Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wayne Thomas Canada West Friday Report

Cascades Win has Dinos' Backs to the Wall

The Fraser Valley Cascades got a good start to the 2nd half of their season, after a strong 2nd half propelled them to a 74 - 65 win over the visiting Calgary Dinos in Abbotsford, B.C. on Friday. Trailing 34-29 at half-time, the Cascades were getting hurt by Calgary's big men, Tyler Fidler, Boris Bakovic, and Josh Wolfram on the glass.  UFV turned on their attack, and out-scored the Dinos 45-31 in the 2nd for their 6th win vs 3 losses on the season.

Joel Friesen had a game-high 23 points, as he and Sam Freeman (13 pts.) penetrated Calgary's defense in the 2nd. Kyle Grewal led the Cascade rebounders with 8, and he was matched by Calgary's Fidler, who looked like he would control the game in the 1st half.  He finished with 19 points and the 8 rebs., but fouled out late in the game.  Bakovic, in his 1st Canada West game, played an amazing 31 minutes (for a returnee from a knee injury), and scored 13 points, while Wolfram hit 10.

Calgary's changing defenses seemed to slow down the UFV offense in the opening 20 minutes, and the Cascades shooters were ineffective from 3 point range, other than 2 from Sheldon Bjorgaard.  Calgary attacked a Fraser Valley zone very patiently, and got some good shots inside.  In the 2nd half, UFV cut off
Calgary's access to the hoop, and did a much better job of limiting the Dinos to just 1 shot.

The home team hit 47% from the floor to Calgary's 40%, and, with their strong 2nd half, won the rebounding 40-36.  Calgary falls to 3-6, and will face Trinity Western on Saturday in Langley at 8 pm Calgary time.  All Canada West games, as you should know are on Canada West TV ... Live stats and live
streaming.

Other Canada West Results - Friday

Saskatchewan Huskies 86 at Victoria Vikes 81 ... Jamelle Barrett, PTP ... scores 29 of his 32 points in the 2nd half ... down the stretch hits 2 treys, a blow-by lay-up, and 2 free throws ... game! Post star Michael Lieffers also does what he needs to do for the 'Dogs ... 19 points and 13 big boards as the Huskies go to 6-2. Victoria, in losing their 1st Canada West game, was right there, but couldn't stop Barrett, gave up some big O boards to U of S, and couldn't match the late scoring.  The Vikes (8-1) get 20 from Ryan McKinnon and 19 from Michael Acheampong.

at UBC T-Birds 82 Alberta G. Bears 71 OVERTIME ... 'Birds (5-2) snatch victory from the jaws of the Bears.  Kamar Burke scores on a lob from Malcolm Williams with 1 sec. in regulation to force OT at 63 apiece. Burke dominates OT, along with Nathan Yu ... Yu finishes with 22 pts./6 assts., while Burke has 18 points and 13 huge boards.  Alberta (6-3) had the win even with just 6 points from Jordan Baker, who fouled out in OT. Bears shot just 38% Fg, had 21 points from Daniel Ferguson, and 18 by Lyndon Taylor.

at Trinity W. Spartans 105 Lethbridge Pronghorns 97 ... 63 points for TWU (3-6) in a wild 2nd half, as Kyle Coston steps up for 35 points, and Sean Peter notches 26.  Calvin Westbrook played and played well ...  16 and 8 rebounds. Trinity moves to 3-6, while the 'Horns drop to 4-5. 6 players in double figures
for Lethbridge ... Morgan Duce is 4/6 treys and 16 pts., Derek Waldner 14 pts. 10 rebs, and Dom Coward 11 pts. 10 boards.

at Thompson Rivers WolfPack 84 Winnipeg Wesmen 68 ...  'Pack (5-4) get career effort from Akeem Pierre, their 5th year transfer from UBC, as he hits 9/12, 3/3 from 3 for 23 pts. justin King hits 17 and grabs 9 boards, and Chas Kok scores 16 with 8 off the glass. TRU shoots 44% to just 31% for Winnipeg. Wesmen (2-7) led by 17 pts. 8 rebs., 8 assts. from Andrew Cunningham , and 15 pts., 10 boards by Eric Zimmerman.

Manitoba Bisons 80 at UBC-O Heat 65 ... Bisons are 6-4 with a solid win on the road ... all 5 starters are in double figures, with Kevin Oliver at 15 pts., 10 rebs., and Kurtis Sansregret is 18 points/7 boards.  The Heat (1-8) could not score with the Herd ... Bret MacDonald is the only one in double figures with
23 points.

at Brandon Bobcats 96 Regina Cougars 73 ... with all the talk about Brandon's new faces, it was 5th year wing man, Kyle Vince, who lit up the Cougars for 27 points, hitting 3 treys.  The 'Cats (4-5) get up 32 shots from outside, and make 12 vs. 5/16 for Regina.  2nd year transfer guard, Michael Smith (U. Regina) hits 4/8 from 3 for 12 pts., adds 8 boards.  Jordan Reaves has 14 pts./ 6 rebs.  For Regina (2-6), who shot 52% FG, Sterling Nostedt -13 pts, Connor Burns 13, and Paul Gareau 11 pts. / 8 boards.  55 - 38 at the half for BU.

Backs Against The Wall For Dinos and Spartans

These Trinity Western Spartans are not the same warriors (Jacob Doerkson, Tyrell Mara et al)  who took a pair from the Dinos in Calgary last season, and who played in the CIS Nationals final vs Carleton.  Of course, these are not the Calgary Dinos of Sihota, Bekkering and their mates, either.  Both these squads are surely are teams in transition, aching to build another winner.

But you play the cards you're dealt, and, even at the start of January, this game tonight may well seal the fate of the team that comes up short on the score board. Neither team can have realistic hopes of contending for a playoff spot sitting at 3-6, unless they start a run on saturday, and make up some ground.  TWU hit the century mark against Lethbridge Friday in a 105-97 victory, while Calgary's offense sputterd in the 2nd half in a 74-65 loss at Fraser Valley.

Boris Bakovic has returned to action, and he should help generate more points, as he combines with Tyler Fidler and Josh Wolfram on a big front line. The Dinos guards will have to hit the hoop with more regularity, and limit their turnovers as they try and play solid basketball despite the absence of point man Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson.

Kyle Coston is the Spartans scorer on the forward line, while Calvin Westbrook looks to be ready with his outside scoring touch once again.  TWU got 15 points and 9 big asists from point man Tristan Smith vs. U of L Friday, and he will have to be guarded closely by Calgary as well. We think the Dinos will circle the wagons, and get a hard fought win in Langley.

   Canada West ... Saturday's other games

Lethbridge Pronghorns at Fraser Valley Cascades ...  the Cascades have their eyes on the horizon ... they see themselves as an elite team, ready to advance to Final 4 contention.  Lethbridge is looking to play well enough to make the playoffs, and has upped their talent, maturity, and experience quotient with a raft of college transfers.  The 'Horns may have too much on their hands trying to defend Friesen, Freeman, Grewal and company.  2 good teams, but UFV on familiar turf.  Cascades to win, and sweep the weekend.

Winnipeg Wesmen at UBC-Okanagan Heat ... the Heat will be all a-twitter with the possibility of a 2nd Canada West win ... deep down, they know, however, that home court can't make up 30 points, which was the margin for the Ws in their win over UBC-O at the Wesmen Classic a couple of weeks ago.  Cunningham
will have his rhythm by now, and the hoop looks bigger for Winnipeg since his arrival. Wesmen for a road win.

Manitoba Bisons at Thompson Rivers WolfPack ... may have to change the nets at half-time.  These teams aren't shy about squeezing extra possessions out of a 20 minute half ... push it, and shoot it!  This really could be a 200+ point game, unless some ambitious coach tries to spoil the fun and inject defense
into the equation.  Yes, we're talking about you, Scott Clark.  "Let 'em play !" K-squared (Kok and King) should hurt the Herd.  TRU for a 2nd win this weekend.

Regina Cougars at Brandon Bobcats ...  after a convincing dusting on Friday, Brandon to sweep this border battle in the Eastern Prairies.

Saskatchewan Huskies at UBC T-Birds ... the Sled -Dogs have won 2 games at UBC in previous 2 seasons. Shocking.  Can Jamelle Barrett dance on the T-Birds defense, like he did the Vikes' ?  In the paint, there may be the occasional love-taps exchanged between the likes of UBC's Graham Bath, Kamar Burke vs Saskie's Chris Unsworth, and Michael Lieffers.  Huskies get to the 'Birds in their own nest once again.

Alberta Golden Bears at Victoria Vikes ... the Bruins will be all ga-ga with the ferry ride over to The Island, revelling in the gentle rain, as opposed to freezing Prairie winds.  Vikes will gang up on Ferguson and Baker ... Bears on McKinnon and Andrus.  This is the anti - TRU/Manitoba game, as Canada West's top defensive squads try to choke each others' attacks ... could be 46-45 in OT.  Vikes over Bears in a tight match-up.

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