Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

League Championship Week Across Canada

 

All 4 League championship tournaments set to tip-off Friday

This is U-Sports Play-off week right across the country, from the big AUS Tournament in Halifax to the Canada West Final 4 in Calgary.  Besides determining League champions, the 4 tournaments will go a long way to deciding the field for the U-Spots Final 8 Nationals in Halifax – March 9-12.

Here are the match-ups and schedules for the week –

 

Note the unusual times for the Canada West Final 4  draw-  The UC has decided to divide the Final 4 games with a Dinos 1/4 Final Volleyball match (both for Friday and Saturday).  Unfortunate for basketball fans, and not really the way to host a League championship tournament, in our opinion.

Saturday sees the 3rd place game at 3 pm and the Canada West Final at 8 pm. (Both finalists will have qualified for the Nationals in Halifax.) 

 

The Wilson Cup semi-finals and finals are being played in Ottawa this weekend, with the Carleton Ravens a decided favourite.  The 2 semi-final winners will qualify for the Nationals, and will play for the OUA title on Saturday .

 

The Quebec Finals are  hosted by the top seed , McGill Redmen.  The Final will be played on Saturday, with that champion looking like the lone RSEQ rep in Nationals.

 

We expect this to be an unpredictable 6 team event, with 1 spot in Nationals on the line.  The AUS gets a host spot as well, so teams will be fighting their way through to the Final.

 

Overtime –

  • Emotional and admirable statement from 5th year UBC team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte, after the team’s play-off loss to Manitoba last Friday,  “It’s tough man. It’s a great year. Couple of things didn’t go our way,” said Jensen-Whyte. “ … and Manitoba is a great team. I have nothing but respect for my coach and the players. I have nothing but love for this place.”  From a story in UBC’s student news, The Ubyssey. 
  •  The annual guessing-game surrounding the choice of a ‘wild-card’ team for the U-Sports Final 8 Nationals is starting in earnest.  If we look at the criteria for the committee to consider, we note the subjective nature in some areas.  League records may have a 16-4 team ‘equivalent’ to a 15-4 team, and so on.  To be clear … despite their high marks in every category, the UBC T’Birds are out, with their play-off record, and Canada West’s rule to have only teams from the Final 4 considered. We expect the 8th team to almost be a sure thing for the OUA, but we’ve been wrong before.  U-Sport announces their decision next Sunday, after the AUS Tournament is complete.

 

 

 

Quarter-Finals Set for Thursday Tip-offs

 

 

Quick turnaround for quarter-finals tip-offs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our detailed series previews on Wednesday.

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

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

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

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

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

Overtime –

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

 

Bears Hang Up a Big W at Saskatchewan

 

 

Bears outside shooting shocks the Huskies on Friday in Saskatoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Lethbridge has the bye this week

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Scores from the East –

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

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

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

 

Overtime –

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

Top 10 Showdown in Saskatoon This Week

 

Huskies host Bears, with top Canada West seed at stake

#7 Alberta (12-4)   at   #9 Saskatchewan  (11-5)   –  This is our ‘Feature Series’ this week , as 2 of Canada West’s 4 Top 10 teams clash in Saskatoon.  This can swing the top 4 seeds for playoff purposes, with Alberta and Saskatchewan both having a shot at hosting the Final 4, if things break the right way.  A sweep for either team is huge.

The Huskies have home court, and have won 6 of 8 in this 2nd half of the schedule, while the Bears have dropped 4 of their 6.   The Dogs’ big men, Shane Osayande (18.2 ppg/ 10.6 rebs) and Matt Forbes ( 15.3 ppg/ 8.6 rebs)  will be a major hurdle for the GBs’ Brody Clarke (15.3 ppg, 7.7 rebs) and Mamadou Gueye (16.1 ppg/ 6.4 rebs).  Coach Craddock will ‘change it up’ with 7-2, Brett Roughead, a 10-12 minute man who can mix it up in the paint.

Saskatchewan’s 5th year post man, Matt Forbes        –  photo  GetMyPhoto.ca

Austin Waddoups, the Bears’ outside shooting ace (48% / 14 ppg) and floor general, will get lots of attention from Sask’s guard corps of Lawrence Moore, Chan De Ciman (if he’s healthy), and Alex Unruh.  Alberta has shot the ball better from the floor this season, and they will need Clarke and Gueye to be productive.  Both defenses have shown they can win games by keeping teams in the high 60s or low 70s;  the question is, can they take away the other’s best players?  We see this as a split, and a sweep would be big news, and likely launch the winner into the top of the RPI list.   These big games go at 8 pm Central both nights.

 

 

 

Other games, which we will preview Thursday …

Lethbridge has this week as a bye

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The Top 10 remains the same in the top 3, with Carleton, Ottawa, and UBC looking sharp this past weekend.  The Brock Badgers climb from 6th to 4th with a win over previously unbeaten Ryerson, and Calgary, who blow a 20 pt. lead Saturday to un-ranked Regina, fall to 6th.

Both the OUA and Canada West have 4 spots in the table, while McGill is the lone Quebec representative, and the AUS has #10 Dalhousie.   Those 2 Leagues don’t seem to have the dominant powers, and their championships may be more uncertain. We note the support for Saint Mary’s Huskies who are winning some tough games in the Atlantic, and a nudge for Manitoba, with their 8 straight in Canada West.

 

 

Top 10 Teams in Canada ?

 

We know the #1 team in the Top 10 !

 OK, right off the top, let’s agree … Carleton is, indeed, #1 in the Top 10 !   Just ask their latest victims, the #2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, who fell with an 81-40 thud on their home floor at Montpetit Hall on Tuesday!  But how do we (or the U-Sports coaches) measure the top teams after the seemingly unassailable Ravens?

Connor Wood and his Carleton Ravens top the U-Sports rankings.   photo – Valerie Wutti

(* – a decisive win/loss ,  UR – un-ranked team)

Top 10 team records –

Carleton (16-0) – beat  Brock, McMaster, Ottawa*   (have beaten un-ranked CW, AUS, RSEQ teams)

Ottawa (18-2) — beat Alberta, McGill*, McMaster*, Brock*, won the Shoveller tourney  lost to – UQAM (UR) ,  Carleton

UBC (18-1) – beat Alberta, split with Saskatchewan  … no other ranked teams, have beaten unranked OUA teams

Ryerson (13-2) – beat  no ranked teams … lost to Brock, Dalhousie

Calgary (15-2) – beat Saskatchewan, split with Alberta …  lost to  Manitoba (UR)

Alberta (18-6) – beat Calgary once, lost once.  … lost to – UBC twice  ( one *),  Ottawa, Regina (UR), Manitoba (UR)

McGill (12-4) –  no wins over ranked teams … lost to – McMaster, Ottawa *, UQAM (UR), Laval (UR)

Brock (11-5) –  beat Ryerson, McMaster … lost to –  Dalhousie, Carleton, Ottawa*, Nipissing (UR), Lakehead (UR)

Dalhousie (16-6) – beat Ryerson, Brock  … lost to – McMaster, Windsor (UR), 3 to Saint Marys (UR), UNB (UR)

McMaster ( 14-5) – beat McGill, Dalhousie … lost to –  2 to Brock, Ottawa*, Carleton, Laurentian (UR)

Saskatchewan (11-5) – beat UBC … lost to – Calgary, Fraser Valley (UR), Winnipeg (UR), Regina (UR), UBC

Saint Marys – (14-7) – beat Dalhousie 3 times … lost to – 2 to Acadia (UR), Dalhousie*, UNB (UR), St FX (UR), Ottawa, Memorial (UR),

We have to take a lot for granted in some cases, because there is limited inter-regional play.  We’re still convinced we need more games between ‘top teams’, if the rankings are to be ‘validated’.The rankings do, however, seem to reflect a reasonable list, with all Leagues represented.

 

Scores from the East   –    Day-time game draws big interest in Ontario

Waterloo  79  Laurier  71 –  This was a rare day-time game at Laurier on Wednesday.  A ‘Local Derby’ as they say in Britain. What a great idea to engage more students, who must become a bigger part of the ‘Hoops nation’ in U-Sports if it’s to realize the tremendous potential for the game.   Story here in Mark Wacyck’s  CANhoops.ca  Blog , which covers all of Canadian University Basketball

 

Canada West Series this Weekend –  (All games Friday and Saturday nights)

All games on Canada West TV  …    MacEwan, TRU , UBC-O, UNBC, and Winnipeg are all on a bye this week. 

 

 

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.

Weekend Sweeps Move Teams Up

 

 

Love the Sweep !   Teams on the rise …

The UBC Thunderbirds made the biggest ‘statement’ of the Canada West season with their 102-76 battering of the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday in Vancouver.  Their 2 game sweep of the Bruins puts the ‘Birds at 11-1 with building confidence in the quality of their depth and determination as a potential CW champion. UBC is not just Conor Morgan, but have the gritty leader, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and another 5th year stand-out in 6-7 Will Ondrik.  As their ‘supporting cast’ deliver performances like those of Luka Zaharajevic, Taylor Browne, and A.J. Holloway vs the ‘GBs’, we see the T-Birds as the favourites to host the Final 4 in early March.

The Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) won 2 ‘bonus RPI’ games at Lethbridge this past weekend, and are looking more like a top 4 contender with their deeper playing roster. Since his arrival after semester 1, import guard Lawrence Moore (3rd yr, 6-3, Chicago) has averaged 14 ppg and 4.8 assists.  Jaylan Morgan (3rd, 6-5, Toronto) is stepping up his game, and, when he returns from injury, Chan De Ciman will add to the mix.  Then, of course, the Green and White have the formidable post pair of Shane Osayande (18.7 ppg/ 11 rebs) and Matt Forbes (13.3 ppg/ 8.3 rebs).

The Calgary Dinos (10-2) get a weekend home sweep over Fraser Valley, one a 106-68 blow-out, but the 2nd a somewhat shaky 92-87 last minute win.  UC will have to sort out the consistency of their effort as they welcome the aforementioned ‘Sled Dogs’ to town this Friday and Saturday. This is the feature match-up this week in Canada West. Can Thomas Cooper get back to his prolific scoring ways?  Can the Dinos defend the Huskies bigs?  Can Calgary use their vaunted depth to turn aside the advancing Prairie power?

Bisons guard, Justus Alleyn

The Manitoba Bisons (6-6) have started on their hopeful drive to 10-0 leap up the standings in this 2nd semester.  They brush aside the fading Regina Cougars (6-6) with 2 convincing road wins behind veterans Justus Alleyn and Keith Omoerah.  A trip this week to Trinity Western is unlikely to slow the rumbling Herd, who have plans to keep climbing the League table.

The Victoria Vikes (5-7) return home with fresh hope after 2 wins at UBC-O, the 1st Vikes sweep of the season.  Their challenge this week will be to defend home court against a tougher opponent, the Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6). Can rookie Scott Kellum match the ‘Horn’s main man, Dejon Burdeaux?  UVic has little wriggle room as they vie for a playoff spot, but UL will be wanting to turn things around after 2 home losses.

Josh Ross has been a catalyst for the Cougars attack

The Mt. Royal Cougars get a pair of road victories at UNBC to move to 7-5, and their forward duo of Josh Ross and Brett Layton are giving the Cougs reason for optimism. Uo next for this under-rated former college power?  Oh,just  a home court visit from the mighty Thunderbirds !  MRU will step on Kenyon Court as decided underdogs, with UBC rolling more troops off their bench .Win one of these, and the Cougars will draw even more lavish praise.

 

 

5th Year players on a final tour  …

Many of these 5th year players across the 17-team Canada West will be very familiar to faithful fans.  Most with skills we’ve come to appreciate, some who’ve made a big play to beat our home team, and some who’ve captured accolades, trophies, and championships.  A tribute is in order to these 5th years, the great majority of whom will be finishing off a degree and moving on to a very different phase of their lives.

Here’s a list of these 5th year players … give them a hand as they play in your gym for what may well be the last time.

Alberta – Brett Roughead … Brandon –  Earl Thompson Jr, Denham Buchanan, Chris Stanhope, Esmat Atem … Calgary Dinos – Jasdeep Gill, Thomas Cooper, Dallas Karch … Fraser Valley – Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon … Lethbridge – Will Hickey … MacEwan – Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens … Mt. Royal – Derek Wolf … Regina – Aaron McGowan, Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, Matthew Augustine … Saskatchewan –  Matthew Forbes, Trevor Severinski … Thompson Rivers – Volodymyr Iegorov … UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte , Will Ondrik … UBC-O – Mitch Goodwin …  UNBC – Rhys Elliot, Elliot Rowe, Sam Zhang … Victoria – Grant Sitton … Winnipeg – Jamar Farley

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Scores from the East  on Sunday –

Atlantic – at UNB 93 Memorial 79,  at Saint Marys 75 # 8 Dalhousie  71 …one more season in the AUS where we see the teams in the 6 team League run hot and cold from one weekend to the next.  Memorial Seahawks were flying high last week at 7-3 atop the standings, but lose 2 at UNB.  UPEI move from 2-7 to 4-7 with last second wins at St. FX and Cape Breton (the only predictable team left).   So, despite their loss to their  ‘down the street’ rival Saint Marys, the Dal Tigers lead at 7-3, with X and UNB 7-4, and Memorial now 4th at 7-5.  On any given night ….

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The big game in U-Sports this week is Tuesday’s first matchup of the season at U. Ottawa’s Montpetit Hall  between the twin 9-0 ‘Bytown Bullies’, the #1 Carleton Ravens and #2 Ottawa Gee-Gees.  The ‘Ponies’ swept this series last year, but, as they do, the Blackbirds came on at playoff time to claim yet another CIS Championship.  Many of the faces are the same, with Connor Wood and Kaza Kajami-Keane guiding the ravens, and Caleb Agada still powering Ottawa.  New faces include big Eddie Ekiyor for Carleton and Adam Presutti a key transfer from McMaster, now in Gee-Gees colours for his final season.   Fans can watch live on OUA-TV  (8 pm Eastern)  TUESDAY –  RAVENS vs GEE-GEES

Here are the Divisional standings in the 17 team OUA, where they also use RPI to seed their season -end Wilson Cup play-offs.

 

UBC boss Kevin Hanson

Overtime –

  • UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, after his T-Birds’ thrashing of Aberta on Saturday, “The way our three leaders (Morgan, Jensen-Whyte, Ondrik) started the game, they brought so much confidence,” began Hanson. “And they just seemed to transfer that energy to the rest of the team. It was free-flowing energy and when our bench came in, they just carried on with no fear of failure.” From Howard Tsumura, The Province
  • TRU’s rookie, Trent Monkman, on his more significant role in helping the Wolves to a home win on Saturday over Winnipeg, “It was a bit of a special one. It was a big game for us — we were coming off a loss — and it felt good to have a bit of an impact,” the native of Smithers said. “It feels good that the coaches are trusting me a little bit to get in there and show what I can do.” From an Adam Williams story in Kamloops the Week    

 

 

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 .

 

 

 

Gee Gees Capture Shoveller Title

 

 

  Ottawa win in Halifax … primed for OUA action

Caleb Agada is a the top player for Ottawa in their win at the Shoveller.

#4 Ottawa Gee Gees 78 Saint Marys  Huskies 69 –  Caleb Agada posts yet another double-double, as his 25 pts/ 12 boards lead the Gee Gees to the tournament title.  Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles has another strong game with a double of 12 points/ 10 rebs. Brian Rouse scored 19 to pace Saint Marys, while Theon Reefer scored 15 plus grabbing 14 rebounds.  Now 16-3 overall in U-Sport competition, UO are starting to look like prime contenders for an OUA and National crown.  With a line-up bolstered by 5th year McMaster transfer, Adam Presutti,  they win their 14th straight.  Resuming league play next week, Ottawa will be prepping for their mid-January showdown with the #1 Carleton Ravens.  Box Score   

  #10 Dalhousie   76  St. FX  71 – (  3rd place game) The Tigers take down AUS rival  X-Men, as Jarred Reid counts a game-high 25 points, while Kashrell Lawrence had 17 points, eight rebounds.  Cameron Walker led the St. FX scorers with 20. Box Score

 Acadia Axemen  89  Mt. Royal Cougars  75 –  (7th place game)  Not the deepest team in the country, MRU cannot be at top form without forward, Brett Layton, who sat this one out with an ankle sprain.  The Axemen out-shoot the Cougars 42% to 36% from the field, and use a big 20/29 to 9/15 free throw edge to distance themselves. Kyle Arsenault scores 29 pts and Erik Nissen 20 pts/ 9 rebs to lead Acadia.  Josh Ross responds with a double of 15 pts/ 11 boards for Mt. Royal, while guards Glen Yang and Craig Martin tally 12 pts each.  Box Score   

UPEI  Panthers  96  Queens Golden Gaels 86   – (5th place game)

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Classique Olga Hrycak at UQAM, Montreal –

Memorial Seahawks 79 UNBC  Timberwolves 70 –  Up 3 at the half, then tied after 30 minutes, the T’Wolves cannot hold back the Seahawks in the 4th.  Memorial scores 30 points to claim the tournament title at 3-0, while UNBC finishes 2nd at 2-1.  23 points for MUN from MVP, Vasilije Curcic, the 6-9 Serbian big man, and 19 by Davion Parnsalu.  The ‘Wolves  get 21 from tournamentt all-star , Rhys Elliott and 22 from wing man, Marcus MacKay.  Again without forward, Vaggelis Loukas, UNBC hang tough for most of the way, but fade in the final minutes.  (again, thanks to UNBC Coach Todd Jordan for texting us the stats )

 Guelph Gryphons 85  UQAM  Citadins  84

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 Vanguard U. (CA) 89  Saskatchewan 72 –  Shane Osayande tops the Huskies with 22 points.

Hope International (CA) 82  MacEwan   56 –  MacEwan is ‘not the same team’ that beat Vanguard last night.  Hope recovers from a loss to Saskatchewan.

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Overtime –

  • Happy New Year to you all !  Safe travels to all the teams still on the road back home.  And good luck as the League play starts up again this coming week .