Friday, 2 February 2007

Weekend Previews: Key Games on Friday

In Thursday night's only game in the CIS, Simon Fraser Clan clinched 3rd place in Canada West Pacific Division with an 87-71 victory over fourth-place Trinity Western Spartans behind graduating senior Aaron Christensen's 26 points and 12 rebounds, his fifth double/double of the season. Christensen (pictured), who was honoured on Seniors Night prior to the game, allowed the Clan (10-11) the right to play the second place finisher in a Best-of-3 playoff series in two weeks. The teams meet again tonight at Trinity Western Simon Fraser Clinches Third Place

As always, is all over this weekend's key games involving Saskatchewan, which still has hopes of capturing the Central Division pennant in Canada West including this article concerning the conference scoring record that Andrew Spagrud is chasing - Spagrud needs only 53 points to become Saskatchewan's all-time leading scorer in conference games (with quotes from Kevin Hansen, Don Horwood and Mike Connolly) Huskies Spagrud has sights on U of S record As well has a weekend preview and a set of game notes. Finally, hearty congratulations to Nathan Schellenberg, Huskies assistant coach who was recently hired by Basketball Saskatchewan. Schellenberg will be based in Saskatoon, coaching to help prepare Team Saskatchewan for the 2009 Canada Summer Games and work full-time for until the 2009 Canada Games are completed.

A nice article from Joe Scanlon that recently appeared on web site providing Joe's thoughts on Halifax, Hamilton, Ottawa and other Nationals topics Nationals Thoughts

Friday's key CIS games:
In OUA East play, #9 Ottawa (14-3) visits Toronto (10-6) to play the Blues who are looking to avenge a one-point loss to the Gee-Gees in Ottawa on the first weekend of the second half when Ottawa came from 9 down in the last 3 minutes and Blues Mike Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one with no time remaining and a chance to tie and then win the game. The Blues are arguably Canada's top defensive team and the Gee-Gees are set-oriented offensively so Ottawa will have to create scores off their "d", which recently has been much more aggressive on the ball and with double teams and shooting gaps off the ball. Williams gives the Blues a decided edge inside and Toronto's tough ball defender, Dwayne Grant, typically gives Gee-Gees all-conference candidate Josh Gibson-Bascombe fits. Fifth-year senior Ben Katz has quietly put together a solid season as he is among the CIS leaders in 3 point shooting and brings a maturity to Toronto's perimeter game. Gee-Gees Sean Peter has had a breakout season offensively playing with much more confidence. Ottawa's ability to get good minutes from deeper in their bench with 6'3" Donnie Gibson, 5'11" Willy Manigat and 6'5" David Labentowicz will determine how aggressive the Gee-Gees can be defensively. Ottawa is three games clear of the logjam in third place in the OUA East in which 3 teams are tied including the Blues, York and Queen's. Five OUA East teams are rated in the Top 15 in Canada. In other OUA East action on Friday, #3 Carleton (15-2) visits Ryerson (6-10) in a game that can be heard on Ryerson Radio Carleton at Ryerson audio , RMC (1-15) visits York (10-6) while Queen's (10-6) visits Laurentian (3-13) in Sudbury. Two big games in Canada West as #8 Victoria (16-3) visits Saskatchewan (11-7) in a battle of two second-place teams. The Vikes hope to have 5th year shooting guard Steve Moore in the lineup; regardless, Victoria has depth up front and in the backcourt that will test Saskatchewan. The Huskies, with Canada West leading scorer and leading rebounder 6'8" forward Andrew Spagrud (pictured), may look to shorten the game given their comparative lack of depth. Saskatchewan is two games behind Alberta in the Central division while Vic is one game behind UBC in the Pacific Division. Expect a track meet in Edmonton as #5 UBC visits Alberta between two teams who love to get out and run and have the depth to do so. The Bears traditionally have solid inside play and usually start peaking around this time of year so the T-Birds can also expect a healthy dose of Scott Gordon inside. Casey Archibald missed last Saturday's game against TWU and his status for this weekend is unknown. In AUS play, expect another above-the-rim barnburner between the two hottest teams in Atlantic Canada as #6 Cape Breton visits newly-minted #10 Acadia in Wolfville for back-to-back games. The Capers have won 7 league games in a row since a November loss to the Axemen and 12 games overall since a decisive 15 point loss at the Ryerson tournament to York. Acadia has won 6 of their last 7 league games after a slow start. Both teams are loaded with athletes but expect the point guard matchup of 6'1" freshman Andrew Kraus for Acadia and 6'2" fifth-year senior Ryan Keliher to be impactful. Up front, Axemen 6'8" Achuil Lual and Capers 6'5" Eric Breland to go at it. After a slow start, 6'5" Shawn Berry (pictured) is coming on for Acadia, having averaged 22.5 points in two matches last weekend. Capers 6'3" Paul Blake and Acadia's 6'2" Paolo Santana renew their Greater Toronto Area (GTA) rivalry from high school. In QSSF play, McGill travels to Laval in the third game of their season series (the teams have split two games, winning on each other's court). Two weeks ago in Montreal, the Rouge et Or jumped out to a huge halftime lead before the Redmen brought the game back late before faltering. Laval's 6'7" All-Canadian candidate J.P. Morin averages a double-double while 6'3" Jean-Fran├žois Beaulieu-Maheux (pictured) relatively quietly has asserted himself as probably the most consistent of the nation's top freshmen, ordinarily scoring 20 or more points, making big shots and playing with the maturity of an upperclassmen. McGill, which loves to push the tempo, has plenty of depth, using as many as ten players in the rotation. Expect another unpredictable, high-scoring affair. Bishop's host #2 Concordia in Lennoxville where the Gaiters are always tough. Despite their 0-2 record against the Stingers this season, Bishop's has been better of late, running their sets, changing defenses and again peaking at the right time. With the return of 6'2" Damain Buckley, the Stingers now have the depth they need to play at a high tempo and with the return to the wing position of Ben Sormonte, who can once again focus on shooting the ball, expect Concordia's inside game led by Pat Perrotte and Jamal Gallier to see a little more room.

Friday's Complete CIS Schedule
7 PM Eastern/8 PM Local #6 Cape Breton (10-1) at #10 Acadia (9-4)
8 PM Eastern McGill (5-5) at Laval (5-4)
8 PM Eastern #2 Concordia (9-1) at Bishop's (3-7)
8 PM Eastern Queen's (10-6) at Laurentian (3-13)
8 PM Eastern RMC (1-15) at York (10-6)
8 PM Eastern #3 Carleton (15-2) at Ryerson (6-10)
8 PM Eastern #9 Ottawa (14-3) at Toronto (10-6)
8 PM Eastern Brock (9-6) at Lakehead (1-15) THUNDERVISION: Lakehead Video Webcast
9 PM Eastern/8 PM local Calgary (8-10) at Manitoba (6-12)
9 PM Eastern/8 PM local Lethbridge (6-12) at Winnipeg (8-10)
9 PM Eastern/8 PM local Regina (7-11) at #1 Brandon (16-2)
10 PM Eastern/8 PM local #8 Victoria (16-3) at Saskatchewan (11-7)
10 PM Eastern/8 PM local #5 UBC (17-2) at Alberta (13-5)
11 PM Eastern/8 PM local Simon Fraser (10-11) at Trinity Western(8-13) SWR broadcast

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