Wednesday, 13 December 2006

AUS Discussion

Before we summarize the first half of the AUS season, Brandon moved to 16-3 overall on the season with a solid second half to claim a 73-67 non-conference victory over Minot State Beavers (NAIA Division 2, Dakota Athletic Conference) in Minot, N.D. over the weekend. No articles are available from Minot web site or local newspapers however their is a recap from the Brandon site here

AUS Men's Update

If pre-holiday results are the gauge, it appears that the Nelson division has probably 4 of the 5 top teams in the AUS with CIS Top 10 teams St.FX and Cape Breton flying high at 4-1, improving Acadia (3-3) and UPEI (2-3) with its array of athletic talent. St.Mary's leads the Baldwin with 10 points at 3-2 but have not yet played Cape Breton or X. Memorial swept St. Mary's at home, handing them their only 2 league losses while Dal (2-4) and UNB (1-5) will try to turn things around in the new year. Overall, the Nelson division is 8-3 vs. Baldwin.

Nelson Division


The beat goes on in Antigonish as the #3 ranked team in the country continues as the team everyone knows they have to go through to win Atlantic Canada. 6'10" center Neil McDonald led the way with 21 points as the X-Men rode into the break with a tough 2 point win at home against improving Acadia. Third-year guard Tyler Richards has emerged as X's top offensive weapon, averaging 17.1 ppg with a season-high of 28 in the win at UPEI. Fellow backcourt mate, freshman Christian (T-Bear) Upshaw has stepped right in and, along with Canada's top defender, Garry Gallimore, make up one of the most imposing, athletic sets of wings in Canada. Coach K rides his big 4 of McDonald (14.8 ppg/7.3 rpg), Richards, Gallimore (16 ppg) and Upshaw (12.3 ppg) over 30 minutes per game each; these four account for about 70 ppg (X averages 78 ppg).

X will play in the Rod Shoveller tournament in Halifax over the holidays beginning with a first round pairing with Montmorency from Quebec CEGEP league in what promises to be an above-the-rim extravaganza.

Both X sites are of the highest quality and include links to webcasts of previous games X official web site

Blue and White X-Press Booster Club Site

Cape Breton

Last season's CIS semi-finalists had an inconsistent pre-season, losing to #2 UBC by 11 at Memorial tournament and then were hammered on consecutive nights at the UNB tournament by a pair of OUA East teams: losing to Carleton by 20 in a Nationals rematch and then losing by 24 to Queen's. In league play, the Capers handed X their only loss of the season to a CIS school, 86-80 in Sydney behind Paul Blake's 25 points and narrowly lost a 3 point game in Antigonish with Blake again leading the way with 27. As well, the Capers swept Memorial in St. John's, always a very tough place to win at all, let alone come away with a sweep. Fifth-year forward Eric Breland (11.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) again leads the way for the well-balanced Capers who have 7 players averaging at least 6.5 points per game including Blake (10.6 ppg), Corey Hargrove (10.3 ppg), Jarrett Timmons (8.5 ppg) and steady point guard Ryan Keliher (7.9 ppg).

The Capers, with 4 players on their roster from the Greater Toronto Area, will participate in Ryerson's Ed DeArmon Memorial tournament over the holidays, beginning with a match against #8 Brock Badgers. The Capers are in the difficult side of the draw as the winner is likely to meet York Lions in the semi-finals.

Official Cape Breton Men's basketball site


The most improved team in Atlantic Canada since a November 12th loss at Dal, the Axemen, led by 2nd year coach Les Berry put it together in their last 4 games prior to the break, defeating UPEI, slamming UNB, handing #10 Cape Breton their only loss in AUS play right in Sydney and then losing a tough 2 point game at #3 X. The Axemen are led by 6'3" dynamo Paulo Santana, former City of Toronto Player-of-the-Year now in his second season in Wolfville, who averages 18.8 ppg including a 33 point effort in a non-conference win against Ryerson and back-to-back 27 point efforts against Dal and PEI. 6'0" second-year guard Peter Leighton averages 13.6 ppg and shoots 50% from downtown in league play. 6'4" third-year forward Luckern Dieu (Montreal) led the Axemen with 20 in their narrow loss to X on the last weekend of pre-holiday play and averages 11.9 ppg overall. Freshman point guard Andrew Kraus (Markham), runs a steady point showing his "coaches son" instincts while averaging almost 30 mpg even though he's only scoring 2.8 ppg. With transfers Shawn Berry and Leonil Santil waiting in the wings, the future appears bright for Acadia however if the past 4 games are any indication, the future may be now for this emerging team.

Acadia is also participating in the Rod Shoveller Tournament over the holidays and draws last season's Quebec league champions UQAM in the first round.

Official Acadia Men's basketball site


New coach Matt Davies took over the job in mid-summer and with little time to recruit, still was able to attract a couple of key newcomers to a stable of veterans. Still, all 5 starters play at least 28 minutes per game including 3 fifth-year veterans in 6'5" All-Canadian Sherone Edwards, 6'9" Doug McKinney and 6'5" forward Peter Stay so Davies first full recruiting class for next season will be key. Edwards, from Brampton, ON, the author of numerous highlight reel, in traffic slams over the course of his career, leads the team in scoring at 18.3 ppg and rebounding at 10.3 rpg. Former Canadian Jr. National team member McKinney has battled injuries and fitness over the last couple of seasons but, when properly motivated, is by far one of Canada's top big men. Stay is a steady performer at 9.0 ppg. 5'10" Brent MacLaren moved into the starting point guard spot after the graduation of Tyler Wood and has logged 32.4 mpg while averaging 11.9 ppg. Another fourth-year veteran, Jared Budd rounds out the starting lineup. Three Greater Toronto Area athletes log the majority of the minutes off the bench: 6'3" high flyer Jon Cooper (Etobicoke C.I.), a freshman, averages 5.6 ppg while 5'10" fourth-year guard Shakir Chambers and 6'8" forward Awale Dualeh also get time off the bench in what is basically an 8 man rotation with 5 players logging almost 80% of the minutes.

The Panthers head to Toronto for the holidays with their GTA-laden lineup to face the winless Lakehead Thunderwolves in the first round of Ryerson's Ed DeArmon tournament and with a win could face the host Rams in the second round assuming Ryerson can defeat Memorial.

Official UPEI Men's basketball site

Recent UPEI Article from Summerside Journal Pioneer by Chris Marshall

Here is a link to AUS stats aplenty. Note that AUS, Canada West and Quebec conferences all take advantage of Stats Crew software's excellent statistical tools. All it takes is a commitment to provide the data to a central source and a commitment from that central source to put it together (very user friendly). Unfortunately for fans in the largest province in Canada and those counting on the national site for this type of information, stats appear differently and are much more cumbersome to meander through. Good on the AUS and others for doing things right. AUS statistics from official AUS web site

Stay tuned for a roundup of the AUS Baldwin division in the next blog entry.

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