Thursday, 19 November 2009

OUA Weekend Preview

The surprising Lakehead Thunderwolves (4-0 in league play, 6-1 vs. CIS) headline this weekend's action as Scott Morrison's crew looks to continue their undefeated streak with a pair of road games at York (1-3) on Friday night and then at Laurentian in Sudbury on Saturday night. The T-Wolves are a much deeper team this season as Morrison can go at least 10 deep however their young core of 6'0" point guard Greg Carter and 6'6" post Yoosire Salhia are underlying keys to Lakehead's success. Carter, an athletic sophomore, averages almost 32 mpg, is second in scoring on Lakehead (11.3 ppg) and leads the club in assists and steals as one of the top defending guards in the conference. Salhia (11 ppg/8.3 rpg) also in only his second year anchors the front line as a rebounder and finisher. With some national prominence deservedly achieved over the last couple of weeks, it will be interesting to watch how this group responds in these two road games with the finale in Sudbury on Saturday night usually being very tough for opponents. Lakehead finishes the first half next weekend hosting Carleton and Ottawa at the Thunderdome... McMaster Marauders (3-1), who suffered their first loss of the season last Friday night at home to U of T Varsity Blues before recovering to defeat Ryerson, also travel to Sudbury on Friday night and then get the Lions in North York on Saturday. Incidentally, the Blues have appealed the OUA's decision to suspend 6'2" guard Rob Paris for 2 games in the wake of last Friday's incident with Mac freshman guard Victor Raso. We should have further coverage on this emerging story as these types of appeals should be heard and resolved within 24 hours according to sources... In Ottawa this weekend, Peter Campbell's Laurier Golden Hawks (1-3 in league play) invade Carleton and Ottawa after close, disappointing losses in overtime to U of T on the opening night of the season and another tight loss at home last weekend to Queen's when a sub-par performance by star forward Kale Harrison (16.8 ppg) and poor free throw shooting down the stretch hurt the Hawks. Laurier remains a dangerous team, especially when they are making shots however their ultimate success may hinge on the level of production Laurier gets out of their bigs ex-Harrison. Waterloo (3-1) is also in our Nation's Capital with the veteran lineup set to take on the Gee-Gees on Friday night. 6'9" Matt Hayes has developed into a very effective post presence who should demand at least the occasional double down in the post while 6'6" Ben Frisby and 6'3" Cam McIntyre are the early season leaders in scoring for the Warriors, who give up the fewest points per game in league play in the entire CIS through their first 4 games. Ottawa received a tremendous effort from 6'5" sophomore wing Warren Ward last Friday night against Western as Ward had 20 of his game-high 30 points in the first half against the 'Stangs. 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe sits fifth in OUA scoring at 20.3 ppg. The Ravens appear to have put things back on the rails last weekend with a pair of solid wins at home and 6'8" fifth-year center Kevin McCleery leads the way at 16.0 ppg however 6'0" Willy Manigat remains the energetic catalyst off Coach Dave Smart's bench... The Blues await the decision on Paris (16.8 ppg) as they prepare to face Brock Badgers (1-3) in St. Catharines and the OUA's leading scorer 6'4" freshman Clinton Springer-Williams (26 ppg). The Badgers should have 6'1" sophomore guard Didi Mukendi back in the lineup after he missed last weekend's pair of losses at Laurentian and at York due to the flu. Toronto welcomed back 6'8" Nick Snow last Saturday night after Snow had also been ailing with the flu. The other half of this matchup is Ryerson at Guelph on Friday, led by new Rams coach Roy Rana and 6'7" All-Canadian candidate Boris Bakovic (20 pts and 11 boards per game). However, the Rams have shown early in the season that they are definitely NOT a one-man team as point guard Josh Budd is averaging 15 ppg while 5th year 6'11 center Joey Imbrogno (12 ppg/8 rpg) finally is beginning to show the consistency of a top flight OUA big. This matchup should be a battle of styles as the Gryphs look to force the action at both ends and the Rams try and exploit the halfcourt game. Guelph (1-3) is coming off a split last weekend at York where they controlled the game followed by a heartbreaking loss at Laurentian by two after shooting a dismal 59% from the charity stripe. 6'5" senior Jay Mott leads Guelph at 20 pts and 6 boards per game with 6'4" Jonathan Moscatelli adding 22 ppg in only 2 starts... Finally, Queen's Gaels (1-3) travel to Windsor on Friday and Western on Saturday in probably the second toughest bus-oriented travel weekend in the OUA this season (Western and Windsor completed the toughest in Ottawa last weekend). After an undefeated pre-season against CIS teams that brought promise, two of the Gaels three losses this season have been games that went down to the wire including a buzzer-beating shot on the opening night of the regular season at home to Lakehead. Expect a contrast in styles in Windsor as the Lancers guards will likely look to push the tempo defensively while Queen's looks to play from inside/out in the half court with budding All-Canadian candidate 6'6" Mitch Leger (21.0 ppg/11 rpg). All games on Friday begin at 8 PM while there are 3 afternoon games on Saturday including Queen's at Western (3 PM), RMC at Windsor (3 PM) and Ryerson at Brock (4 PM) with the remainder on Saturday at 8 PM.

FRIDAY (all games at 8 PM)
Ryerson at Guelph Live! on SSN Canada
Toronto at Brock
Lakehead at York
McMaster at Laurentian Live! on SSN Canada
RMC at Western
Queen's at Windsor
Waterloo at Ottawa Live! on SSN Canada
Laurier at Carleton Live! on SSN Canada

3:00 pm Queen's at Western
3:00 pm RMC at Windsor
4:00 pm Ryerson at Brock
8:00 pm Toronto at Guelph Live! on SSN Canada
8:00 pm McMaster at York
8:00 pm Lakehead at Laurentian Live! on SSN Canada
8:00 pm Laurier at Ottawa Live! on SSN Canada
8:00 pm Waterloo at Carleton Live! on SSN Canada

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