Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday's Thoughts

In a rematch of last season's CW quarter-final, Victoria avenged their Best-of-3 series loss with a win over Alberta, which dropped both games on their tough tour of B.C.  After 6'3" Daniel Ferguson hit a 3 to bring the Bears to within 3 at 64-61, the Vikes clinched the game with a 13-6 run, led by 6'4" Ryan MacKinnon and Humber College transfer Michael Acheampong to lead by 10 with just over a minute to play.  Both teams remain firmly in the CW Final Four hunt.  UVic men get back to winning  plus Box Score  ... While it is a long way from Coach K's 800 wins, Windsor's Chris Oliver celebrated his 100th victory as coach of the Lancers on Saturday after their win over nemesis Guelph Gryphons.  Oliver also won 25 games while at Queen's where he started his CIS coaching career... Western Mustangs hung in tough on Saturday night for much of the evening at Lakehead, doing so without the services of 5'11" fifth-year guard Ryan Barbeau and 6'4" Quinn Henderson, both of whom played on Friday.  Without Barbeau, the Mustangs relied heavily on emerging 6'5" second-year wing Peter Scholtes, who singlehandidly carried the 'Stangs with 35 points... UBC T-Birds swept their very important weekend games with Alberta and Saskatchewan and did so without freshman guard Nakai Luyken, who did not play in either game.  While the Birds continue to struggle taking care of the ball offensively (29 turnovers vs. Sask; 22 turnovers vs. Alberta), UBC's vaunted half court "d" continues to shine, holding 5'11" Jamelle Barrett to just 4 for 20 shooting and the entire Huskies team to just 27% from the floor.  Defense still wins in most cases... While Laurentian did give Carleton a very tough first half in Sudbury, the Ravens finished the game on a 77-19 run which is downright scary.  6'3" Phil Scrubb, 6'6" Tyson Hinz and 6'5" Cole Hobin are the best three-some in Canada with Hinz being maybe the best pure decision maker offensively that Carleton has ever had... While the U of T Varsity Blues Queen's score looked reasonably close (Blues win by 9), Varsity jumped out of the gate leading 18-1 and quickly upped the lead to 33-12 before coasting to the victory.  The Gaels did get the game below 10 only once after the initial run and that was in the final minute of the fourth quarter.  OUA East remains brutal at the bottom of the standings with three teams (Queen's, York and RMC) all winless at 0-10.  Something has to give next weekend as York meets both the Gaels and Palladins... Here is a Regina Leader-Post story on one of Regina's new additions, point guard Antonio Tate from Minneapolis.  5'9" Tate played only 7 minutes last night as the Cougars avenged a Friday night loss with a very important win at Brandon, leading by as many as 21 points in the third quarter, as Jared Janotta (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Paul Gareau (21 point, 9-12 shooting) led the way offensively.  More prominently however was the work of second-year point guard Brendan Hebert who fashioned a near triple double line of 9 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists with only 3 turnovers in 34 minutes.  Hebert, who was thrust into major minutes as a freshmen to mixed results, is beginning to give coach James Hillis much more depth at the important point guard position... After advancing all the way to the CIS Natioanl championship game last season, Trinity Western Spartans lost several key pieces to graduation and, as importantly, lost sophomore point guard Eli Mara to a season-ending injury.  But several key pieces were in place with 6'7" Kyle Coston returning and 6'3" Sean Peter transferring in after a stellar four-season career at uOttawa.  Optimism was high after an overtime victory over NCAA Division 1 Santa Clara in September however a brutal first-half schedule that included pairs of games against Victoria (0-2) and at UBC (0-2) plus losses at Saskatchewan and at Alberta, resulted in the Spartans entering the second half at 2-6.  Fast forward to after the holidays and TWU appears to have rebounded at least after the first weekend after a pair of wins including last night's victory over visiting Calgary Dinos, who have a resurgent 6'9" Tyler Fidler and 6'7" Boris Bakovic back in the lineup.  Coston (21.0 ppg) has delivered all season including a 35 point effort on Friday vs. Lethbridge and 28 last night vs. Calgary.  But, after a slow start, Peter (17.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg) is coming alive, with his usual efficiency scoring (shoots 59% from the floor), averaging 25 ppg over his last 3 Canada West outings.  With a pair of CIS Nationals appearances under his belt from his days as an Ottawa Gee-Gee, expect the fifth-year wing, who can score in and around the paint in many different ways, to be a key reason why Trinity, with a remaining schedule that includes UBC-O (twice), Brandon, Regina and Thompson Rivers (twice), to be in contention for a playoff spot despite the terrible start.  Spartans two most important games may be the home-and-home with rivals Fraser Valley Cascades toward the end of the season... While there was no greater tribute for Coach K's 800th win than provided by Eddie Pomykala in his special "View from the Q", the Halifax Chronicle-Herald also provided a special look at the wonderful milestone... Hope to have more on this two-game set however Saint Mary's got themselves back in the playoff hunt in the AUS with a home win against UPEI (the teams meet again today in Halifax).  In what can loosely be described as a typical, high-energy, fast-paced game between the two teams full of athletes, there were a combined 48 offensive rebounds in the game; teams together hoisted 58 threes (29 each) while combining for over 150 shots from the floor (almost 4 shots per minute of play) with Saint Mary's getting a somewhat-unexpected strong effort from 6'8" Riley Halpin who had 23 points in 30 minutes of play  Box Score

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