Friday, 1 February 2008

Canada West Late Scores: Grant, Spagrud leads Huskies; Horns upset Winnipeg

Saskatchewan (17-10, 11-8) 64, Victoria (14-12, 13-7) 56 6'2" Kyle Grant had 20 points including 4 three-pointers and the Huskies took a double digit first half lead on Ken Shields Court at Victoria to defeat the hometown Vikes. 6'8" Andrew Spagrud added 16 points. The Vikes turned the ball over and did not shoot the ball very well in digging an 11 point halftime hole for themselves. Depending upon how both teams fare in their divisional playoff series, this game could have an effect on the wild card entrant at the Canada West Final Four.

Spagrud, Huskies take down Vikes from Mike Tucker at UVic Sports Info... VICTORIA - Saskatchewan senior Andrew Spagrud inched closed to the Canada West's career scoring mark as his Saskatchewan Huskies handed the UVic Vikes men's basketball team a 64-56 loss on Shields Court. Spagrud scored 16 points, giving him three games to score 48 points and break the career scoring record of 2,171 points. The 6-foot-7 forward received plenty of support in defeating the Vikes, as fellow senior Nathan Grant knocked down four three-pointers for a 20-point night. A poor shooting performance handcuffed the Vikes, who made just 31 percent of their shots. The second quarter was particularly bad, as the Vikes were held scoreless over a six-minute stretch and the Huskies took full advantage with 13 unanswered points. Saskatchewan's big run put them ahead 35-24 at halftime. Despite the Vikes shooting woes, they still managed to put themselves in a position to legitimately threaten the Huskies lead in the final quarter. The Vikes, who trailed by as many as 16 points, made it a two-possession game in the fourth but were unable to capitalize on 11 Huskies turnovers in the quarter. Saskatchewan committed 33 turnovers in the game. Fourth-year forward Tyler Hass led the Vikes with 15 points in a losing effort. Third-year forward Mike Hull contributed 12 points, and rookie Ryan MacKinnon netted six. MacKinnon gave the Vikes life late in the third, stealing the ball at mid-court and using a behind-the-back dribble to fake out his defender and score the easy lay-up. The basket was part of an 8-0 run that cut the deficit to six points at the beginning of the fourth. The loss drops the Vikes to 13-7, and marks the first time since November 16, 2002 that they have lost consecutive home games. The Vikes also severely hurt their chances of catching the UBC Thunderbirds for the top spot in the Pacific Division, despite UBC's 75-70 loss to Alberta earlier in the day. The Vikes play their final home game of the regular season Saturday night against the Don Horwood-led Alberta Golden Bears. Just prior to the 8 p.m. tip-off, graduating senior Rob Kinnear will be honoured.

Lethbridge (4-18, 3-16) 83, Winnipeg (12-13, 9-10) 79 6'3" newcomer Danhue Lawrence, a JUCO transfer originally from Toronto, ON, had a career-high 27 points and Ryan Anderson added 18 as the Horns upset the Wesmen, who watched star 5'9" guard Erfan Nasajpour leave the game with an injury. Horns Slip past Wesmen Lethbridge, AB – The University of Lethbridge defeated the visiting University of Winnipeg Wesmen, 83-79 in Canada West basketball action in Lethbridge this evening. The outcome remained in doubt throughout the game, but the Lethbridge Pronghorns rode the hot hand of new comer Danhue Lawrence (Toronto, ON, 2nd year) to upset the Wesmen. The Horns opened play with an aggressive attack that seemed to catch the Wesmen off guard. Leading by as many as eleven, the Horns pressed the play to convert numerous baskets in and around the lane. But a Matt Opalko (Winnipeg, MB, 5ht year) three pointer with six minutes remaining in the second quarter brought the Wesmen to within 7 and started a 19-5 Wesmen run to put them up four. But a Allen Kadima (Toronto, ON, 4th year) three with four seconds left in the half brought the Horns back within one at 39-38. The third quarter was a wild affair with eleven lead changes before the Wesmen finally entered the final stanza up 62-61. The Horns would take the lead for good only eight seconds into the fourth on a Remington Stemler (Calgary, AB, 3rd year) jumper and the Horns would turn up the pressure the rest of the way taking advantage of a short manned Wesmen squad. MVP candidate Erfan Nasajpour (Winnipeg, MB, 5th year) was hurt late in third quarter and didn’t return. His teammates battled to within 3 with nineteen seconds left on a James Horoska (Winnipeg, MB, 2nd year) jumper, as the Horns almost squandered a thirteen point lead with three and half minutes remaining. But the Horns were able to hang on in the end to get their third victory of the season. Entrenched in a battle for home court in the opening round of the playoffs, the loss tonight by the Wesmen could prove costly. The entered the weekend tied with the Regina Cougars, who were defeated by the Brandon Bobcats tonight, for second in the Great Plains division. The Wesmen travel to Calgary to take on the third-ranked Dinos tomorrow night before concluding the regular season with a home and home series with the second-ranked Bobcats. Leading the way for the Horns was Lawrence, who had his best game in a Horns uniform, scoring 27 points and adding 9 rebounds, including three of three from behind the arc. Fourth year post Ryan Anderson (Lethbridge, AB) chipped in with 18 points for the victors. The Wesmen where led by Nasajpour’s 14 before leaving the game with an injury. Opalko contributed 13 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.

Calgary (20-5, 16-3) 101, Manitoba (7-19, 4-15) 77 The Dinos officially clinched first place in the Central with a home court win over the Bisons as 5 players scored in double figures including 6'6" fourth-year post Henry Bekkering who had 22 points and 9 rebounds. Calgary was again without 6'8" second year post Ross Bekkering. From Ben Matchett, Calgary Sports Info... DINOS CLINCH DIVISION PENNANT CALGARY – The Manitoba Bisons (4-15) have pulled off some major upsets this season – the Alberta Golden Bears and the then-No. 2 Acadia Axemen come to mind – but don’t add the No. 3 Calgary Dinos to that list. The Dinos (16-3) extended their home court dominance to a perfect 11-0 on the year, clinching the Central Division pennant and a first round playoff bye with a 101-77 victory over the Bisons Friday night in the Jack Simpson Gym. For Calgary coach Dan Vanhooren, the division title is the realization of a pre-season objective set out by the team. “It’s always good to achieve the goals you set at the beginning of the year, and with Ross (Bekkering) out of the lineup we were able to show some of our depth,” he said. “Today was a much better effort than we had last weekend. Going into the playoffs and going through the roster now we have three games to work on some things and tune up.” The younger Bekkering (3rd year, Taber, Alta.) sat out his second consecutive game as he tries to heal a nagging ankle injury. Though the leading rebounder in Canada West was missed on the floor, Robbie Sihota (3rd, Calgary) picked up the slack for the Dinos. Sihota bounced back from a couple of sub-par performances to earn the night’s only double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, despite shooting only 3-for-11 from the field. “He’s a capable offensive player, and he didn’t get in foul trouble early, which makes a big difference,” Vanhooren said. “He played smarter defensively tonight so he could stay in the game and find his rhythm on offence. In other games, he was getting two fouls early and sitting down, so that made the difference tonight.” The Bisons kept it tight for much of the opening quarter, and Calgary’s first nine points came from beyond the arc as the Dinos struggled to pound the ball inside. As the quarter wore on, the Dinos slowly began to work their inside game and pulled away from the Bisons, and a late deuce from Henry Bekkering (4th, Taber, Alta.) made the margin 22-17 after 10 minutes. The Dinos quietly began to extend the lead in the second quarter, making it a 15-point cushion at halftime. Manitoba simply couldn’t match Calgary’s inside game, leading to the 24-point victory for the Dinos. Isaac Ansah (4th, Winnipeg) paced the visitors offensively with 23 points on the night, while Brian Crowe (5th, Victoria) chipped in 13 and Joel Pankewich (2nd, Thunder Bay, Ont.) added 10. Junior forward Sean Landry, a Calgary native, led the Bisons with 10 rebounds. Henry Bekkering led the way for Calgary with 22 points, while point guard Jeff Price (3rd, Calgary) posted a quiet 18 points to go with nine assists and six rebounds, earning player of the game honours. The starting five accounted for 83 of Calgary’s points, with Tyler Fidler (1st, Calgary) posting 14 and Cody Darrah (5th, Edmonton) 11 in addition to Sihota’s 18. With the division title sewn up, Vanhooren and the Dinos still have much to play for – including a perfect 12-0 home record. “I’d like to see us power through the next three games and do what we’re capable of,” he said. “Tomorrow night is seniors’ night and it’s going to be important for us to come out and win it for those two guys. And to go undefeated at home would really be something special.” Fifth-year seniors Cody Darrah and Jeremy Odland (Calgary) will be recognized prior to Saturday night’s game against the Winnipeg Wesmen, who lost a tough 83-79 decision at Lethbridge Friday. The Bisons, meanwhile, head to Lethbridge for a battle between two teams destined to miss the playoffs. Calgary will host the best-of-three Central Division Final Feb. 22-24, where they will play the winner of the Alberta/Saskatchewan semi-final. Game times and ticket information to be announced.

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