Ryerson and Carleton Aiming for Rematch

 

Ryerson and Carleton favoured to meet in Championship Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, you can   Watch on U-Sports TV 1

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, is Canada’s winningest coach

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

 

 

Ravens, Rams, Dinos, Tigers on to Semis

 

Ejim’s rebounding carries Ravens to semi-finals

8 offensive rebounds and 26 points by Ryan Ejim pace Carleton to a Q-final win over TRU.

8 offensive rebounds and 26 points by Ryan Ejim pace Carleton to a Q-final win over TRU.

 Carleton 91 Thompson Rivers  75 –  The relentless Carleton effort on the offensive boards paid off with 10 extra chances by half-time, and the Ravens are up 38-33.  The most remarkable thing is the lack of 2nd quarter scoring, as the teams come out of quarter 1 with a 29-23 count, then cool off considerably.  CU hits just 33% from the floor in that opening 20 minutes .

Foul  trouble for TRU big men, Josh Wolfram and Volodmyr Iegorov , threatens to torpedo the ‘Pack’s effectiveness, but they finish the game with the line-up intact. As the game enters the 3rd quarter,  it’s a 5 point game Carleton’s way, but that rebounding, and some improved 3 point shooting by the Ravens extends it to 9-10-12. Brief rests for the TRU starters don’t appear to be enough, and they are flagging with 4-5 minutes left.

Ryan Ejim does the ‘blue collar’ work for Carleton, seemingly claiming every 2nd miss on the O-glass, as he tallies 26 on 11/14 shooting, all within 6 feet of the hoop. CU’s 54-37 rebounding edge is led by Ejim’s 14, and Guillaume Boucard’s 13 rebounds. Connor Wood scores 18 points on 5/13 from outside, and the winners get 15 apiece from Bouchard and Tajinder Lall.

The ‘Pack are led by the 22 points of Gerard Gore and 14 points / 10 boards from Voldymyr Iegorov. TRU hits 47% from the  floor, but only 5 treys to 11 for the Ravens.  Josh Wolfram comes on in the 2nd half, scoring 17 points, as he and Reese Pribilsky close out their memorable careers in this championship competition.
Carleton’s attacking style wears down the Wolves, whose lack of depth inevitably caught up with them in this level of play.  The Ravens move on to the semi-finals on Saturday against Dalhousie, while TRU plays Friday at 5 pm  in a consolation match with Ottawa.     Box Score

 

Tigers steal Ottawa’s thunder with aggressive defense down the stretch

Richie Kanza-Mata and his Dal Tigers teammates use their pressure defense to edge the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Richie Kanza-Mata and his Dal Tigers teammates use their pressure defense to edge the Ottawa Gee-Gees.  photo Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Dalhousie 87  Ottawa  83  –  Two unusual sequences turn this game in Dalhousie’s favour: just before the half, and down by 7, the Tigers steal, and Jarred Reid hits 2 free throws on an intentional (clear-path?) foul, so Dal gets the ball as well. On the buzzer,  Jordan Aquino-Serjue makes a 3-point bomb, and it’s 52-50 !  Then in a  mini-run by the Tigers in the 2nd half, Ottawa turns it over 3 out of 4 trips, and Dal takes the 4 point lead mid-way through the 4th.

The pressure from a quick and determined Tigers team gave Ottawa fits as the game moved into the late stages, 24 trips to the line for 16 points gave the Atlantic champs the edge vs 5/10 for the Gee-Gees. Both teams shoot the ball well, with Dal at 50% and Ottawa 49% from the floor, as UO lives and dies with  the long ball (12/35).  Dal’s fast hands and faster feet produce 24 Ottawa turnovers , resulting in 31 Dalhousie points.
Ritchie Kanza-Mata closes strongly and racks -up 24 points to lead the Tigers, adding 4 assts/ 3 steals, while Kashrell Lawrence uses his power on the inside to score 14 / 6 rebounds / 4 steals.

The Ponies have Matt Plunkett hitting 5/10 from outside for 17 points, and Mike L’Africain, the CIS Player of the Year, scoring 16 / 3 rebs/ 7 assts. The Tigers play in Saturday’s 3 pm semi-final against the 5 time-defending champion, Carleton Ravens, while Ottawa go to the Consolation side vs Thompson Rivers at 5 pm Friday.
Box Score

 

Kapinga’s thievery leads to late heroics for Calgary over McGill

Calgary's defensive ace, David Kapinga, harasses McGill ballhandlers in a Dinos win Thursday in Vancouver.

Calgary’s defensive ace, David Kapinga, harasses McGill ballhandlers in a Dinos win Thursday in Vancouver.

Calgary  72  McGill  69 –  Tense.  This was the tough, tight game we anticipated, with defense controlling things much of the way, and deciding it at the finish as Calgary’s David Kapinga picked McGill’s pocket twice in the final minutes .  Free throws were also critical as Dinos shooters were 10/10 in the 4th quarter, including  2 by Thomas Cooper to give them the 3 point lead.
It was a physical game , with a lot of contact on drives to the hoop, and a little rolling around on the hardwood after loose balls.  McGill got off to a good start, hitting some pure treys by Jenning Leung, and getting strong rebounding early. Calgary’s 25 point 2nd quarter was the difference, in a game where hoops became more and more scarce.

The Dinos Thomas Cooper was shackled  for much of the game, but still snuck in 21 points, with 7/10 from the line.  The Redmen pressured Calgary’s 3 point shooters and allowed little open space out on the perimeter. The Dinos  hit only 5 treys vs 10 for the Reds, and that kept McGill out front for a good part of the 2nd half.
Calgary had 12 points from Johnny Verrone coming off the bench, and Kapinga scored 11/ 2 asst/ 4 steals. Cooper led their rebounding with 9, with Lars Schleuter and Matt Letkeman grabbing 5 each.

McGill were led by 19 from Dele Ogundokun / 5 res/ 4 assts, and 15 from Leung, with 5/10 from outside.   McGill had 19 turnovers and Calgary 17, in what was, at times, a very scrappy contest.  The Dinos pull one out with some stingy defense and good foul-shooting in the final minutes, and they move on to the 5:30 semi-final on Saturday, and the Redmen will play in the 5:00 consolation game Friday.  Box Score

 

On the brink, the Rams storm back for the OT win vs UBC

Coach patrick Taham and his Ryerson Rams 'snatched victory from the jaws of defeat' vs UBC in their Thursday Q-final.

Coach Patrick Taham and his Ryerson Rams ‘snatched victory from the jaws of defeat’ vs UBC in their Thursday Q-final.

 

Ryerson 109 –  UBC  101 –  Just when the UBC student section (with 2:10 left – far too early)  were suggesting in a loud chorus that the Ryerson Rams were ‘Over-rated’ ,  the T-Birds’ Conor Morgan fouled out,  the OUA champs dug deep, hit free throws, a lay-up off a steal, and a 3 pointer to take it to OT !
The Rams are now the attackers, and create the better chances in extra time, to pull out a classic win to continue their route to the semi-final.  UBC has to leave wondering how this could have happened, when they looked so solid in the early going, and made some clutch hoops early in the 4th to ‘dare to dream’ of the 8 – 1 upset !

Adika Peter-McNeilly paced the Rams with 25 points/ 9 rebounds, and both rugged, yet smooth guard, Ammanuel Diressa, and the late game hero, Jean-Victor-Mukama counted 19 apiece.  Ryerson won the battle on the boards 42-31, and out-shot the Thunderbirds 21/27 to 13/17 from the foul line. UBC’s David Wagner was dominant inside in the first 3/4s to score 22, but Ryerson defenders made it harder for him later in the going. Jordan Jensen-Whyte was also a stand-out for the ‘Birds, with 25 points on slashing drives and 8/9 from the line.
Ryerson won this game with some more intense interior defending, and opportunistic conversions off UBC misses toward the end of regulation.  It was a testimony to the resilience of a championship team, and they played their best when it counted most.
In the end they appear to have been rated pretty accurately ….

Ryerson, the OUA champions vs Calgary , the Canada West title winners, at 5:30 pm Saturday in the 2nd semi-final.  UBC plays McGill at 7 pm Friday in the late Consolation game.  Box Score


 

 

Overtime –

  • Headline of the week, in  ‘Kamloops This Week’ – ‘WolfPack draw Ravens; fan bus departs Thursday’ … details , “Fan buses will depart from Thompson Rivers University for UBC on Thursday morning, in advance of the Wolf  Pack’s tournament-opening matchup.  Buses will depart from the Campus Activity Centre at 7:30 a.m. For $20, fans receive a game ticket, transportation to the tournament, a t-shirt and pizza and pop for the return trip. Coffee will be available in the morning, from 7 a.m. until departure.”  Great work by TRU to get their fans to the game!
  • Dalhousie Coach Rick Plato , with confidence in his team, “If the Tigers claw their way into national semifinals, they’ll be making Dalhousie basketball history”, Plato said. “I think there is redemption on their part,” he said of his players. “Knowing how close they were to … for the first time ever, getting Dal to a national semifinal.”  (Lost to UVic 57-56 in round 1 last year).  “I believe in these guys,” Plato said. “They’re not the biggest, they’re not the fastest, they’re not the quickest, but as a group – they’re a pretty special team.” Simply put, Plato said, “if we play our game, we’re going to win.” From Kristen Lipscombe, Vancouver Metro News