Monday, 22 October 2007

Weekend Review

CORRECTION: On Saturday night, Calgary Dinos defeated Carroll College 85-83 in overtime (we had listed that Carroll won the game); thanks to Matt Skinn for pointing out the proper score

Wayne Kondro's article on the final day of the Jack Donohue tournament in Ottawa as 6'3" Donnie Gibson's buzzer-beating three lifted Ottawa to an improbable comeback win over Brock Gee-Gees guard ready for breakout season

Ron Rauch's article in the Victoria Times-Colonist on the final day of the Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament at UVic Young Vikes Impress

Neate Sager provides some thoughts on the weekend in his Out of Left Field blog Hoops Gaels Get High Praise

The AUS and Canada West sites have all the box scores from weekend games involving their teams AUS box scores plus Canada West box scores

THOUGHTS FROM THE WEEKEND: CANADA WEST - the Alberta Golden Bears battled all weekend, winning two games and playing Carleton tough to five points despite shooting only 40% from the free throw line. The Bears had a fine second half to pull away from Top 10 team Brandon and then held on late by knocking down their free throws down the stretch. Alberta (2-1) has a chance to make an impact on the rankings, especially this coming weekend when they host Ottawa, Waterloo and York at their annual Golden Bear Invitational tournament beginning Thursday night in Edmonton... UBC T-Birds got off to a slow start against U of T in their first CIS game of the new season but put on a dominating effort in the second half, led by 6'3" Chris Dyck, who is emerging as UBC's new leader, filling the shoes of graduated All-Canadian Casey Archibald. With 4 starters returning, a solid returning bench and two key freshmen, UBC looks ready to defend their Canada West title... Simon Fraser was able to hold off a valiant comeback by Toronto on Thursday night and the Clan have one of the bigger teams in Canada with a pair of tall guards and size up front, led by 6'7" Greg Wallis, a legitimate honours candidate as a CIS post player who gave the Blues all kinds of trouble inside... Saskatchewan Huskies won their own tournament with only Regina giving them a decent game and the Huskies still led comfortably in that one - Saskatchewan travels to the Lethbridge tournament this coming weekend with the status of 6'8" Andrew Spagrud, who was injured on the weekend, still unknown... OUA The Queen's Golden Gaels played two very good Quebec league teams very tough over the weekend and blew a chance for the sweep as Concordia made a valiant comeback from 4 points down with 15 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. The Gaels had a double digit lead in the fourth quarter after a solid win over McGill. Queen's runs a very disciplined offense with mentally tough kids who play very hard for Coach Rob Smart, who has 5 freshmen in his 7 man rotation. How far the Gaels go this season could ride on the shoulders of 6'3" veteran Simon Mitchell who has had a tremendous start to his season and is a candidate to add more honours to his name besides the OUA East Freshman-of-the-Year honour he won a few seasons ago. The Gaels, who have 2 significant injuries to starters 6'5" Mitch Leger and 6'2" Ryan Hairsine, now face their first road action of the season at the Western tournament. Save for a complete meltdown at the foul line late in their first round loss to eventual-tournament champion St. Mary's at the UNB tournament, the Western Mustangs played dominant basketball, led by 6'5" lefty Brad Smith, who scorched the Huskies for 30 points and 14 rebounds. Western then cruised to a pair of wins in the consolation round and this rapidly-maturing team will add a couple of NCAA Division 1 transfers in 6'6" Keenan Jeppesen and 6'10" Colin Laforme. The 'Stangs welcome Queen's and McGill, two teams pushing the Top 10, this coming weekend at their own tournament in London. The U of T Varsity Blues had an old enemy bite them on the weekend as their free throw shooting down the stretch, especially at Simon Fraser, was inconsistent. Recall that last season, the Blues lost at least 4 games late by missing key free throws. The Blues impressed observers out west with their precision offensive sets and underrated athleticism; despite losing 4 starters from last year's group that was within 1 point of earning a berth in the OUA East championship game, the Blues first 6 or 7 are very solid and they again should contend for one of the two playoff byes in the OUA East... The Brock Badgers held up very well without 5'10" All-Canadian Brad Rootes in the lineup this weekend as 6'0" Scott Murray with help from 6'2" Rohan Steen stepped in for Rootes, who injured his ankle. Brock should have won Sunday's game at Ottawa and stayed in all their games despite the absence of their floor leader. Expect the Badgers to be cautious with Rootes as they prepare for a pair of NCAA games and then the start of the OUA regular season in early November... Ottawa played very well at home on the weekend, winning their second consecutive Jack Donohue Memorial Tip-off tournament title and third in four years. 6'2" Donnie Gibson has a much higher profile in the Gee-Gees offense and is responding with a more aggressive approach shooting the ball and on the glass. Ottawa will hit the road for the first time against CIS competition this coming weekend when they travel to Alberta... QUEBEC Bishop's is beginning to show signs that they should be considered in the same class as Concordia, McGill and Laval with another strong showing this past weekend, playing with Acadia all the way. The Gaiters made a school-record 16 three point shots (out of 30 attempts) including an incredible 11 in the first half against Manitoba's 1/3/1 zone. 6'1" star guard Junior Nicolas went 8 for 12 and earlier did a stellar job guarding UPEI's sharpshooting Brent MacLaren... Concordia escaped with a tight win at Queen's and hopes to get 6'1" Damian Buckley healthy in time for their 5 game in 8 day swing through the U.S. when they will meet NCAA Division 1 teams, including a pair of games out west... McGill will look to avenge their only loss of the season at the Western tournament this coming weekend when they meet Queen's. The deep, talented Redmen squad had their first taste of action away from the Love Auditorium and hopes that 6'4" Sean Anthony can come back after a smothering Queen's "d" held him to only 2 points and 2 rebounds this past Saturday... Laval hosts their own tournament and this past weekend saw 6'4" Francois-Olivier Gagnon-Hebert emerged as a solid CIS post player as he was named tournament all-star at the Donohue tournament. Les Rouge et Or will go as far as 6'7" J.P. Morin, 6'4" Jerome Turcotte and 6'3" J.F. Beaulieu can take them. However, Coach Jacques Paiement would probably be happier if one or two other players can emerge to contribute consistently to his rotation.... AUS Although X gave up an 18 point lead to lose to Ottawa on Friday night, the X-Men came back strong to take a pair of wins and 5'10" Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw showed observers that he is already emerging into one of the better guards in the CIS. With 6'2" Tyler Richards and 6'8" Islam de Toledo, one of the best athletes to enter the CIS in recent memory, expect the X-Men to contend as the season moves into the winter. Once again, we must pay tribute to the hundreds of X fans who show up at their games in Ottawa, displaying tremendous passion and making the atmosphere in the gym electric, especially for an early season tournament. The loyalty of the X fan base when they play away from Antigonish is at the top of a select few CIS programs that includes McMaster, Cape Breton and Carleton among others and X always represents a great draw for a tournament... Dalhousie has yet to play a home game and is 5-1, losing only to #1 Carleton at the Raven's Nest, after sweeping three games in Southern Ontario this past weekend. As has already been mentioned, 6'1" 215 pound Simon Farine has been the difference for Dal as a scorer, rebounder and floor leader, displaying a maturity on the floor that has made everyone around him that much better. Also watch out for 6'3" Yannick Walcott, quickly emerging into a strong part of the Tigers rotation. Dal is back in Ontario for a third weekend for three games and then gets ready to face NCAA Division 1 Maine Black Bears... St. Mary's has been getting contributions from many different players including some freshmen who maybe weren't expected to contribute this early. Freshman Jazz Cain tipped in the winning shot at the buzzer to culminate their improbable comeback against Western and another freshman, Jack Gallinaugh, knocked down four consecutive threes to awake the Huskies in their semi-final victory against Manitoba.

WHO GOT OFF THIS WEEKEND: Laval's J.P. Morin had this weekend's high scoring game, "a one-man wrecking crew" as X coach Steve Konchalski put it, scoring 34 points and adding 13 rebounds in les Rouge et Or's loss to St. FX om Saturday. UBC's emerging leader, 6'3" Chris Dyck put on a show in helping the T-Birds rally from 15 down against U of T, scoring 28 points including 5 of 11 3's and adding 8 rebounds as the T-Birds won their opener. Dal's Simon Farine averaged 24.3 ppg including a game-high 29 points in his homecoming to Toronto against York. In that same game, 6'3" Tut Ruach kept his Lions within striking distance with his usual array of acrobatic finishes to the tune of 27 points. Queen's guard Simon Mitchell averaged 24 ppg in 2 games against McGill and Concordia while 6'6" Brad Smith from Western had 30 points, 14 rebounds against St. Mary's for Western in the opening round of the Eric Garland UNB tournament. Finally, 6'8" Ross Bekkering had probably the most impressive double/double of the weekend, going for 16 points and 18 rebounds as the Calgary Dinos knocked off NAIA school Montana Tech on the road.

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