Bisons, Dinos, Huskies – All on to Final 4

The Herd are full value for a sweep of #2 UBC

Ilarion Bonhomme’s big night propels the Bisons past the ‘Birds.   photo – Rich Lam, UBC

Manitoba  98   #2  UBC  96   OT –  Kudos to Coach Kirby Schepp and his Bisons , as they go into War Memorial and out-play the #2 ranked team in the country on consecutive nights.  The Herd have the Thunderbirds barely hanging on again Friday, and UBC are fortunate to tie it up and send it to extra time. A. J. Basi’s 3 point shot off an offensive  rebound gave UM the lead with 6 seconds left, and the ‘Birds try at the buzzer bounced off the iron.

5th year transfer point man, Ilarion Bonhomme had a defining effort for the Bisons tonight, with his 28 points/ 10 rebounds/ 9 assists.  Justus Alleyn scores 18, with 4 treys before he fouled out, while Keith Omoerah had a double of 14 pts/ 11 boards.  UBC were led by team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte’s 33 point / 10 rebound effort in his final outing for the T’Birds. Patrick Simon scored 21 coming off the bench, and added 5 rebounds.

This was a shocking result to many, but a tribute to the depth of talent on Manitoba, and in all of Canada West, where we saw several visiting squads equit themselves very impressively.   Box Score  

#6  Calgary   76  Thompson Rivers 68 –  For the 2nd night running, the Wolf Pack hold the Dinos feet to the fire, with timely shooting and a stifling zone defense.  It’s tied at the half, then TRU get a lead midway through the 3rd quarter, which they don’t relinquish until the 3 minute mark of the 4th frame.

Dinos full court pressure finally wore down the ‘Pack. 6 points by Calgary’s 4th year post man, Mitch Ligertwood, in the last 1:40 were the crucial ones in this series winner.  The UC defense limited Thompson Rivers to just 12 points in the last 10 minutes.  Calgary won the rebounding 47-34, and hit 12/18 free throws to just 2 of 5 for the visitors.   UC’s Thomas Cooper had another sparkling effort, with 26 points and 9 rebounds, and Jhony Verrone was solid with his 13 points/ 11 rebounds, and superb defensive effort. Mambi Diawara was sharp, especially late in the game, with defensive pressure, and he tallies 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 5 steals.

Volodymyr Iegorov plays his final game for the Wolf Pack, hitting 20 points and claiming 11 rebounds. Derek Rhodes scored 11 and Mike Rouault 10 for TRU, who gave a very brave effort on both nights.    Box Score  

#9  Saskatchewan  88  Winnipeg 77  –  The Huskies storm out of the gates early, and grab a huge 31-8 lead after 10 minutes. But the Wesmen win the middle frames 46-29, to get to within 6.  Saskatchewan’s offense clicks for 28 points in the 4th, and they sweep the series.

Shane Osayande is strong again with a 21 point/ 19 rebound  crusher, while Alex Unruh has a nice game for U of S, with 20 points on 8/10 FG shooting. Trevor Severinski cashes 4/8 from outside for the Dogs for 16 points and he doubles with 10 boards. Narcisse Ambanza scores 18 pts / 5 asst for the Ws, and Denzel Lynch-Blair returns for 14 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 steals.  Box Score

31 pts from their captain, paces the U of L past Alberta in game 2

 Lethbridge 112    #8  Alberta   111  OT –  As much as the ‘Horns were limited by U of Adefense on Thursday, the U of L shooters responded with confidence on this night. The visitors shoot 49% from the floor, hit 15 treys, and convert 25/29 free throws. Alberta betters the Pronghorns with 51% shooting, the same 15 treys, but get fewer free throws (20/22) in a most efficient offensive display by both clubs .

Before fouling out with 10 seconds left in regulation, Dejon Burdeaux scored a team-high 31 points/ 8 rebs/ 5 assists for Lethbridge, who force a game 3, to be played at 7 pm Saturday night.  Zac Overwater is big for the ‘Horns with 26 points/ 12 rebounds, and Elliott Sentance contribute’s 16 pts to the winning cause.   Box Score  

 

 

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In the Atlantic –  Friday Night –   UNB 85 at St. FX 74, at #10 Dalhousie  90 UPEI 75, Saint Mary’s 94  at  Cape Breton 78, at Acadia 97 Memorial  82

 

Sat. OUA Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto   (On OUA TV)

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 57  Trinity W 41 (Win series 2-0) ,  at #6  Victoria 74 Winnipeg  69  (series tied 1-1),   Fraser V. 74  at # 8 Saskatchewan  62  (series tied 1-1),  at Alberta 60   UBC 52   (wins series 2-0) … 3rd games on Saturday for Vikes – Wesmen, and Cascades – Huskies.
  • TRU’s Luke Morris

    TRU forward, Luke Morris, is providing scoring and leadership to his young Wolf Pack team.  Coach Scott Clark comments in this article from Morris’ hometown Mission City Record.  “He’s a bigger guy [6-5] and can score in a variety of ways,” said Clark. “He can step out and hit a three, score in the post, score in the cut and offensive rebound.”   “There has been increased expectations from our coaching staff and he’s shown more leadership and a lot of growth this season,” Clark said.

 

  •   We learn that Denzel Lynch-Blair of Winnipeg misses last night’s game at Saskatchewan due to accumulating 5 technical fouls over the course of the season.  League Directors review reports on technical fouls, and may suspend players, depending on the details of the offense (s).

 

Wesmen, Horns Both Move On

 

Wesmen up the pace, and run past UFV

Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza attacks UFV’s Vijay Dhillon     photo – Kelly Morton, Wesmen Athletics

at Winnipeg  84 Fraser Valley   59 –  With a dominant 2nd half effort, the Ws took this 3rd and deciding game through defensive opportunism and offensive transition.  After a bit of a slow start, where they are down 34-30 at the half, the Wesmen lit the fire in the 3rd.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their 3rd year guard scoring 10 pts, and rookie Narcisse Ambanza 8 pts in the frame.  That 18 point Winnipeg lead became 20, then 25 as the home team finished with authority.

Fraser Valley gave the Wesmen a tough go in game 1 and 2, slowing down the UW attack, and using their own 3 point shooting to advantage.  In this deciding game, it was Winnipeg dictating the pace. “We were able to get out in transition in the 2nd half”, said Head Coach Mike Raimbault following the win. “They slowed us down at times, and Adam (Friesen, UFV Coach) did a good job with his guys .  We finished better today when we created those chances.”

On the game it was Ambanza tallying 22 points, many off the break, and Lynch -Blair   adding 19 points/ 7 rebounds/ 4 steals.  The Ws get another ‘blue collar’ effort from William Sesay, who had 10 points and secured 12 rebounds.  Winnipeg out-shot a rattled UFV squad 49% to 32% from the floor, and had an exceptional ‘ball control’ game with just 7 turnovers.

Fraser Valley  had just 2 players in double figures, as Manny Dulay scored 11 and Mark Johnson 10.  The 3 point attack just wasn’t there for the visitors, with Dulay, playing his last game for the Cascades, getting lots of extra attention from Winnipeg defenders.  Box  Score      …     The Wesmen will skip over to Saskatchewan next week to meet the #2 seeded Huskies in a best of 3 quarter-final.

 

Dejon Burdeaux carries the Pronghorns to a sweep of UVic.  photo – ‘Horns Athletics

at Lethbridge 94  Victoria  85 –  For 3/4s it was Victoria with a 7 point spread, as they had at the half.   The Vikes were much more solid than on Friday, and their defense had held the ‘Horns in check.

But Lethbridge cranked it up at both ends in the final 10 minutes, pouring in 33 points to close out the series.  When called upon, Dejon Burdeaux has found a way to get Lethbridge on top, and tonight he did that in spades.  His 34 points came from tough drives to the hoop,  off steals, and at the foul line.  The 4th year guard from Oakland, CA  is constantly in the centre of the action, as 6 steals and 12 rebounds would attest. He created scores for teammates, but did much of the heavy-lifting on his own.  Zac Overwater was also key for the ‘Horns with 14 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assists.  Team rebounding  (UL 47 – UVic 29) created extra chances for the home side, and they cashed 29/39 from the line, as well as going 43% from 3 point range.

The Vikes also shot well from the stripe at 21/23, but ran out of offense when the ‘Horns clamped down in the 4th.   Grant Sitton scored 23 points in his last game for the Vikes, adding 7 rebounds.  His scoring total was matched by a strong game from Hassan Abdullahi, who hit  8/9 from the floor, including 5/5 from 3 point range. Box  Score        Lethbridge qualifies for the quarter-finals, and will meet # 3 Alberta beginning next Thursday night in Edmonton.

 

TRU’s Voldymyr Iegorov posts a big double-double to pace the ‘Pack past Brandon in game 2.

Thompson Rivers 96   at Brandon 64  –   That’s 95+ for the ‘Pack on consecutive nights, and Coach Scott  Clark’s call for defense gets results, as his Wolves force a game 3 on Sunday.  Brandon cannot mount a steady offense, and the shots would not fall for the home side.  TRU hit 48% from the floor to a mere 33% for the ‘Cats.   A real team effort from the visitors, with 11 Wolves hitting the scoresheet, and tremendous team rebounding edge of 54-39 over BU.

The Wolf Pack force a 3rd game  with great long-ball shooting at 12/22 from 3, led by the 3 apiece from Luke Morris and Derek Rhodes.  Meanwhile their all-star 5th year forward, Voldymyr Iegorov scores 20 points, grabs 15 rebounds and makes 3 steals.  Rhodes leads all scorers with 21 pts, and Joe Davis, the 2nd year forward from Kamloops continues his smart play, hitting 6/7 from the floor for 14 points/ 4 rebs.

Brandon got 13 points/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts from Earl Thompson Jr. , and are now challenged to get their offense back on track, and halt the TRU scoring going the other way.  Box  Score          …      Game 3 goes at 3 pm Central on Sunday.

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In the East –  Saturday 

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 75  Acadia 63   Both Dalhousie and UNB have clinched the top 2 seeds  in the AUS tournament at Halifax. There are still games left next week in the AUS regular season.

Quebec – McGill 89  Bishops 71  … the Redmen have clinched 1st in the RSEQ, but there are league games remaining to be played next week.

Ontario – at #1 Carleton 100 Toronto 36,  #5 Ryerson 94 at #3 Ottawa 88 , #4 Brock 91  Windsor 69, Western  95  McMaster 89,  at Guelph 76 Waterloo 74,  at Algoma 88  Nipissing 87, W. Laurier 78  at Lakehead  75

These are the final OUA League games.  The top 4 seeds (by RPI ratings)  , with a bye until the quarter-finals are 1 Carleton  2 Ottawa  3 Ryerson  4 Brock   The 1st round of play-offs are as follows –  #9 McMaster at #8 Windsor ,    #12 Lakehead at #5 Toronto,  #11 Queen’s at #6 Nipissing #10 Laurier at #7 Laurentian … games are Weds, Feb 22.

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Overtime –

  • In Canada West Women’s play-offs –   UBC 76  UNBC  55 – a sweep for the T’Birds. Fraser Valley 61  Calgary 59 – the series goes to a 3rd game at 5 pm Pacific Sunday.   Victoria 68  MacEwan 60–  UVic wins the series 2-0,  Trinity Western 67  Brandon 60 – TWU wins the series 2-1.

 

 

Long Road for 1st Round Play-off Teams

 

 

 4  Competitive Series in 1st Round of Playoffs

              … Thursday start for ‘Play-in’ series’ in Canada West

As the top 4 seeds, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC rest-up, heal, and prepare, there is no slow-down for the 8 teams heading into the ‘Play-in’ series this weekend.  Games start at Manitoba and Winnipeg on Thursday night in two of the best of 3 sets, with Brandon and Lethbridge hosting series’ to begin on Friday.

Here are the match-ups –

Keith Omoerah contributes to the Bisons offense in many ways.      Photo – J. Miller, UM Sports

#12 Regina Cougars at # 5 Manitoba Bisons –  If we look at the past history between these teams, we might be tempted to call this a lock for the Herd.  Manitoba has beaten Regina in 15 of the most recent 16 meetings, including a January sweep at Regina (84-75, and 93-81).  But the Bisons have not been as convincing over the past month, with a couple of losses at Brandon, then close calls with UNBC, and both nights last weekend against Mt. Royal. Regina comes off a solid weekend at home, where they swept the TRU Wolf Pack.

The Cougars and Bisons are both laden with experience;  Regina features guards Alex Igual (14.7 ppg/ 4.6 rebs/ 3.3 assts), Brandon Tull (13.5 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and rookie, Johneil Johnson (12.2 ppg/ 3.7 rebs). Forwards, Brian Ofori (13 ppg/ 6.3 rebs) and  Travis Sylvestre (9 ppg/ 3.6 rebs) have played well of late.

Manitoba have a strong, veteran group, with Justus Alleyn their top scorer at 17.4 ppg/3.6 rebs, and the all-around play of Keith Omoerah (13.2 ppg/ 8.7 rebs).  AJ Basi (13.3 ppg) and Ilarion Bonhomme are dangerous back-court threats.  James Wagner, a big rookie can give the Bisons a boost inside, along with veteran post, Brett Jewell .  The question remains, ‘Which team can pull together and win 2 games this weekend?’  The home court favours Manitoba, and UBC awaits the winner .  (Central) 7:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if a 3rd game is necessary)

Winnipeg’s William Sesay will be a key factor vs Fraser Valley.

#10  Fraser Valley Cascades at #7  Winnipeg Wesmen –  This is the other Thursday start, and we have two guard – oriented teams facing off after both just had road trip weekends.  The Cascades have the quick turnaround from a bus-trip up and back on the icy, snow-packed Coquihalla Highway to Kelowna last weekend.  Wash the uniforms, pack the bags, attend a brief 2 days of classes, and off they go to Winnipeg.  The Wesmen come off a 2 loss weekend in Victoria, and somehow have to ‘right the ship’ , and win the home series vs a UFV squad that has won 4 straight to finish the season.

5th year Cascades back-court shooters, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon against  Winnipeg’s Denzel Lynch-Blair, Sean Tarver, and rookie,  Narcisse Ambanza. The much improved Fraser Valley post man, Nav Bains, battling with the Ws’ big Aussie import, Ryan Oirbans.  Talented complimentary players like the Wesmen’s William Sesay and Jamar Farley  vs Fraser Valley’s Denver Sparks-Guest, Mark Johnson, and Andrew Morris.

The Cascades have won 5 of the past 7 meetings, but the Wesmen have home court.  This is looking like a 3 game series.  Note the different game times (Central) –  Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 3 pm, and Sat. , if necessary, again at 3 pm.  The Saskatchewan Huskies will host the winner in the quarter-finals. 

UVic’s Grant Sitton will be a focus for ‘Horns defenders this weekend.        photo – UVic Athletics

#11 Victoria Vikes at #6 Lethbridge Pronghorns –  Prior to last weekend’s play, the Vikes were literally hanging by a thread, and needing a home sweep of a good Winnipeg team to make the post-season.  They got that sweep, and now are in S. Alberta to face the ‘Horns, who own 2 League wins over the Vikes in January at Victoria.

The Pronghorns are the clear favourites with their guard leader, Dejon Burdeaux (17.1 ppg/ 5.4 rebs/ 4,5 asst/ 3.6 steals) , taking the team on his back, and leading them to key wins.  3 of Burdeaux’s main ‘wing men’ are the sharp-shooting British import, Elliott Sentance (17.6 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 40% from 3 pt),  Mike Pierzchala (11 ppg/ 6 rebs), a threat to ‘run the table’, and 6-8 Zac Overwater (11.6 ppg/ 4.3 rebs.

The Vikes have leaned very heavily on 6-8 Grant Sitton, who’s surely a Canada West all-star, with his 20 ppg/ 6.8 rebs/ and 1.2 steals.  UVic’s only other double digit scorer is rookie import guard Scott Kellum (13.2 ppg), who hits 44% from 3 pt range, and chalks -up 2.4 asst per game.  Justin Kinnear is close to 10 ppg at forward, and he will need help from  Jake Newman and Hassan Abdullahi on the glass, if the Vikes are to stay with the ‘Horns.

We like Lethbridge as the home team here;  Victoria will have to make another jump forward if they hope to get the wins.  Game times are (Mountain) 7 pm on both Friday and Saturday, and 3 pm for a Sunday game, if it’s needed.  The winner here travels to Edmonton to play the Bears in the quarter-finals.

#9 Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   at  #8  Brandon Bobcats –  The Bobcats host their 1st play-off series since 2009 in the old gym  ( SI Director Matt Packwood tells us).  This is the 1st one in their new ‘Healthy Living Centre’.  These teams have only played 9 times, ever, with the most recent a BU home win over TRU in January of 2014, so we can’t rely on trends!

We will watch a compelling battle of the big men, as the ‘Pack bring 5th year, 6-7  import, Volodymyr Iegorov, along with 6-5 Luke Morris, and 6-5 Joe Davis, who are all double digit scorers , with Iegorov among the League’s top rebounders at 9.1 rpg. Brandon responds with high-scoring Earl Thompson Jr (16.2 ppg/ 8.6 rebs), 6-5 Chris Stanhope, and a surging giant in 6-11 John Paul from St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean.  Brandon’s guards are led by shooter, Tyvon Cooper, while TRU has wing man, Michael Rouault, and import guard, Derek Rhodes.

There will be some new-found excitement surrounding this Bobcats team at home, and, if they can limit their turnovers and continue their improved shooting, they may pull this off.  The ‘Pack played in the CW Final last year, and this young team are looking to take another crack at it.  Only improved guard play and team defense will get them to the next round.  It may take 3 games to sort this out.  Winner goes to Calgary to face the Dinos in quarter-finals. 

 

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Overtime –

  • UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, with comments about the RPI system, whereby his 19-1 T-Birds finished as the  4th play-off seed,  “Overall, it’s frustrating but we have known that it’s been coming for a few weeks,” said Hanson.   “It is out of our control and we’re not whining about it. Our players are long over the shock. We are getting prepped to play whomever is put in front of us.  (From  Howard Tsumura’s ‘Varsity Letters’ blog  )
  • In that same ‘Varsity Letters’ posting from last weekend, Hanson reports that Conor Morgan has an ankle injury, but is expected to be ‘shooting by the end of the week.’  Guard Phil Jalalpoor is also getting treatment for an ankle injury. UBC has a bye as a top 4 team this week, and will be at home vs the winner of the Manitoba – Regina series Feb . 23-25.

 

 

Top 2 Teams Meet in Vancouver

 

 

Canada West  leaders square – off  in Vancouver this weekend

West-Coast showdown for old rivals UBC – Alberta

The UBC Thunderbirds (9-1) have ‘lured’ the 11-1 Alberta Golden Bears into War Memorial Gym for a top – 2  showdown this weekend.  Both teams have visions of claiming the top spot, and a sweep by either would be tremendous.

These teams both score very well, and shoot it around 46% from the field. The Bears are the bigger threats from 3 pt. range, with Austin Waddoups, Geoff Pippus, and Ivan Ikomey all in the top 5 long range snipers in CW.  U of A also has an exceptional rebounding team, and the T’Birds will see the board battle as a focus for this match-up.  The Bears own a 5 – 3 edge over the ‘Birds in games played over the past 3 seasons.

Who to look for?        UBCConor Morgan – CW top scorer @ 25.3 ppg ,  Jordan Jensen-Whyte, 5th year guard, 13.3 ppg, who is a big game performer, and 5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik (10.6 ppg), who’s shooting 49% FG.

Alberta –    Austin Waddoups is a feisty, confident lead guard who’s over 50% from anywhere on the floor!  Brody Clarke is a skilled big man, scoring 15 ppg/ 7.5 rebs. and Mamadou Gueye averages 16 ppg/ 7 boards.

The 6th man comparison is intriguing, with former T-Bird, Geoff Pippus, a big scoring threat for the Bears, and young Taylor Browne giving UBC a spark in his 19 mins/game.   We have to call it a toss-up, and expect a split in 2 very tight games.  A sweep either way is a likely ‘game-changer’ for a League finish.

 

‘Horns and Huskies in a swing series at Lethbridge

‘Bridge Town sees renewal of heated Prairie feud

Here are 2 teams looking to contend, and the 8-4 Pronghorns want to use home floor to distance themselves from Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, and Regina. But either in Saskatoon or S. Alberta, over the last 4 seasons Saskatchewan and Lethbridge have split their annual 2 game set evenly.

The ‘Horns ‘king-pin’ is 4th year import guard, Dejon Burdeaux (Oakland, CA), a 2-way leader who shoots 53% from the floor, scores 15 ppg, shares 4.5 assists, grabs 5.5 rebounds, and steals it 3.7 times a game.  UL’s other weapons include import guard, Elliott Sentance, a premier scorer (19.6 ppg, 3rd in CW), who claims 7.3 rebs/game, and Zac Overwater, a 6-8 wing (13.2 ppg) from Lethbridge.

The Sled Dogs (6-4) respond with a powerful inside game, led by the dynamic Shane Osayande, a 6-6, 4th year forward (Toronto), who averages a double of  19 points and 11 rebounds.  A healthy Matt Forbes (12 ppg/8 rebs), a  5th year bruiser, helps the Huskies with their team  +10 rebound margin, and is upping his scoring totals. Speedy guards, Alex Unruh Saskatoon), and Chan De Ciman (Regina) get perimeter help from Jaylan Morgan, a 6-5 swingman, and 6-3 import addition Lawrence Moore.

Why would we expect anything but a split here?  Two good teams, rounding into form will make for a dynamite series in the ‘Bridge Town’.

 

More Canada West action –

Two Winnipeg teams on the road this week –

Denzel Lynch Blair leads the Wesmen against TRU

> The 8-4 Winnipeg Wesmen, led by guards Denzel Lynch-BlairWilliam Sesay, and Sean Tarver head to Kamloops to play the TRU Wolf Pack (6-6).  The ‘Pack have an 8-2 record over the Wesmen in games since 2008.  Thompson Rivers big men Volodymyr Iegorov and Luke Morris will challenge the Ws, and we feel a split may be in the cards.

>  Closer to home base, the Manitoba Bisons (4-6) start their 2nd half at the Regina Cougars (6-4), with the Herd anxious to fulfill the promise of a veteran team coming off a big Wesmen Classic win.  Alex Igual and the Cougars will have to be at their best against Keith Omoerah and the Bisons.

>  Mt. Royal Cougars (5-5) fly to Prince George, BC to face the UNBC Timberwolves (4-8), and MRU are looking to bounce back from a home loss to Brandon.  This series will feature ‘Wolves shooters Rhys Elliott and Marcus MacKay against Cougars forwards Brett Layton and Josh Ross. Neither team will be satisfied with anything but a sweep.

Bobcats shooting guard, Tyvon Cooper

> Victoria Vikes  (3-7) at UBC-O Heat (2-10) –  UVic’s backs are against the wall.  Any play-off hopes for Grant Sitton and the Vikes cannot allow under-dog heroics from the Heat guard pair of Mitch Goodwin and Aldrich Berrios.

>  Another Prairie match-up has the 4-8 Brandon Bobcats at home against the veteran 3-9 MacEwan Griffins.  Brandon is showing new life, with 2nd year guard, ‘Pookie’ Saunders stepping up to complement high scorer Tyvon Cooper and stellar forward, Earl Thompson Jr.  The Griffs’ Thadius Galvez, Denzel James, and 5th year forward, Keith Gerdes will keep it interesting.

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Scores from the East –

Ontario –  at #10 McMaster 85 Laurier 54, at Windsor 85  Western Ont. 78

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Overtime –

  • UFV’s Adam Friesen, on his team’s focus going into their road series at #5 U. Calgary.  “We know we’re facing a really good team, but we hope to come in excited and loose,” Friesen said. “This is going to be a great opportunity to test ourselves and get better. We want to see if we can compete for all 40 minutes harder than we ever have this season, because if we don’t, it’s going to be a long night.” (From Dan Kinvig – UFV Athletics)
  • Conor Morgan video –  5th year star looks to lift T-Birds … from high school prodigy to pro prospect for UBC’s outstanding 6-9 forward.

 

 

 

Spotlight on UBC and Saskatchewan

 

Thunderbirds will be tested in road series in Saskatoon

 This opening week of play in January is a mammoth one for our projected top 3

Jordan Jensen-Whyte of UBC - photo

Jordan Jensen-Whyte is a veteran floor leader for UBC. photo- Thunderbirds Athletics

teams.  We’ve previewed the Calgary-Alberta match-up, and now we take a look at the T-Birds and Huskies (Friday and Saturday in Saskatoon).  UBC is 8-0, and, if they get 2 wins this weekend, they may be the odds-on favourites to get the coveted #1 seed at year’s end.  They have home court vs Alberta, then they will be heavily favoured in the last 4 series.

 No, you say?  Too early?  Well, the ‘Birds are 9-1 vs the Sled Dogs over the past 5 seasons, and have these factors going for them this week –  UBC have a 30 point average winning margin in 8 games. The ‘Birds are one of the top shooting teams @ 46% from the floor vs the 2nd worst 38.6% of the Huskies.  UBC goes 10 deep in most games, while Saskatchewan have been 7 to 7.5 so far.  The Thunderbirds boast the talents of 6-9 wing, Conor Morgan, who averages 25 ppg and leads Canada West with a 61.5% FG average. They have the battle-hardened Jordan Jensen-Whyte (14 ppg/ 6.5 rebs/ 3.5 asst) who is hitting 50% of his shots.  2nd year guard, Taylor Browne is starting to show his exceptional talent with 46% from 3 point range and 48% overall FGs.

On the other hand, U of S has home court, and they have the indomitable Shane Osayande.  The 6-6 forward averages a double-double of 20 ppg and a League-leading 11.6 rebs.  The Huskies have a dominant rebounding margin to go with the League’s top defensive numbers, thusfar.  Guards, Chan De Ciman, Alex Unruh, and Jaylan Morgan are all scoring in double figures, and are all playing valuable minutes on the perimeter.  We expect UBC to win at least 1 of the 2, but Saskatchewan will be up for this at home series against old rivals.

Victoria at Thompson Rivers –  This is the other series needing deeper scrutiny.  The

photo, Jeff Tubbs, TRU

TRU point man, Jeff Tubbs – photo TRU Athletics

‘Pack (5-5) are riding a 6 game win streak, including 2 vs NAIA schools last week in California.  UVic have lost 8 of 10 since the start of League play, with 2 losses at the Wesmen Classic last week.  The once pre-eminent Vikes defensive squad have given up 84 ppg in League play. Victoria at 2-6 in Canada West, simply put, need to get it back on the rails quickly.

TRU are ‘re-building’ after a dream season in 2015-16.  They do still have the stellar work of 6-7 Volodymyr Iegorov, their 5th year all-star forward, who averages 18.6 ppg/ 9 rebounds/ 4 assists.  Forwards Luke Morris and Joe Davis have been complimenting Iegorov.  Import Derek Rhodes, and locals Mike Rouault and Jeff Tubbs have been contributors on the perimeter.   This is a big opportunity at home for Coach Scott Clark and his Wolves, and a critical ‘must have’ for UVic.  Something has to give.

UNBC at Lethbridge –  The Timberwolves  (4-6) desperately need the services of Vaggelis Loukas, their top forward on the season.  Loukas was nursing an injury last weekend, but his 11 ppg and 8 rebounds can add so much. Rhys Elliott ( 19 ppg/ 54% from the floor) is having another outstanding year at the guard spot, and 4th year Marcus MacKay (13.5 ppg) is becoming a bigger factor every game out.  But, we’re in Lethbridge this week, and the ‘Horns are tough at home.  We see lead guard, Dejon Burdeaux, causing UNBC real headaches, along with big Zac Overwater and shooters Elliott Sentance and Mike Pierzchala.   ‘Horns will be hoping to sweep here, and the T’Wolves will need an exceptional team effort.

Brandon at Mt. Royal –  The Cougars (4-4) have had post man, Brett Layton, on the shelf as he struggles with a ‘wonky’ (medical term) ankle.  Obviously he makes a big difference with his rebounding and scoring.  Josh Ross, Derek Wolf and company will want to get back on track after 3 losses in the Dalhousie tournament last week.  Brandon (3-7) was less than impressive  in 3 losses in the Wesmen Classic.  They have the always tough Earl Thompson Jr., but are so inconsistent as a group.  Cougars will be too much with Layton back in action.

Trinity Western at Winnipeg – The Wesmen were not at their best in their 50th Classic, but Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay, and Ryan Oirbans will have big motivation to make this a 2- win weekend.  TWU are making some progress, but the loss of Tyus Allen at the lead guard spot puts them in a difficult spot.  Winnipeg to sweep.

Regina at UBC-Okanagan –  The Green Cougars are not the most predictable team in Canada West.  They’ve won 5 and lost 3.  Beaten Saskatchewan, MacEwan, and Victoria, but twice they lose by 20 and win by 10?!?  What’s up with that?  UBC-O (1-9) is at home, and they are in great need of a win.  This is looking very much like an ‘upset special’ in Kelowna.

Vijay Dhillon can shoot the deep ball for UFV.

MacEwan at Fraser Valley –  The 3-5 Cascades host the 3-7 Griffins in a match-up where we see very little to choose.  UFV Coach Adam Friesen had his troops down in California for 3 games (3 decisive losses),  but he says, “ … it was great to get the group back on the court and get up and down the floor. We got a lot of people a lot of playing time, and we’re ready to get back into league play.”   Veteran guards are the strength of both teams – Thadius Galvez and Denzel James for Mac,  and Manny Dulay with Vijay Dhillon for the Cascades.  The teams split in Edmonton last seaon, and we foresee the same result this time around.

All these game are broadcast on Canada West TV  

__________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime – 

photo- Shane Osayande

The U of S Huskies Shane Osayande is the League’s top rebounder.

  • Canada West’s top rebounders – Shane Osayande, Sask – 11.6, Josh Ross, MRU – 10, Brett Layton, MRU- 9.3, Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU- 9, Matt Forbes, Sask – 8.9, Keith Omoerah, Man – 8.6, William Sesay, Wpg – 7.8, Earl Thompson Jr, Bran – 7.6
  • The physical part of refereeing has become so important, with a faster pace of play using a 24 second clock.  Why then, do we not see a concerted effort on the part of the officials associations to move out some of the older officials and move in more young refs?
  • Name the only team in Canada West to be playing without an import player.  It’s not UBC-O , with their Randy Jernidier from Guadaloupe.  It’s not Manitoba, who have Ilarion Bonhomme from Washington, DC (even though he’s been here so long, we should be a ‘naturalized Canadian’.)   No, it’s the Saskatchewan Huskies, who have, in the recent past, had at least 1 key player from South of the border, but are now ‘all-Canadian’.

 

Home Teams Head to Head

 

 

Opening round in Winnipeg gives us …

The Manitoba Bisons will move onto the semi-final round against the tournament host and fierce intra-city rivals, the Winnipeg Wesmen. The draw-master hoped desperately for this match-up, and the Duckworth Centre should be full for this game on Thursday at 6 pm CST.

 Victoria 90  Brandon 66 – In the opening game of this year’s Classic it’s 48-29 at the half , and Vic looks clearly the better team on the day.  As he has for the whole season, Grant Sitton , ‘The Splendid Splinter’, leads the Vikes scoring with 21, and he adds 9 boards. Wayne Tucker Jr has 12 pts/ 4 asst.  Earl Thompson Jr of the Bobcats earns a double of 14 points/ 11 boards , but 27 BU turnovers and 36% FG shooting slams their chances.  UVic will meet Alberta in the 2nd semi on Thursday, while Brandon will play Lakehead on the consolation half.   Box Score  

Alberta 79  Lakehead 77 –  An Austin Waddoups running trey at the buzzer treats the Bears to a 44-32 spread at the break.  The Alberta zone confounds the Lakehead attackers for much of the 2nd quarter, with very little inside scoring.  Not so in the 3rd quarter, however.  as  the Thunderwolves come alive, and hit 7 treys and score 17/19 from the FT line to take a brief lead .  The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye splashes a last second 3 point shot to snatch the win for U of A, who looked rattled by the ‘Wolves rally.   Brody Clarke scores 22 for Alberta and Austin Waddoups adds 17. Lakehead get 16 from Henry Tan.  Box Score   

Winnipeg 79  Algoma 65 –  Trailing by 10 after 3/4s, the host team in this Wesmen Classic hit the ‘go switch’ for the final 10 minutes and poured in 34 points to zip past the T’Birds.  3rd year CW All-star, Denzel Lynch-Blair,  led with 22 points and rookie Narcisse Ambanza posted 16 for the Ws.  Both William Sesay and Ryan Oirbans hauled down 12 rebounds apiece for UW.  Algoma got 15 points from Sean Clendenning, but their  35% shooting including just 6/31 from outside made it impossible  to hold a lead.   One oddity with this game ?  No one got fouled … well, hardly anyone, as the 2 teams combined for only 11 attempts from the line.  Non-aggression pact ?    Box Score 

Manitoba 100  Regina 79 –     The Bisons, the defending Classic champs,  rumbled over the Cougars with a 50-35 lead at the break, then a 32 point barrage in the 3rd frame. 56% shooting by the Herd eclipsed the cool 35% for Regina. Joey Nitychoruk led Manitoba with 21 points/ 7 rebs, going a perfect 10 of 10 from the floor, while Justus Alleyn added 15 points for the UM who had 5 players in double figures. Samuel Hillis led Regina with 19 points.  Box Score 

_________________________________________________________________________

Great Falls Argos logo

 Great Falls 88  Calgary 85 –   A spirited comeback by Calgary, spurred on by the 15 second half points from David Kapinga, and 7 team treys in the final 20 minutes. The Dinos are out-shot in the 1st half, with the Argos hitting 8 treys vs 3 for the visitors, who trailed 48-41 at the half.  Thomas Cooper scores 22 for the Dinos, with 15 from Kapinga. Isaac Howard of UGF is 7/11 from 3 point range for 21 points.   Box Score   Next up for the Dinos is a drive to Billings and games Thursday vs Rocky Mountain College, and Friday vs a very strong Montana-Western team.

Lethbridge 80  Montana St.- Northern  65 –  The ‘Horns look very sharp in handing the Northern Lights their 1st losss of the season.  Zac Overwater racks up 25 for UL, while import guard, Elliott Sentance, adds 17.  In a key mid-season addition, “Junior” Sesay, a 6-3 guard from Winnipeg, who previously played 1 season for Victoria, dressed for the Pronghorns tonight.  Also seeing his first game was Mark Rodehutskors, a 6-6 red-shirt from Chestermere, who will be counted on in future campaigns.  (Red shirts can dress for limited non-League games without losing eligibility).  This report courtesy of David Wells in Lethbridge.  No Box Score available.

No score for the UBC game vs the ‘Orange Owls’ of Future College , CA played at Phoenix.  UBC has games slated with Phoenix JC on Thursday, and Cochise JC on Friday.

__________________________________________________________

The Mt. Royal game vs Dalhousie in round 1 of the Shoveller Memorial in Halifax is on AUS-TV at 8 pm Atlantic time (5 pm Mountain)

We have no TV info for the UNBC game vs UQAM in Montreal. 

_________________________________________________________

Overtime –

  • The lack of play- by- play on the early games via Canada West TV from the Wesmen Classic shouldn’t throw us off too much. But we can only think how much more engaging this would be with ex-coach, now Athletic Director at UW, Dave Crook on the mic!   Really, there must be a budding young sports broadcaster somewhere in Winnipeg who’s itching for some ‘on-the-job-training’!
  • From Dave Crook’s Classic memories –  “The 50th is a wonderful thing for the Classic. Hardly any events reach their 50th year these days, for this tournament to reach 50 is amazing!”  Crook also admits that as a young kid he was a Bisons’ fan, but has now ‘seen the right path’ !
  • Former shooting star for the Wesmen, Ken Opalko, reminds us that back in the ‘80s this tournament was known as the ‘Golden Boy Classic’ .  How many of you from outside of Manitoba know why ‘Golden Boy’ ?   (Other than former Dinos big man, Ian Ferguson, of course !)
  • We phone Wesmen Coach, Mike Raimbault, to wish him and his team good luck at the Classic, and who intercepts the call?  Living legend, former Vikes coach, Ken Shields, who must have cadged a seat in First Class with UVic from the coast.  Ken has been a mentor and friend of Coach Raimbault since Mike’s tenure with the Timberwolves of UNBC when they won the CCAA championship.
  • 50th Wesmen notes … Do the Brandon Bobcats know the #1 East to Winnipeg ?  Sidney, Bagot, Portage, Dacotah. In their sleep !  … There’s a suspicion that the Bisons are confident of passing the Wesmen in CW League play.  But who goes to the 50th Final ?

Huskies Cage Cougars

 

 

Big rebounding edge gives the Huskies a lift

Shane Osayande leads the Huskies in their win at Regina Friday.

Shane Osayande leads the Huskies in their win at Regina Friday.  photo – Huskies Athletics

Saskatchewan 77  at Regina  53 –  Saskatchewan (5-2) gets game 1 in the Prairie battle in Regina, but the prettiest thing about this one were the Huskies rebound stats.  Chan De Ciman was ‘slacking off’ with just 6 boards, with the other 4 starters at 9, 9,10, and 10, while Emmanuel Akintunde scoops a team high 11 in his 17 minutes off the bench.  68 boards for the ‘Dogs vs 38 for the Cougars.  With the 25% FG shooting from Regina (4-3), and a cool 34% from the winners there were a ton available.  Shane Osayande leads U of S with 22 pts/ 10 boards, and Matt Forbes counts 20 pts/9 rebs.   Brandon Tull is a lone Cougar in double figurees with 12 points.     Box Score   

br-bobcats-copy

 at Brandon 101  Fraser Valley  84  –  The Bobcats hit the century mark for the first time this season, as they pile up 54 in the 2nd half.  Brandon  shoots 49% from the field, with 12/26 (46%) from 3 point range in the game. The ‘Cats, now 3-6, forced 18 Cascades turnovers, and had all 5 starters score 12 pts+. Earl Thompson Jr. had another good outing for BU, hitting 26 pts/ 13 rebounds, while Chris Stanhope scored 18, and Tyvon Cooper had 17.  UFV (2-5) shot only 33% on the night;  their top man was Denver Sparks- Guest, who came off the bench for 21 points.     Box Score  

Lethbridge 89 at Trinity Western 81 –  Lethbridge come back after trailing early, and they go to 5-4, while Trinity drops to 2-7.  Mike Pierzchala and Zac Overwater both score 24 for the ‘Horns, while Vartan Tanielian leads the Spartans with 21. Box Score

 

  Thompson Rivers  87  at UNBC 81  –  Playing without their top offensive threat, an injured Rhys Elliot, the Timberwolves got an amazing 39 point team effort in the 4th quarter, but couldn’t make up for the 69-42 deficit after 3/4s.  The Wolf Pack shot a surgical 55% from the floor, led by Volodymyr Iegorov’s 23 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assts. UNBC get 22 points from import Austin Chandler, but shoot just 36% themselves. They rally in the late stages with 12 treys (vs 5 for TRU) and 25/30 from the line. The ‘Pack improve to 4-5, now tied with the T’Wolves.  Box Score 

at  #2 UBC  100  UBC- Okanagan  64 –  The Thunderbirds (7-0) finished in a punishing 53-32 fashion, as the visiting Heat (1-8) hung in to as close as 14 points late in the 3rd quarter,  but were overwhelmed.  UBC’s  Conor Morgan takes over the Canada West scoring lead with a 34 point night, and Jordan Jensen-Whyte adds 20 pts/ 5 steals. Mitch Goodwin led UBC-O with 15 pts, and Aldrich Berrios tallied 9 pts/ 7 boards.  Key stats –  29 Heat turnovers vs 12 for the ‘Birds, and  33/41 free throws for the home side against  16/22 for UBC.   Box Score 


 

Other U-Spots games Friday

 Quebec-  Concordia  72  at UQAM 65

 Carleton Coach, Dave Smart, in the huddle with his Ravens, during their game with Brock tonight .

Carleton Coach, Dave Smart, in the huddle with his Ravens, during their game with Brock tonight .   photo –  Ron Wuotila for Canada West Hoops

Ontario –  at  #1 Carleton 80  #5 Brock 68,  at #4  Ottawa 79  #7  McMaster 59,  Algoma 76  at York 73 , Nipissing 83  at Waterloo  78,  at  Laurier 81 Laurentian 75


 

Overtime –

  • Why do coaches develop ‘eye-tics’ and other nervous afflictions?  Well, one reason may be the Canada West playoff tie-breaking system.  This process takes place after all League games are done in February, but is cause for concern even now.  Here are the first 3 criteria . 1. Win/Loss record in head to head competition. 2. Win/Loss record versus common opponents. 3. Each team’s RPI ranking.  We are not likely to go beyond this RPI, but we may well get to it.  The Rating % Index is a complicated formula to judge a team based on their winning percentage, that of their League opponents, and of their  opponents’  opponents .   At present here are some RPIs … Manitoba 3W-6L – .6042 RPI = 3rd in Canada West  ?!  …   Regina 4W-3L – .4218 RPI  = 14th in the CW RPI !!  More to come.  Oh … #1 Carleton Ravens are 9-0 vs all CIS opponents, and 9th in the National RPI ranking.
  • Our continuing thanks and appreciation for the amazing work done by Martin Timmerman (Waterloo, ON) on his web-site   cishoops.ca  .  Schedules, results, team information, league standings across the country, and an absolute wealth of statistics, records, and salient facts about Canadian University Basketball. ( Martin, you ‘Da Dog’ !)
  • Is the 3 point shot ‘ruining the game’  or making it more exciting ? Let’s
    MRU's Josh Ross fires a deep one for 3 points !

    MRU’s Josh Ross fires a deep one for 3 points !    photo-  MRU Athletics

    look at some stats and recent results …  9-0 Alberta are the leading 3 point shooting team in Canada West @ 43.9% , then Calgary (6-1) @39.9%, but UBC (6-0) are 13th in the League @30% from outside the arc!  The 4-2 Saskatchewan Huskies just 29.8%, which is well below the UBC-O Heat (1-7), who shoot 35.1% on 3s. In Thursday’s Calgary win (87-83) at Mt. Royal, the Dinos were 50.8% from the floor, but 3/17 (17.6%) from 3 pt range.  The smaller Cougars (especially after their 6-8 post man, Brett Layton was injured early on) used the 3 point shot as a primary focus of their attack.  MRU were only 37% from the floor, but, of those 70 shots, 31 were from outside, and they made 12 for 38.7% and 36 very valuable points!  (And the fans seemed pretty excited ….)

 

 

‘Horns Earn Split at Winnipeg

 

 Sentance and Overwater  Lead Pronghorns’ to Win

Import wing, Elliott Sentance scores 25 pts to pace Lethbridge

Import wing, Elliott Sentance, scores 25 pts to pace Lethbridge Saturday in their close win at Winnipeg.

 Lethbridge 78  at Winnipeg  75 –  The Pronghorns find themselves behind by 10 after 1 quarter, but they chip away and win each of the remaining 3 frames.  It’s back and forth for the whole 2nd half, and a Lethbridge steal and break-away hoop for Zac Overwater with 1 minute left give UL the edge. Two 3 point chances for the Ws in the last 10 seconds fail to go, and Lethbridge gets the split.  Both teams sit at 4-2 in the tight Canada West standings.   Box Score    Wesmen – 4 in double figures … Sean Tarver 15 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 steals, Denzel Lynch-Blair  10 pts/ 4 rebs/5 asst/4steals   Pronghorns –  Elliot Sentance 25 pts/ 7 rebounds/ 5/7 from 3 point range , Zac Overwater  23 pts/ 6 rebs/10 of16 FG

at Alberta  83   Thompson Rivers  52  –  The drama is out of this game early, as U of A is up 46-24 at the break. The Bears shoot 48% from the floor to 31% for TRU, with 12 Alberta treys to only 3 for the ‘Pack. Alberta is perfect at 6-0, while TRU slips to 1-5 on the season.   Box Score     Bears –   Mamadou Gueye  17 points/ 7 rebs/ 3 asst  Austin Waddoups 16 pts / 4 rebs/ 4 steals  Wolf Pack –   Voldymyr Iegorov 10 pts/ 5 rebs  Joe Davis 11 pts

hus-copyat Saskatchewan 79  Brandon 50  –  The Huskies hang another W up, in a game where neither team was too efficient at the offensive end.  U of S are 39% from the floor, and Brandon a very cold 30%.  With a 12 point lead at the half, Saskatchewan picked up the scoring pace with 43 pts in the final 20 minutes, as they pull away. 4 Huskies in double digits, and they score 10 treys to 3 for the ‘Cats, and 19-9 points at the foul line.          Box Score   Huskies – Shane Osayande 12 pts / 11 rebs pts/ / , Jaylan Morgan 19 points , Chan De Ciman 12 pts/ 8 rebs     Bobcats –  Chris Stanhope 11 pts/ 3 assists

MacEwan 67  Victoria 63 –  The Griffs win a scrappy split with the Vikes, as Thadius Galvez and Harrison Lane make a pair of scoring drives to the hoop late in the contest.  31% from the floor for a struggling UVic offense, which could not take advantage of some FT misses by the home side in the last minute, as Justin Kinnear is the only Vice in double digits. Both teams are now 2-4 on the season.   Box Score   Griffins –  Galvez 19 pts /7 rebs, Keith Gerdes 13 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3/3 from 3 pt range   Vikes – Justin Kinnear 18 pts/ 13 rebounds

at UBC 75 Manitoba 72 –  The Bisons have a golden opportunity to get the win, but conjure up several ways to deny themselves the pleasure.  A lane violation on a missed UBC free throw opens the door for a series of dismaying Manitoba errors in the decisive last minute. 28/39 free throw efforts for the T-Birds keep them close, as does the 34% FG shooting from the Herd. The game suffers from excessive fouling, an ejection,  and 2 technical fouls to each team.  Low artistic impression.  Box Score     T’Birds – Conor Morgan  22 pts/ 7 rebs,  Jordan Jensen-Whyte 16 pts/ 6 rebs/ 3 steals  Bisons – AJ Basi 17 pts/ 5 rebs/ 9 steals , Justus Alleyn 15 pts, Keith Omoerah 13 pts/ 6 rebs/ 3 asst/ 3 steals

Josh Ross has a big night for Mt. Royal as the cougars sweep UBC-O

Josh Ross has a big night for Mt. Royal as the cougars sweep UBC-O

Mt. Royal 97 at UBC-O 68  – MRU finish off a red-hot offensive weekend with 54 second half points to add to a 43-21 lead at the break. Josh Ross, a 4th year transfer ( Vancouver Island U.) who was the CCAA player of the year in ’15-’16, posts a strong 28 point/ 10 rebound double.  The Cougars’ bench adds 33 points, including Chart Gill’s 3/3 from 3 point range.  MRU move to 3-1, while the Heat fall to 1-5.    Box Score   Cougars – Ross 28/ 10,  Brett Layton 13 pts/ 11 rebs/ 3 blocks   Heat – Mitch Goodwin 23 pts/ 7 rebs, Aldrich Berrios 16 pts/ 6 rebs/ 6 asst/ 3 steals

 

UNBC copy at UNBC 85  Trinity Western 70 –  The ‘Wolves hang up 33 points in the 3rd quarter to put this one out of reach. 11 treys by UNBC to 6 for TWU, and 22 Spartan turnovers create problems for the visitors.  Marcus MacKay is 6/12 from 3 pt range on his way to 26 points for the T’Wolves. The Timberwolves and Spartans are both now 2-4 in League play.   Box Score   Timberwolves –  Marcus MacKay 26 pts,  Vaggelis Loukas 19 pts/ 8 rebs, Rhys Elliot 18 pts/ 4 rebs/ 4 asst     Spartans –  Max Vitala 12 pts / 4 rebs, Peter Spanghei 11 pts


 More CIS scores on Saturday –

Ontario –  Ottawa 91 at Algoma 59 , at Queens 78  Waterloo 59,  Brock 86  Guelph 75,   at Windsor 83  Lakehead 69, at #9 Ryerson 98 Laurentian 61, at Toronto 86  Nipissing 74     Laurier 74  at York  67

Quebec – Concordia 77 UQAM 72 , at Laval 74  Bishops 64

Atlantic –  at Acadia 89  UNB 88 ,  St. Marys 93 UPEI 64 , Memorial 90  Cape Breton 69


 

Overtime –

3point-shootout-med

  •  The Fraser Valley Cascades are inviting high school basketball players to compete for the title of B.C.’s Best Three-Point Shooter. UFV Athletics will be holding three-point shooting contests at halftime  of their home games on Saturday, Nov. 26 vs. the UNBC Timberwolves. The male and female contest winners will receive a package of prizes featuring a game basketball from Skyline Athletics. From UFV Athletics , Dan Kinvig

Wesmen, Pronghorns Highlight Week 3

 

Week 3 –  Pronghorns Go to Winnipeg, Two 3-1 Teams Tussle

Denzel Lynch-Blair and his Wesmen teammates host the Lethbridge Pronghorns this week.

William Sesay and his Wesmen teammates host the Lethbridge Pronghorns this week.    photo –    UW Athletics

Lethbridge (3-1) at Winnipeg Wesmen (3-1)  –  Here are two teams perched near the top, and a sweep for either would be a major coup.  The Wesmen are quick, aggressive on defense.  They are shooting the ball well (45% FG) and scoring more from 3 point range (10.3 per game) than in the past. The Ws also are +6 on their rebounding. Import guard Sean Tarver (15.8 ppg) has added offensive depth to the Winnipeg attack.  ’15-’16 all-star, Denzel Lynch Blair (15.5 ppg) has now expanded his game, and there are 5 more Wesmen who are contributing 8 ppg or more.

Lethbridge, like the Wesmen, are scoring just over 80 ppg, but not as much from outside.  They are also a +6 rebounding team, and the ‘Horns defense has been sharp at limiting the opponents 3 pt FG% (29%, which is 2nd in CW).  U of L have 4 scorers averaging double figures … Elliott Sentance with 18.8 ppg, Dejon Burdeaux at 17 ppg, Zac Overwater 14.8, and Mike Pierzchala 12.5.  Our call – In a tight match-up, UW has the home court.

Manitoba (2-2) at UBC (2-0)-  Manitoba won a 66-64 home court decision vs the ‘Birds last January, but that is the only time in 21 games dating back to 2001. This season the Thunderbirds are #2 ranked and unbeaten in CIS play, while Manitoba are 4-5 overall and 2-2 in Canada West play.

The Thunderbirds have scored 87 ppg and given up 63.5 ppg; their rebound margin is +19 per game! Manitoba has a strong veteran core, with a couple of key additions this season.  The problem has been that they are not consistently producing a winning team effort.   Our call – Two wins at home by UBC.

Thompson Rivers (1-3)  at Alberta (4-0)-  We were surprised to see the ‘new-look’ Wolves  steal one at Manitoba; now can they engineer another road upset in Edmonton?  Big Volodymyr Iegorov (18.5 ppg) has able assistance from 5 others in the ‘Pack, as Luke Morris, Derek Rhodes, Joe Davis, Jeff Tubbs and Mike Rouault are all 8 ppg+.  But mediocre shooting numbers and near 20 turnovers a game limit their offensive efficiency.

Mamadou Gueye leads the 4-0 vs this week at U of A.

Mamadou Gueye leads the 4-0 Bears vs TRU this week at U of A.

Alberta have Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke scoring and rebounding up front, plus import guard  Austin Waddoups and transfer Geoff Pippus both shooting 50% from 3 point range.  The Bears score near 87 ppg and allow only 64 ppg to their opponents, while TRU almost exactly reverses those numbers.   Our call –  The GBs in their own den, get the sweep over the ‘Pack.

Victoria (1-3) at MacEwan(1-3) –  Home court was only good for a 4-6 mark last year for the Griffs, but they look deeper this season at the point, with Adonis Monfort-Palomino, with a 10-11 man rotation, and the game-in, game-out efforts of Thadius Galvez and Denzel James. Mac needs to improve on a -5 rebound margin, and to tighten up on a defense allowing 85 ppg.

The Vikes were not sharp against Calgary last week, and they need to find their most effective combos.  Scott Kellum is a good looking rookie point man, and import, college transfer, Wayne Tucker J,r can score.  Now, do we see the typical gritty Vikes defensive effort, or do they continue to struggle ?  88 ppg against will give someone heartburn !   Our call- A split is the most logical.

Mt. Royal (1-1) at UBC-O (1-3) –  It’s very early to make this cliched pronouncement, but here goes, regardless;  neither of these teams can feel good about a split this coming weekend.  The Cougars have had a a glimmer of superior play this Fall, but this is a series where 2 games in the W column are needed.

Okanagan are even more ‘needy’ for a home sweep with a 1-3 mark.  The match-ups … Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin at guard for the Heat vs Derek Wolfe and Glen Yang for the Cougars.  Ryan Morck and David Manshrek of UBC-O with a big task facing Brett Layton and Josh Ross of MRU.   Our call-  Edge to the Cougars.

Brandon (2-2)  at Saskatchewan (2-2) –   The Huskies are coming off a tough loss to Winnipeg on Saturday, and have been leaning heavily on their versatile post man, Shane Osayande, who boasts a 22.5 ppg and 15 rebs  stat line. Alex Unruh, at the point, is 13 ppg/ 3 assists, but the shooting % for the rest of the ‘Dogs’ pales in comparison.  Sask. is last in Canada West in team FG%  at 38% and in 3 pt% at 27.4%. The talent is there.  It’s time for the Huskies to play to their strengths.

The Bobcats come in with 2-2 record, already ahead of last season !  Import guard Tyvon Cooper a proven scorer from the Jr. College ranks in the U.S. is at 19.8 ppg, but needs others to step up in the scoring column.  They allow 70 ppg … pretty good!  But score just 70 ppg, and shoot only inconsistently from the floor, and 59.8% from the line, last in CW.  This is a potentially winning defense, but they need more  shared scoring.  Our call – The Huskies should sweep at home.

The T'Wolves scoring ace, Rhys Elliot will look to get win #1 for UNBC this week.

The T’Wolves scoring ace, Rhys Elliot will look to get win #1 for UNBC this week.

Trinity Western (2-2)  at UNBC  (0-4) –  The Timberwolves at home, and they will be campaigning for a pair of wins to get their pack moving forward.  Trinity is showing signs of life, and they are not just going to roll over, however.  Rhys Elliot shoots 52% from the floor for the T’wolves, and is 19.3 ppg; he just needs Marcus MacKay, Vaggelis Loukas, and a few others to pull harder on the ropes !

The Spartans have Vartan Tanielien (14 ppg), Pogos Trunyan (13 ppg), and 3 others at or near double figures. TWU needs to shoot it better as a team, and defend the trey more consistently.  Our call-  This may be another split , we suspect. 

All 3 of Calgary, Fraser Valley, and Regina get a bye this week.


screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-8-25-42-pm

Little Change in Top 10 –

It’s early, and some of the top teams haven’t played a League game, so not much to report.

We still have 5 OUA teams crowding the rankings, with just 2 from Canada West, 1 from Quebec, and 2 from the Atlantic.

Carleton and Ottawa join the rest of Ontario for a full slate this week. McMaster and Brock meet tonight in the only Top 10 match-up.

 


 

Overtime –

  • “I was telling these guys before the game, I’m proud of them because so far they’ve been the toughest group I’ve had,” said Brandon Coach Gil Cheung, following his team’s win over UBC-O last weekend. “I can get on them, I can coach them tough and sometimes it’s tough love. Sometimes the truth is harder to say than blowing smoke up their butt, but they’ve responded and everyone has a role. They value their role and that’s the biggest thing that everyone values each other in that room.”   From the Brandon Sun story by Nathan Liewicki         
  • “Decades have passed since CBC covered something as populist as basketball, though hundreds of thousands of Canadians play the game and 49 university teams battle on the hardcourt. And while an estimated 12 million Canadians are involved in amateur sports in some fashion (whether as participants, coaches, administrators or referees), according to the sports gurus at CBC, they’re all primarily interested in watching wealthy people leap fences while seated on a horse.”  From a story by Wayne Kondro for CIS Sport / U-Sport.

Best Game, Biggest Turnaround

 

 

 

Winnipeg Nips Saskatchewan in Overtime !  –  Our best game of the week –

Sean Tarver's 21 points helped Winnipeg edge Saskatchewan in overtime on Saturday.

Sean Tarver’s 21 points helped Winnipeg edge Saskatchewan in overtime on Saturday.

The Wesmen and the Huskies hook up for a shootout in the Saturday return bout in Saskatoon.  (U of S wins on Friday (76-68) in a fairly pedestrian fashion, as they are +11 from the foul line, shoot 36% from the floor and the Ws turn it over 21 times. )

But on Saturday both sides engage the ‘long-range bombing’ strategy … the Huskies are 41% from 3 point range (14/34), as Alex Unruh is 5/5 and Reid Thuringer (who?) is off the bench with 3/6 .  The Wesmen are not fazed, however.  At least not in the 2nd half, which they win 43-33 to tie it up, and send the game to OT.

Winnipeg are 17 of 34 for the game from beyond the arc, as  William Sesay is 4/5, Marcello Kambola, in 17 minutes off the bench, is 5/7 !  Who are these ‘masked marauders’? Sesay grabs 12 rebounds from his guard spot, while Denzel Lynch-Blair deals out 9 helpers.  Sean Tarver hits 8/12 from the floor, and 4/7 from 3 to lead the Ws with 21 points.  These are pearls here folks !

The Huskies’ Shane Osayande continues to shine, even in a loss, with his ‘usual’ double-double of 23 points and 17 rebounds.  The man shouldn’t wear a warm-up top … give him a green/white/black cape, and a phone booth !

There are 44 turnovers, which lent a ‘touch of zany’ to the proceedings, but the entertainment factor was high in this Prairie showdown, our best game of week 2.

 

Reversal  of the Week –   Mt-Royal – Lethbridge

The Pronghorns Mike Pierzchala was a double threat in the win over MRU on Saturday.

The Pronghorns Mike Pierzchala was a double threat in the win over MRU on Saturday.             photo – Pronghorns Athletics

Is it the water, or all those rabid fans ? On Thursday in Calgary, the Cougars get their season underway in grand style, as 3rd year guard, Glen Yang,  goes wild with a 32 point out-burst.  He shoots 13/19 FG, including 6/8 from outside, tallying 16 points each half. Derek Wolf, Yang’s 5th year dance partner in the MRU back-court, scores 23 points of his own, and Brett Layton cashes 17 points/ 13 rebounds.  Lethbridge commits 25 turnovers and lose 93-72.

Down to L.A. for the re-match on Saturday, and the ‘worm turns’ !   The Pronghorns are in full sprint, as they hit 48% of their field goals to a chilly 34% for the Cougars. A pair of local high school stars, Zac Overwater (LCI) and Mike Pierzchala (Winston Churchill), now 3rd year ‘Horns, stack their stats-lines and trample the Cougs.  The 6-8 Overwater scores 24 pts/5 boards, 3 asst/3 steals/ 2 blocks (and takes out the garbage?) .  The 6-4 Pierzchala is  20 pts/ 14 rebounds for a nifty double.

MRU are ‘dazzled by the bright lights’ of West Lethbridge, and out-rebounded 46-34. The 2 night turnaround, after the 83-60 U of L victory is  a whopping 44 points.  The ‘Wild West’ !


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Overtime –

  • Seen in the stands –  at the Vikes – Dinos games in Victoria  … former coaches Ken and Kathy Shields,  Don Horwood, Rob Poole, Steve Roth … players – James Newman (Jamie) UVic, Ross Bekkering, Calgary   … and a huge 10-strong family contingent  for UC Assistant Matt Skinn.
  •   Other CIS scores on Sunday –  Memorial 93  St. FX  79, Laval 66  Concordia  65 ,