian 71,  #3  Ryerson 105 W. Laurier  59  (Final 4 next weekend)

Atlantic Tournament  Semis-   (Upsets in both games, as the 5-seed and 3-seed beat #1 and 2 … so much for our expert analysis of this championship !)

Dalhousie 85   #8  UNB 74  , Saint Mary’s 105  UPEI  92

Quebec – Bishop’s 85 UQAM  65  (Last Q-League games this week) – Final standings – (Top 4 to Tournament at Bishop’s next Friday and Saturday.)

  1. McGill  11-5
  2. Laval   9-7
  3. Concordia 8-8
  4. Bishop’s 8-8
  5. UQAM  4-12