Wednesday, 28 February 2007

OUA West Semi-Final Previews + OUA East Award Winners

** CIS BASKETBALL IN THE NATIONAL MEDIA ** Sources in Ottawa advise that CBC Radio will be doing an interview with OUA East Player-of-the-Year Osvaldo Jeanty of the Carleton Ravens and OUA East second-team all-star and Ken Shields nominee Alex McLeod of the Ottawa Gee-Gees TOMORROW at NOON Eastern time on all national CBC radio affiliates. The discussion should add to the media hype building around Saturday night's OUA East championship game at the Raven's Nest.

Here are a couple of more ranking systems that we have been sharing in the past Rankings By Ratings which has a Top 5 of #1 Carleton, #2 Brandon, #3 UBC, #4 Ottawa, #5 Concordia and Cheers RPI Index which I believe is based on the same computer algorithm that the NCAA Division 1 tournament selection committee uses in helping determine their "at-large" bids; this week's Cheers RPI's Top 5 is #1 Carleton, #2 Concordia, #3 UBC, #4 Ottawa and #5 Brandon. Much will be decided this weekend as Canada West crowns their champion and both OUA East and OUA West champions will be determined.

A pair of tremendous matchups in the OUA West playoffs this evening as Windsor Lancers host Guelph and McMaster visits Brock in St.Catharines. Both higher seeds won their home games this past Saturday to advance to the division semi-finals, which involve 3 teams that are perennial contenders in McMaster, Guelph and Brock and the upstart Lancers under OUA West Coach-of-the-Year Chris Oliver who in only his second season at the helm has turned the Lancers into national contenders and helped bring energy back to the St. Denis Center in Windsor. The winners of Wednesday's games will meet on the home court of the highest remaining seed on Saturday with the winner of that game earning an automatic spot in Halifax at the CIS Nationals.

7:30 pm McMaster (#3 seed) at Brock (#2 seed) OUA West semi-final Renewing their natural "QEW Niagara" rivalry, the Badgers and Marauders face off for the third time (league and playoffs) and fourth time overall this season with a trip to the division finals as the reward for the winner. In the two prior league meetings, the Badgers held solid leads down the stretch only to have the Marauders mount comebacks, with the second come-from-behind win among the greatest comebacks in McMaster basketball history as with Player-of-the-Year Brad Rootes fouled out, Mac came from 12 down with under 2 minutes left to steal a win. Among the numerous story lines is the tremendous point guard matchup between the top two players in the division, diminutive point guards Brad Rootes of Brock (OUA West Player-of-the-Year) and Martin Ajayi (3 time OUA West Defensive Player-of-the-Year and second in the voting for Player-of-the-Year). Look for Ajayi and the Marauders to push the tempo against a Brock squad which typically deploys a shorter bench than Mac and is more likely to grind out possessions, allowing Rootes to create off the dribble and find his perimeter shooters (Brock set a program record for most 3's in a season this season). Up front, Mac's 6'8" Adam Steiner will look to operate in and around the paint and will be a tough check for 6'7" Owen White and possibly 6'5" Jesse Tipping or 6'6" Matt Bassett-Speiers. Another interesting matchup will be 6'2" Mike Kemp likely to draw 6'4" John Obrovac - both have an array of offensive skills with Obrovac having the advantage inside but Kemp having the ability to create off the bounce. OUA East First Team All-Star Chris Keith has been a load for Mac in the two prior meetings although he did foul out early in the second game - expect a healthy Obrovac to see his fair share of time watching Keith. Brock's 6'2" shooting guard Scott Murray has re-emerged as a long-range shooting threat down the stretch after battling a mini-slump in late January/early February. Expect Brock to focus on transition "d" and gang rebounding in an effort to keep the game at their pace while Mac will attack the "o" glass with 6'4" Toms Lokmanis. A wild card for Mac could be a healthy Nathan Histed, somewhat forgotten through his series of injuries this season but apparently healthy again. The last playoff meeting between these 2 powers was in the OUA West final in 2003-04 (3 seasons ago) when the Marauders claimed a 78-71 victory in Hamilton. Here are the 2 league game reviews: FIRST GAME AT BROCK on January 6th, 2007 McMaster (4-5) 85 at Brock (5-4) 77 Forward Toms Lokmanis had a follow-up tip-in to break a late game tie and then Adam Steiner followed up with another putback, which broke open a tie game in the last 2 minutes as McMaster secured a huge road victory at Bob Davis Gym in front of a capacity crowd of 1,200 fans. The game was critical for Mac and the Marauders played with desperation in the second half, especially after going into halftime down 44-39. In a foul filled game (52 total fouls), two all-conference point guards went at each other all day as Mac's 5'8" Martin Ajayi knocked in 22 points and added 7 assists while Brock's Brad Rootes had 26 points/9 assists - both fouled out late. Badgers Chris Keith had his strongest overall game of the season with 24 points, 12 rebounds while going 5-7 for 3 and playing all 40 minutes. The Marauders shot 55% in the second half to move back into the hunt for a first round playoff bye. SECOND GAME: MAC'S MIRACLE WIN AT HOME Brock (7-6) 100 at McMaster (7-6) 101 John Obrovac's baseline jumper with 4.3 seconds left lifted the Marauders, down 19 with about 10 minutes remaining in the game, to a frantic, shocking comeback win in Hamilton before 2,200 screaming fans at the Burridge Gymnasium. McMaster scored 65 second half points, including 23 in the last 3 1/2 minutes, led by 5'9" Martin Ajayi who, after going scoreless in the first half, went off for 27 second-half points including a layup with 11.3 seconds left to bring Mac to within one after Brock's Mike Kemp, with a chance to give the Badgers a 4 point lead, went 1-2 from the line. Immediately after Ajayi's layup, the Badgers turned the ball over and Obrovac got free to bring Mac all the way back. Kemp's desperation jumper at the buzzer fell short, sealing Badgers surprising fate. Brock's All-Canadian candidate Brad Rootes fouled out midway through the second half and from that point onward the Badgers began regularly turning the ball over and Ajayi went to work. 6'5" Chris Keith also fouled out early for the Badgers but the story was Brock's inability to take care of the ball without their star point guard and Ajayi's incredible second half performance. Mac's 6'8" fifth-year senior Adam Steiner led all scorers with 29 points including 2 key free throws with 31.5 seconds left to bring Mac to within 2 at 99-97 as the Marauders finished the game on a 23-10 run in the last 3 1/2 minutes. Keith had 25 for Brock while battling foul trouble all afternoon while Kemp finished with 22 and Rootes 19 points/8 rebounds/7 assists before leaving with fouls. Brock got a lift off the bench as 6'6" Jesse Tipping contributed 13 points on 5-6 shooting. With the win, Mac sweeps the season series from the Badgers and moves into a tie with Brock for second place in the conference.

Wednesday night's game can be heard on CFMU-FM 93.3 in Hamilton and on the Internet by clicking here and then clicking on WEBCAST in the left column of the site. As well, local fans in the Niagara Penninsula with Cogeco Cable will be able to view the game live. No indication yet as to whether or not Brock campus radio will do the game or there will be LIVE STATS! available (the Badgers experimented with this feature earlier in the year but have not had it since).

Other preview articles include Larry Moko's piece in the Hamilton Spectator Mac vs. Brock: A Point Guard Showdown Niagara This Week's article on Brad Rootes all-star selection and a game preview Rootes Named MVP & All-Star Also, Jim Wallace from St. Catharines Standard has an article previewing the game highlighting Brad Rootes Rootes His Own Harshest Critic

8:00 pm Guelph (#4 seed) at Windsor (#1 Seed) OUA West Semi-Final The St. Denis Center will be rocking as the Lancers host their first home playoff game since 1987-88 when the Lancers, led by Matt St. Louis, defeated Mac 88-86. Windsor came back to win their final four games of the regular season to finish in first place in the West for the first time in 27 seasons and now have the home-court advantage throughout the entire OUA playoffs including Wilson Cup. The Gryphons had a tremendous come-from-behind victory at home this past Saturday, rallying from 14 points down in the last 9 minutes to topple Western and their trademark tough half-court defence was on full display down the stretch. Guelph will have to control the tempo and get strong play from their inside team of emerging 6'7" Duncan Milne and inconsistent 6'10" J.R. Bailey to offset Lancers strength and versatility in the paint. A solid matchup at the point guard spot has 6'2" Ryan Steer, second in the OUA West in assists, facing 6'4" Nick Pankerichan, one of Guelph's most consistent players down the stretch. Arguably each team's top player is at the wing spot with 6'5" Kevin Kloostra, an OUA West First Team all-star likely to tangle with 6'3" Aron Bariagbre, who was instrumental in Guelph's late season turnaround to a home playoff game. The two teams have no recent playoff history against each other to speak of however under second-year coach Chris Oliver the Lancers are 1-1 in the playoffs, defeating Waterloo and losing to Mac last season - both on the road. The Gryphons have made the playoffs in each of Coach Chris O'Rourke's 10 seasons at the helm including a loss in the CIS National championship game in 2003. The teams split the season series, playing twice within an 8 day span in late January FIRST GAME: LANCERS TAKE LARGE LEAD AND COAST TO WIN Guelph (6-8) 51 at Windsor (11-3) 86 Jumping out to a large early lead, the Lancers dominated the glass and forced the Gryphs into 25.5% shooting and came away with the easy win. 6'2" Ryan Steer led the way with 20 points and 10 assists while 6'8" Greg Surmacz had a 10 point, 16 rebound double double. Kevin Kloostra added 19 for Windsor, which led by 18 at halftime and then completely put the game away with a 17-0 run off the start of the second half to hand the reeling Gryphons their 4th consecutive loss. Aran Bariagabre led the way for Guelph with 15 points and 8 rebounds. SECOND GAME: GRPHYS RALLY FROM EARLY DEFICIT AND END LOSING STREAK #4 Windsor (12-4) 69 at Guelph (7-9) 81 Coming back from a ten point first half deficit, the Gryphs had what could be a turnaround game, ending a five-game losing streak in defeating the Lancers, which for the second time this month lost decisively against a strong opponent on the road before about 1,000 fans in Guelph. 6'4" Nick Pankerichan had maybe his best game as a Gryph, scoring 21 points including 3-6 from 3 while playing all 40 minutes and unheralded 6'7" forward Duncan Milne was a force at both ends, scoring 15 points and adding 11 rebounds but also holding down Windsor's 6'8" forward Greg Surmacz (13 points/9 rebounds), even blocking a couple of his shots. Milne put an exclamation mark on the game with a dunk down the stretch during Guelph's final run which turned a tight game with about 10 minutes remaining into a comfortable win. Guelph also got a tremendous effort from second-year guard Charles Agyemang (Toronto Henry Carr), who played a career-high 32 minutes and did a great job defending while filling in minutes for injured Jay Mott. The Lancers, led by star guard Ryan Steer (25 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists), who had 15 first-half points, looked like they might blow the Gryphs out of their own gym, taking leads as large as 10 in the first half however Guelph's Borko Popic (16 points) knocked down a big 3 at the buzzer, culminating a mini 6-0 run to bring the Gryphs back to within 4 by halftime. The Gryphs then turned up their "d" which held the Lancers to 38.1% shooting for the game and rode the hot shooting of Pankerichan and Popic and the strong inside play of Milne to their most important win of the season.

Unfortunately, as far as we know here, there will be no national or regional coverage of this game either via Internet radio or webcast. However, Cogeco Television in Windsor will broadcast tonight's game locally and every Lancer playoff home game through the end of the OUA playoffs.

Mary Caton from the Windsor Star has a preview in this morning's edition (subscription needed) Lancers Host Hot Team in Semis

Stay tuned to the site for up-to-the-minute results from both games.


HAMILTON, Ont. – The 2005-2006 Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, has once again been a dominate force on the court in 2007. As the Carleton Raven’s men’s basketball team fight to retain their national champion status, fifth year guard, Osvaldo Jeanty (pictured - Gloucester, Ontario) has, for the second consecutive year, been honoured as the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East Most Valuable Player and first-team all-star. Jeanty has unquestionably been the leader of the Ravens, helping them to a 19-3 record, and the east division regular season leaders. The Commerce major finished sixth in league scoring with an average of 17.14 points per game and thirteenth in assists with an 3.10 points per game average, while he boasts an 82.1 free throw percentage.

Toronto Varsity Blue’s forward Mike Williams (pictured - Brampton, Ontario) has also for the second consecutive season been named the East Defensive Player of the Year following an exceptional campaign. The Varsity Blues continue to be one of the best defensive teams in the OUA allowing just 63.45 points per game (fifth in the CIS) and Williams is a large contributor at the defensive end of the court for his team. A 6’6 Phys Ed major, Williams finished the season with team highs 146 rebounds, 27 steals, and 47 blocks, as he led Toronto to a 15-7 record, good enough for third place in the east division.

The Ken Shields Nominee for the east division, presented annually to the CIS student-athlete who best exhibits outstanding achievement in basketball, academics and community involvement has been awarded to Ottawa Gee-Gees Alex McLeod (pictured - Lindsay, Ontario). In his fifth year McLeod is Ottawa’s all team leading scorer, and is the all time three point field goal leader. He has captained the Gee-Gee’s for five years and has been instrumental in helping rebuild the Gee-Gees into a top ten program in the CIS. McLeod is currently working towards finishing law school and continues to showcase his impressive leadership skills. He is the coordinator of the Gee-Gees visits to elementary schools in the Ottawa Region and has participated in over 20 visits in the last three years. McLeod has taken his younger teammates under his wing and leads them in study hall providing valuable support. On the court McLeod finished the season with a 10.9 points per game average and also tallied 46 assists, 15 steals and 52 rebounds to lead the Gee-Gees to an 18-4 record and second place in the OUA east division.

Boris Bakovic (Toronto, Ontario) was a welcomed addition to a struggling Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team. In just his first year of OUA competition Bakovic finished fifth in OUA scoring averaging 17.43 points per game, and was second in the OUA in rebounds pulling down 210 on the year. He was a constant defensive threat on the court, as 143 of his rebounds were on the defensive glass, and he also tallied 31 steals and 14 blocks. Wasting no time making his mark on the OUA, Bakovic will be a player to watch in the coming years.

Joining Jeanty on the first team all-stars is York powerhouse Dan Eves (Barrie, Ontario). In his third all-star appearance Eves did not disappoint in 2007. Eves finished the season third in OUA scoring averaging 19.85 points per game, and his accuracy is what sets him apart, shooting an impressive 53.5 percent from the field. 2005-2006 OUA East Rookie of the Year, Josh Gibson Bascombe (Ottawa, Ontario) also joins Eves on the first-team all-stars. Finishing the season with a 14.5 points per game average, Gibson Bascombe also lead the league in steals with an average of 2.7 a game. Aaron Doornekamp (Odessa, Ontario) makes his second consecutive appearance on the first-team all-stars as he had a phenomenal year playing along side Jeanty, finishing with a 12.8 points per game average. Rounding out the first-team is Ben Katz (Toronto, Ontario) who makes his first appearance on the all-star list. Katz lead the Varsity Blues in points per game (13.1) and also hauled down 104 rebounds on the year.

Ottawa Gee-Gees Head Coach Dave DeAveiro has been named the East Coach of the Year, as recognized by his peers. DeAveiro led the Gee-Gees an 18-4 record for the second consecutive year, and a birth into the east division final to date in the playoffs. Most notably, DeAveiro lead the Gee-Gees to a regular season series sweep of the dominant Carleton Ravens. The series sweep was a first for Ottawa in over a decade.

Osvaldo Jeanty- Carleton

Mike Williams- Toronto

Alex McLeod- Ottawa

Boris Bakovic- Ryerson

Dave Deaveiro- Ottawa

Osvaldo Jeanty- Carleton
Daniel Eves- York
Josh Gibson Bascombe- Ottawa
Aaron Doornekamp- Carleton
Ben Katz- Toronto

Mike Williams- Toronto
Jordan Foebel- York
Alex McLeod- Ottawa
Rohan Steen- York
Curtis Shakespeare- Ottawa

Boris Bakovic- Ryerson
Mitch Leger- Queen’s
Mike Kenny- Carleton
Andrew MacIntosh- RMC
Jason Hoult- York

Articles of note from around the country: The Ubyssey, UBC's student newspaper, has separate articles on both UBC victories over UVic this past weekend; Game One Article T-Birds Roll Over Vikes in Game One Route plus Game Two article T-Birds send UVic packing with series win

Morris Dalla Costa from the London Free Press reports on Western women's official hiring of Steph Barrie as Head Coach Barrie Raises the Bar for Mustang Women

The Eyeopener, Ryerson's campus newspaper, has a comprehensive look at the Ryerson sports programs including several comments about the recent shuffle in the Rams sports administration Rams to the Slaughter

An article from the Gateway, U of A's student newspaper, describes the Bears loss to Saskatchewan in their recent playoff series Missed Three by Morrison Ends Bears Hoops Season

Brandon's SID provides an early week preview of this weekend's Canada West Final Four Top Ranked Bobcats Set to Host Canada West Final Four

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