Sunday, 18 November 2007

Weekend Summary

Thanks for your patience this weekend as I battle laptop issues and time constraints while on the road. It might be time to give in and grab a Crackberry. By the way, we had a very successful fundraiser for SMA in Milton, ON on Saturday night that very emotional for all but a very positive announcement was made as it was announced that a drug has been found that destroys SMA cells in lab rats. 96% of the funds donated to this charity are put directly in the hands of doctors working towards a cure (average for most charities is about 80%), one reason why we are getting closer in a very short period time. Please consider a pledge in the name of Rebecca Van Fraassen by visiting SMA Canada Page and clicking on Make a Donation to Find a Cure !

There were several great matchups this weekend including a Canada West battle between a pair of teams that should be regarded as Nationals contenders as Alberta outlasted the Brandon Bobcats in an old fashioned shootout in Edmonton. In Ontario, the Queen's Golden Gaels, one night after their second straight win in London against Western and with 5 freshmen in their rotation, pushed #2 Windsor Lancers before succumbing late. The Bishop's Gaiters had a great opportunity to knock off Concordia at home but missed a last second shot while Cape Breton swept a pair of games against the suddenly-faltering St. Mary's Huskies. Below we go conference-by-conference with a recap of the weekend.

CANADA WEST: As mentioned, the Golden Bears came through a tough weekend, outlasting Brandon 106-93 in a shootout in which the Bobcats pressed full court almost the entire game, leading to numerous easy scores for both teams depending upon how effective the press was. The game was a coming-out party of sorts for Bears 5'11" sophomore point guard Scott Leigh from Vancouver. Leigh, who had originally been touted as the starter before last season, has been the backup to 6'1" C.G. Morrison until Morrison's foot injury a couple of weeks ago. Alberta Coach Don Horwood initially move his star guard 6'2" Alex Steele into more of a ball handling role but, after the Bobcats came from 15 down to take the lead into halftime on Saturday, Horwood moved Steele back to the "2" and handed the reigns to Leigh, who had a big second half, setting the table for Steele's 23 second half points as the Bears defeated the Bobcats for the second time this season (win at UVic tournament at a neutral site was the other). With Morrison's status for the rest of the first semester uncertain, look for Leigh to assume a more critical role in the Bears fortunes based in large part to his play down the stretch against a very good Brandon team. The Bobcats stayed in the game on the tremendous efforts of 6'5" Adam Hartman, who is an accomplished low post threat as a scorer and a passer out of the double team but also can step out and knock shots down as he proved on Saturday night, going 5 for 10 from beyond the arc. As is usually the case, 6'1" Yul Michel (22 points, 6 rebounds) and 6'3" Dany Charlery (27 points, 10 rebounds, 7 steals) were key, especially in the type of up tempo game that this one was. Both scored over 20 points and were instrumental in creating turnovers and finishing. Brandon suffered their first Canada West loss and only their third overall (two vs. Alberta and one vs. Carleton). On Friday, the Bobcats came away with a big road win in Saskatoon, defeating the Saskatchewan Huskies 85-79, rallying from 5 points down at half as Adam Hartman had 23 points, most of them in the second half. Brandon again played the weekend without 6'10" Yuri Whyms and the date for his return is uncertain... Regina Cougars entered the weekend undefeated in league play but suffered a pair of losses including Friday night's 79-71 setback at Alberta in which they trailed by as many as 18. The Cougars were dominated on the glass, getting outrebounded 49-28 and star sharpshooter Jeff Lukomski, who had 39 points in a game last weekend, had only 6 points on 1-7 from 3 in 33 minutes against the Bears. On Saturday, the Cougars lost in Saskatoon to the Saskatchewan Huskies as they again fell victim to a decisive rebounding edge. 6'8" Andrew Spagrud got credit for 9 "o" boards as part of his 22 point, 14 rebound line that dropped the Cougars to 4-2 in Canada West and 6-3 vs. CIS teams overall; it was the Cougars second loss of the season to the Huskies, both in Saskatoon with the first coming at the shootout in October. A very strong rivalry continues next weekend as the Cougars and Bobcats play a pair of games in the Wheat City in Brandon... UBC swept a pair of games against Great Plains division hosts as 6'3" wing Chris Dyck had 31 points in a dominant performance at the Duckworth Center leading the T-Birds to a 78-64 win over Winnipeg on Friday as 5'9" Erfan Nasajpour was held to only 10 points on 4 for 15 shooting. Dyck saved his best for the final 20 minutes of the weekend as he knotched 22 of his game-high 36 points after the intermission to break open a one-point halftime game allowing the T-Birds to win going away 86-71 at Manitoba on Saturday. UBC hosts Pacific Division cellar-dweller Thompson Rivers twice next weekend at home in Vancouver... UVic Vikes continued their stellar play defensively however the Vikes continue to struggle scoring the basketball as they needed a last second shot from Cyrille Indome for a one-point 66-65 win at Manitoba on Friday after a Darcy Coss 3 gave the Bisons the lead with 10 seconds remaining Indome knocks down late winner On Saturday, Winnipeg's Nasajpour rebounded from his uncharacteristic mediocre performance against UBC to go off for a season-high 41 points to lift the Wesmen to a 70-67 overtime win over Victoria, now 6-2 in Canada West, which blew an 8 point lead with 2 minutes remaining. Just when it appeared that the Simon Fraser Clan had turned the corner after a rough start to their season, their fortunes turned on Saturday night. With the opportunity to take a strong hold on third place in the Pacific, the Clan could not finish the sweep against the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford, losing by 6 in a game that was double digits for much of the second half. On Friday, the Clan had reason for optimism as 6'8" Greg Wallis had 30 points on 12 for 19 shooting to lead then-surging Simon Fraser to an easy 75-57 win in Abbotsford against Fraser Valley. UCFV (4-4) leads the Clan (3-5) by one game for third in the division. In other weekend games, Calgary swept Lethbridge on the road in Southern Alberta, both games easily including Friday night, led by 25 from Henry Bekkering and another 22 from Ross Bekkering after leading by 25 after three quarters. In a two-game, weekend battle of cellar-dwellers in the Pacific Division, Thompson Rivers got their first win of the season by defeating Trinity Western 89-85 before watching the Spartans return the favour for a split on Saturday night.

ONTARIO The Queens Golden Gaels were about 7 minutes away from arguably their most successful weekend in the history of the program as on Saturday night as, in the hostile confines of the St. Denis Center in Windsor against the #2 Lancers, Queen's built up a 10 point lead early in the fourth quarter. At that point, the Lancers combination of fifth-year seniors 6'5" Kevin Kloostra and 6'1" Ryan Steer took over against a tiring Gaels lineup. Down the stretch, Kloostra made several very difficult shots and Steer showed why many are quietly touting him as the best guard in the OUA West, creating for others and finishing when required as Windsor gutted out a character win at home, which is something that experienced, championship teams usually do. The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the Gaels, who on Friday came up with a very important road victory, defeating the Western Mustangs for the second time this season on their home court. Against Western, the Gaels led by as many as 20, running their read-and-react offense to perfection and defending in the halfcourt. With 5 freshmen in his current 8 man rotation plus 6'3" fourth-year starter Ryan Hairsine still out (likely until Christmas), Coach Rob Smart has done an incredible job thus far this season, turning the Gaels into a team on consistently on the verge of a Top 10 ranking. The Gaels had a chance to knock off the #2 team in the country despite a combined 8 for 29 effort from what many would call their two principle scorers in 6'6" Mitch Leger and 6'3" Simon Mitchell. Once again, 6'4" Jon Ogden, one of several underrated rookies playing with tremendous confidence, led the way for the Gaels with 22 points including 4-9 3's... Speaking of tremendous coaching jobs, the U of T Varsity Blues lost 4 starters from last season's group which came within a basket of the OUA East final and some, including this site, felt that it would be a bit of a rebuilding year for Varsity. Coach Mike Katz and crew remained undefeated at 4-0 in the league and 11-2 overall with a pair of road wins in which his team fought back both nights from halftime deficits. Although his group is still relatively young, 6'3" fifth-year guard Mike Degiorgio has emerged as the go-to guy in most key situations and has delivered. Ordinarily filling the stat sheet with near-triple-doubles, Degiorgio had another strong weekend including a 17 point, 7 rebound, 6 assist and 5 steal effort at Lakehead on Friday night highlighted by a pair of long second-half threes that helped push the Blues to a 13 point win. On Saturday, 6'2" Rob Paris hit 4 3's as the Blues broke open a tight halftime game, outscoring Mac 33-12 in the decisive third-quarter. Toronto now faces two very tough OUA West opponents, again on the road, as they travel to Guelph on Friday and Brock on Saturday next weekend... The Marauders had their first win of the regular season as they outlasted Ryerson 76-75 on Friday in a game in which they led by 18 at halftime only to watch the Rams parade to the foul line, shooting 22 free throws in the third quarter alone to get back in the game. In all, officials called an obscene 63 fouls in the game and the teams combined for 72 free throws including 48 for Ryerson, which shot 36 free throws after halftime. The game took 2 hours and 15 minutes to play... The Brock Badgers finally found their shooting range on the weekend and if they continue their sweet shooting ways from the perimeter, this team could reemerge into the Top 10 discussion. The Badgers have now scored over 300 points in their past 3 games including 98 on Friday at York when they shot 16-28 from 3 point land including 7 for 10 by 6'1" fifth-year guard Scott Murray in an 18 point win in a game that they led by as many as 28 points. On Saturday, Brock had 11 more 3's in the first half at Laurentian to build up a 24 point halftime lead and then got the ball inside more, growing the lead to 36 as they dominated a pair of important road games. The Badgers (3-1) now return home for the first time in almost a month to host Ryerson and Toronto next weekend (Toronto game is Saturday at 4 PM)... Saturday night at York was a coming out for Guelph's heralded 6'3" Jonathan Moscatelli. While Guelph did what it took to sweep a pair of games at York and at Laurentian to remain undefeated, Moscatelli showed he is rounding into form as a legitimate top threat in the OUA, missing only a single shot while scoring a career-high 24 points on 4 for 4 shooting from behind the arc (6 for 7 overall from the field) and a perfect 8 for 8 from the line as the Gryphs survived a sluggish effort to hand the Lions their fourth straight loss... Both of the Nation's Capital teams swept games from visitors from Kitchener-Waterloo with the closest game being Friday night when a well-prepared and emotionally-charged Laurier Golden Hawk team ran their offense and pounded the glass, coming from behind to almost defeat the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Hawks had a chance to take the lead down one but the Gee-Gees held on for a fortunate victory. On Saturday, Ottawa blasted out of the gate for an 18 point first-quarter lead to route the winless Waterloo Warriors, easily avenged a Warrior come-from-behind victory in October at the Alberta tournament. The Gee-Gees got a career-high 26 points from 6'3" Sean Peter and won easily despite going only 3 for 20 from three-point land. On Friday, Peter had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the win against Laurier.

QUEBEC The QSSF had a light schedule as only a pair of games were scheduled, both on Friday night, and the defending "Q" champions Concordia Stingers opened up their regular season by holding off the Bishop's Gaiters in Lennoxville, knocking Bishop's from the ranks of the unbeaten in league play. Bishop's had a look at a 3 at the buzzer but Jordan Winnett's shot came up shot and the Stingers escaped with the win, playing without 6'3" Dwayne Buckley. However, the Stingers welcomed back 6'1" point guard Damian Buckley and he was the difference down the stretch, hitting three clutch shots off of 1 on 1 moves. The Gaiters buried themselves another hole being down 18-4 early as by as many as 16 in the first quarter. 6'7" Jamal Gallier led the way for the Stingers with 16 pts and 10 rebs, 5'9" Levi Vann had 12. Damian Buckley finished with 9 points, 3 assists and 5 turnovers in 15 very productive minutes. For Bishop’s, 6'1" Junior Nicolas scored 17 and 6'4" Doug McCooeye had 14... In the other game, the Laval Rouge et Or took their frustrations out on UQAM Citadins at home, defeating the Citadins 96-67. After a pair of close losses to open the season, Laval got things turned around as 6'4" freshman Jerome Turcotte came back from two scoreless games to post 28 points on a splendid 8-11 3 point shooting display. In all, Laval shot 58% (15-26) from 3 point territory as a team. 6'7" J.P. Morin had 22 points, 11 rebounds for Laval.

AUS (Sorry about the old logo; time constraints) Cape Breton Capers overcame injuries to two key players and pulled off a two-game sweep of St. Mary's Huskies in Sydney. On Friday night, playing without starters 6'4" Philip Nkrumah and 6'3" Paul Blake, both injured, the Capers used only 6 players and watched as the Huskies led the entire way before the Capers mounted a tremendous comeback, culminated in a go-ahead three by 5'10" freshman Tremaine Fraser with under two minutes to play to secure the upset. The Capers then followed up the dramatic come-from-behind victory by leading from virtually the opening tip off for a resounding 86-67 win on Saturday afternoon, welcoming Nkrumah (12 points, 5 rebounds in 27 minutes) back into the lineup, as 6'5" Eric Breland had his second consecutive double-double of the weekend (19 points, 14 rebounds). The Capers appear to be reloading with young talent as 6'7" Scott Jaspers-Fayer saw considerable time in both games, scoring 15 and 12 points in the two games while the freshmen, Fraser and 6'6" Al Aliovic, both played major roles. Once again, 6'1" JUCO transfer Chris Noddle contributed in a solid way, reaching double digits in both games as well. The Capers are undefeated at 4-0 in AUS play and are 10-3 overall with losses to then-#5 St. Mary's, at #10 Guelph and vs. #2 Windsor. For the Huskies, it's "back to the drawing board" as disappointed Head Coach Ross Quackenbush explained. Still, we've seen St. Mary's in this situation before, including last season when the team was somewhat floundering in the middle of the pack and then peaked at the end, reaching the CIS Final Four. With this talented group, led by 6'1" Mark Ross at the point and 6'3" Mark McLaughlin scoring on the wing, expect St. Mary's to rebound... Acadia pushed their record to 3-1 with a pair of resounding 24 point wins against UNB. 6'5" Leonel Saintil completely dominated the undermanned Varsity Reds inside, going off for 27 points and 22 rebounds on Friday night and following up with a 19 point/17 rebound effort the next day. Saintil had a ridiculous 18 offensive rebounds alone during the two games including 11 on Friday night... In other games, UPEI got a strong effort from 6'6" freshman Manock Lual, again exposing the Dalhousie Tigers inside for a 21 point, 8 rebound effort allowing the Panthers to come from behind to defeat Dal 70-67 on Saturday night. The Tigers cleaned things up this afternoon however, jumping out to a 20 point halftime lead and rolling to an easy 83-56 victory as 6'5" Ryan deWinter had 24 points/7 rebounds while 6'5" Germain Bendegue recovered from a tough effort the night before to add 14 points and 9 rebounds as Dal salvaged one win in the two game weekend series in Halifax.

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