Canada Wins Again – Australia to Finish Tourney

 

 

Canada 97  Czech Republic 79

 Kevin Bercy (St. FX) boosted Canada’s attack, as they beat the Czech Republic Monday.

Kevin Bercy (St. FX), the 2017 Atlantic Player of the Year, enjoyed his best game of the FISU tournament by far, with 18 points and 8 rebounds.  Canada started slowly, but took control by the half, as Carleton’s Kaza Kajami-Keane, our MVP on this trip, posted 25 points/ 4 rebounds/ 7 assists.  Connor Wood (Carleton), who has played with a leg injury for much of the past 2 weeks, helped the Canadian cause in this Consolation semi-final with 19 points from 5/9 from 3 point range.

The 3rd quarter, with a 27-19 Canada advantage, pretty well iced it. Strong rebounding as a team, led by Bercy, Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles (Ottawa) with 7, and Laval’s Alexandre Leclerc (5) , kept the Czech’s at bay. Canada also forced 20 Czech turnovers, many leading to fast break points.

Canada meets Australia, a 93 – 71 winner over Mexico, in the 9th place game on Tuesday. In the Championship semi-finals it was the U.S. 93  Serbia 61, and Lithuania 77 Latvia 75.  Box Score 

In Women’s play in Taiwan, the Canadians, who lost in the Championship quarter-finals, wound up beating the Czechs 84-68  on Monday as well.  That earned Canada 7th place in the 16 team Women’s field.

 

Sr. Nationals Lose Opener in Argentina

U.S. Virgin Islands 83  Canada 71  Not a good start for Canada at the FIBA Americas Tournament in Argentina, as their cold shooting cost them against the USVI squad.  The Canadians are up against Argentina and Venezuela in other group games this week. The odds are long for a shot at semi-finals for this team.  It is a tough assignment without many mainstays needed to compete in World Cup qualifying.

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NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Carleton 89  St. Francis – Brooklyn (Div 1)  55

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”.

 

 

 

Top 2 CIS Teams Square-Off

 

Ottawa senior guard, Johnny Berhanemeskel, will draw extra attention from Carleton defenders.

Ottawa senior guard, Johnny Berhanemeskel, will draw extra attention from Carleton defenders in Saturday’s showdown between the #1 and # 2 teams in the CIS.

 

Gee-Gees Host Ravens in Cross-Town Heavyweight Match

Carleton and  Ottawa meet this Saturday night at Monpetit Hall, the home court for the #1 and 2Gee-Gees, which seats around 800 fans, so will be a very intimate theatre for this ‘Game of the Year – Part 1”. The familiar surroundings should help the ‘Ponies’, but how do the hosts decide which 25 Ravens fans get admission ?  The Ravens hold the CIS title, having beaten Ottawa 79-67 in last March’s final.  The Gee-Gees did claim the OUA title, with a 78-77 win the week prior to the Final 8, but haven’t beaten Carleton in a regular season game since there was ice skating on the Rideau Canal.

# 1  Carleton –   Phil Scrubb – 17.6 ppg/5.6 asst, Thomas Scrubb – 18.8 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 4 asst., Connor Wood – 11 ppg / 3 asst

# 2  Ottawa – Johnny Berthanemeskel – 23 ppg/ 61% FG/ 4.8 asst, Caleb Agada – 16.4 ppg/ 8.5 rebs / 3.1 asst, Mike L’Africain – 11 ppg / 4.2 asst

From ‘Johnny B’, the Gee-Gees 5th year scoring ace,   “I think all of us wish we could play them on home court at least once every year, so taking advantage of our home court will be important,” said Berhanemeskel. “We haven’t played them in a while, team dynamics have changed on both sides so it will be key to prepare for those changes while maintaining our style.” (From CIS News)

Is there home court magic this time for Ottawa ?   watch on OUA TV … 7 pm Eastern.

(Carleton and Ottawa will play the return bout on Feb. 6 – The 9th Annual MNBA Capital Hoops Classic at the  Canadian Tire Centre.)

 

Other CIS match-ups this week –

Tuesday –  a big last second win for St. FX at home … X-Men 67  Cape Breton 66

Weds. in the OUA  / Quebec –  at # 4 McMaster  85   Laurier  75,   # 3 Ryerson  92 at Toronto 68  …  Laval  79 at UQ-Montreal 63

Thursday / Friday Games – Dalhousie at UPEI, Saint Marys at # 8 New Brunswick …  Bishops  at McGill,  UQ-Montreal  at Laval … Western at # 5 Windsor, Nipissing at Queens, Brock at Lakehead, Laurentian at York, Algoma at Waterloo

Saturday –

Dalhousie at UNB, Cape Breton at Memorial, St. FX at Acadia … McGill at Bishops … Laurier at Guelph, Laurentian at Queens, # 1 Carleton at  # 2 Ottawa, # 4 McMaster  at # 3 Ryerson, Brock at Lakehead, Nipissing at York, Algoma at Waterloo

Sunday – Cape Breton at Memorial

 

Overtime –

  •   Joe Scanlon, veteran Carleton Ravens chronicler, fills in some gaps for us about Saturday’s ‘Big Game’ – Apparently the tickets went on sale early in the season, and keen Ravens’ fans snapped them up on-line, so Carleton will have their supporters at Montpetit Hall. Over the break, Coach Dave Smart had his team , as is their custom, down in Florida for 2-a-day workouts and a few ‘scrimmages’ with local teams.     Carleton copy 2                                                           Joe tells us that Ottawa has now added Alex Ratte, a transfer shooting guard from Laurentian, to the active roster.  (“ … another three-point shooter on a team already packed with three point shooters”,  suggests Joe.) He points out that these squads may well face each other 4 times in the next 2 1/2 months – 2 OUA League games, Wilson Cup, and, maybe, in the CIS Final 8, again.  Scanlon, like many observers feels that these are the 2 best CIS teams, hands-down.  Being a ‘Blackbird fanatic’ as well as a prolific CU basketball writer, he also has understandable faith in Coach Smart’s ability to have his Ravens ready for the really big games.
  • Fraser Valley’s Sports Information guru, Dan Kinvig, reminds us that the 8-0 Cascades have a 22 game win streak in regular season Canada West play. Their last loss?  To this week’s visitors, the  Mt. Royal Cougars , 62-60  on November 15, 2013.
  • One of our faithful readers, the ‘Ice Man’ from B.C.,  points out that Douglas College, a top 10 CCAA team, beat UBC-O (57-53) in a game in Kelowna last week.  Then, the Heat turned around and waxed the Red Deer College Kings 92 – 61 later on the weekend. Here we go –  Coach Peter Guarasci’s 2-4 Heat beat MacEwan once and Mt. Royal once.  Well, in the Fall, Mt. Royal beat Alberta 67-48.  Alberta (4-5) have beaten Winnipeg (5-3), #6 Victoria (6-2) , then UVic  beats Alberta twice in League play … you know where this leads, yes?