U-Sports Men’s Weekend Preview: AUS action in Scotiabank Center in Halifax

I will be travelling for the next few days and updates are likely to be spotty so here is a quick thumbnail of the week that will be in U-Sports men’s basketball – the penultimate weekend (not a fan of that word but…) of the 2017 calendar year.

ONE GAME ON THURSDAY NIGHT… in Montreal as Laval (2-1 in the “Q”), coming off a resounding home win over Bishop’s, seeks their first road win in league play at UQAM.  Expect a fast, athletic, even above-the-rim affair – coach Mario Joseph has Citadins playing hard on every possession.  Later in the weekend, McGill travels to Bishop’s in Lennoxville on Saturday night while Concordia hosts UQAM at 4 PM on Saturday at the BeeHive.

THIS IS THE FINAL WEEKEND OF AUS PLAY IN CALENDAR 2017… and what a great way to complete the year with a game at Scotiabank Center (always the Metro Center in my books) as St. FX (1-4), coming off a split in St. John’s, squaring off with #7 Acadia (5-0 in AUS league play), who swept Dalhousie Tigers using an imposing, veteran front line led by 6’10” Erik Nissen and 6’8″ Rhys Larry.  X matches up much better with Axemen at the forward spots with 6’7″ Kevin Bercy and 6’8″ Cam Walker – expect 6’5″ Azaro Roker to see time also.  This game precedes Canada’s Senior Men’s World Cup 2019 qualifier against Bahamas; Canada is coached by Ryerson’s Roy Rana as well as Assistant Dave Smart from Carleton.  Both X and Acadia have quick come-back games, both involving travel as X-Men travel back to Antigonish to meet Cape Breton (2-4), coming off a two-game sweep of UPEI at home last weekend.  Acadia has to get to Charlottetown for a single game against the winless Panthers on Saturday night.  Memorial, coming off their first victory of the season in any U-Sports game, has a pair of four-point road games at UNB, still undefeated after a pair of impressive comeback wins at Saint Mary’s last weekend – although UNB fans will question how impressed this site was given V-Reds are still only given Honorable Mention status in our ranking.

FULL SLATE OF OUA PLAY WITH SIX (“S I X”) GAMES IN TWO NIGHTS IN METROPOLITAN TORONTO… With all due respect, for those in the GTA who possibly would want to catch multiple games, on both nights – all three games at York, at Toronto and at Ryerson – begin at exactly the same time.  Just sayin’… With OUA East leading OUA West 31-16, there are 14 more interlock games this weekend.  Even with a sweep by OUA West teams, OUA East would still lead by one game.  However… 12 of the 14 interlock games are in OUA East gyms with only Lakehead – host #1 Carleton (led by Rob Smart Jr. with Dave Smart in Halifax with the National team) and #9 Ottawa – hosting OUA East teams.  Guelph and Algoma takes trip to Northern Ontario as Gryphs get #8 Laurentian at the Ben Avery on Friday and Thunderbirds at Nipissing.  Gryphs and Algoma then cross each other with Guelph at Nipissing and Algoma at Laurentian on Saturday.  Voyageurs have already defeated Algoma once at home in September in pre-season play… Waterloo Warriors and Laurier Golden Hawks will not have to travel on Friday and Saturday as both teams play in downtown Toronto – Friday’s games have Laurier at Toronto and Waterloo at Ryerson – Rams will have Associate Head Coach Borko Popic at the helm while coach Roy Rana handles Canada’s national team.  Observers continue to anticipate the return of 6’5″ Ammanuel Diressa and possibly 6’6″ Nathan Culbreath to the Rams lineup.  Golden Hawks are still likely to be without veteran 6’1″ guard Chuder Teny… In North York, York Lions, losers of four in a row, host Western on Friday and then welcome Windsor Lancers on Saturday.  The Lancers/Lions gave could threaten the U-Sports record for combined threes attempted in a game – if that record was readily available.  Windsor is at Queen’s on Friday night and Gaels get Western on Saturday.

CANADA WEST SCHEDULE MAKERS ARE OUA-ESQUE… Two sets of games this weekend in the City of Winnipeg for what I believe is the second time this season as Brandon visits Manitoba & UBC at the Duckworth Center vs. Wesmen – both scheduled for the exact same time both Friday and Saturday.  Clearly this site put an SI-like hex on the Bisons – after highlighting Manitoba’s schedule and opportunity to possibly even finish first in Canada West, Bisons lose twice in Calgary against Mount Royal.  Bobcats present a somewhat-underrated challenge, especially after their impressive win this past Saturday at home against Calgary.  Winnipeg hosts #6 UBC, poised to continue their home winning streak against the T-Birds:  when these teams last met at the Duckworth Center in 2014, Wesmen swept UBC in two games.  Probably the only person in the country who had Lethbridge ranked in the Top 10 (#4 is where I had them), this weekend’s Pronghorns visit to upstart Regina will immediately have that ranking tested.  Multiple coaches in Ontario talked to how dangerous the Cougars could be, especially now that 6’4″ Brandon Tull has returned to the lineup and Lethbridge’s undefeated Canada West record is sure to be tested twice, with both teams likely to want to push the pace.  Cougars will have to guard the ball effectively… In a meeting between two somewhat-bitter rivals, #2 Alberta Golden Bears host reeling Saskatchewan, just 2-4 on the young season.  Golden Bears qualified for the Final 8 last season after their 83-70 win over the Huskies in the Canada West semi-final this past March in Calgary.  It was the third consecutive time that Alberta had defeated Saskatchewan in a CW Final 4 game since 2012.  The last time these teams met in Edmonton (2014), the then-CW powers split a pair which was the same result last season in Saskatoon.  Alberta’s depth should provide an advantage as the world continues to await the arrival to the lineup of 6’1″ U.S. import/California native J.T. Robinson of the Huskies… In other match-ups, Thompson Rivers travels to Mount Royal for a pair in Calgary, UBC-O travels to Abbotsford to meet Fraser Valley and UNBC travels to MacEwan – with scheduler makers doubling down on the Edmonton home games.  Three teams are idle this weekend:  #5 Calgary, UVic Vikes and Trinity Western.


Muamba has career night as Laval romps

In the “better-late-than-never” category of news, we were remiss in not highlighting the tremendous exploits of Laval’s third-year 6’7″ Joel Muamba this past weekend in an 89-74 home win against Bishop’s.  Muamba, who had been hampered by injuries throughout the pre-season, netted a career-high 28 points – an RSEQ individual season high – on 13 for 16 shooting which included a spectacular five dunks !  Muamba’s athleticism and explosiveness has never been in question and as he begins to realize his vast potential, Rouge et Or have their sights set on their first RSEQ championship since 2007-08.

Muamba, who is a graduate of Thetford Academy and spent one season at Northwest JUCO (Wyoming) where he averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds per game in 2015-16, also made both of his three-point attempts and entertained what was a crowd well in excess of 1,000 at the beautiful “PEPS” (Laval University Sports and Physical Education Complex) – arguably the most beautiful facility in the country.  (Aside:  for our readers in Quebec City area – “when will Laval bid on the Final 8 ???”).

Laval was very efficient in the victory over Bishop’s, with 25 assists on their 34 made field goals and Rouge et Or generally looked after the rock, being charged with only 13 turnovers, an area of concern all season long as Coach Jacques Paiement Jr. looks to play fast and highlight his wonderful array of above-the-rim athletes.  Laval now 2-1 in RSEQ league play (5-5 overall vs. U-Sports) rides a two-game winning streak into tomorrow night’s (Thursday’s) game at UQAM (0-2).

Our thanks to one of our loyal readers in Quebec City for the recap and reminder – keep the good news coming…

Tigers end 1st half on generally positive note with win over Saint Mary’s

#10 Dalhousie (13-3, 5-2) 70, Saint Mary’s (8-6, 4-3) 59… 6’6″ Sven Stammberger had 23 points and 15 rebounds and the Tigers held off a late Huskies surge that cut a 16 point deficit down to five late in the fourth en route a victory at DalPlex, the final game of calendar 2017 for both teams.  After Stammberger got to the rim with about 8 1/2 minutes left, Tigers scored only one field goal – an “o” board tip-in by 6’10” Sasha Kappos – in the next 6 1/2 minutes as Saint Mary’s made their final run led by spectacular offensive play of 6’6″ Nikita Kasongo, who had five of his game-high 27 points during a 10-0 run that got the game back to 62-56 with just under 4 minutes to play.  But 6’6″ Alex Carson, who generally struggled with his perimeter shooting, knocked down a three (only his second make in seven attempts from downtown on the night) to give Dalhousie some breathing room and later Stammberger hit a late three to restore a double digit lead.  Tigers struggled to score in large chunks of last night’s game, going a collective 1 for 13 from downtown at one point and, after a stretch of the first half of this season during which Dal was clearly one of the top perimeter shooting teams in the nation, Tigers have struggled with consistency on the offensive end.  Dal did start 3-7 from beyond the arc, primarily on the exploits off the bench of 6’4″ fifth-year reserve guard Warren Liang who had 10 points in 16 minutes including knocking down both threes he took in the first quarter as Dal built a 12 point lead.  But Kasongo went to work from both the perimeter in transition and around the rim – the Champlain grad had a pair of two-handed dunks and was the main reason Saint Mary’s remained in the game, especially after 6’8″ Osman Barrie struggled with foul trouble all night – Barrie had just 7 points in 25 minutes – picking up 2 early fouls and never really getting into a rhythm.  Huskies finished just 3-19 from downtown as Tigers employed a couple of different zone defense looks and occasionally sent half-court pressure at the Huskies, likely a way to negate what could have been an advantage inside for Saint Mary’s.  Tigers got an outstanding performance from 6’0″ Jordan Aquino-Serjue, especially at the defensive end as the scrappy point guard took at least three charges in the first half and distributed the rock effectively (12 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists in 30 minutes).  6’4″ freshman Keevan Veinot continued his struggles finishing, going just 2-10 from the floor for 5 points while Kappos had 4 “o” boards and at least three two-handed dunks off feed from Aquino-Serjue but was part of the reason that Huskies had 14 “o” rebounds and several put-backs.  Tigers went just 6-22 from three but their scrambling “d” and strong work from Aquino-Serjue and Stammberger allowed Dal to finish the first half on a positive note.

Saint Mary’s at Dalhousie Tonight at DalPlex

Both teams come off disappointing weeks as Saint Mary’s especially blew a pair of fourth quarter leads at home to 6’0″ Javon Masters and UNB Varsity Reds.  This much-younger edition of the Huskies hopefully learned some valuable lessons about how to close out games and this weekend’s UNB come-backs once again supported the notion that fourth-and-fifth year guys are usually the difference at key points in big games.  Tigers were brought back to earth by the veteran Axemen – again featuring fourth-and-fifth year players against a talented Dalhousie group with only one fifth-year player.  The latest battle of Halifax features a much younger overall core of impact players but nonetheless promises to be an intriguing game beginning at 7 PM ET/8 PM AT tonight.

CANHoops.ca 2017-18 Top 10 as of 20th November 2017

CANHoops.ca 2017-18 Top 10 as of 20th November 2017

One of the most difficult Top 10’s in recent memory at least from my perspective given that #4 Calgary (to a sub .500 team), #5 Dalhousie (twice including at home), #6 McGill (at home) and #7 Laurentian (decisively – albeit at #3 Brock) all lost at least one game.  uOttawa, #10 last week, won a pair of home games but earlier in the week was defeated at Carleton.  Then-#9 Lethbridge won a pair of road games at Thompson Rivers, a playoff-type team.  Given the entire body of this week’s results, we made the bold move of pushing the Pronghorns all the way up to #4 – on the notion that Calgary’s loss should push them lower (but still ahead of UBC who they pounded twice) – and all other teams had not-very-good losses.  Some out east may scratch their heads at again not including UNB, especially after their spectacular come-backs at Saint Mary’s; however we will reserve our judgement on the V-Reds after the schedule brings Acadia, Dalhousie and St. FX.  Enough of the justification, here’s what we came up with and why.

#1 Carleton (13-0, 7-0/ LW: #1)… Carleton hammered Windsor and Western at the Raven’s Nest this past weekend and double-doubles are becoming virtually automatic with 6’9 1/2″ sophomore Eddie Ekiyor.  Ravens travel to Thunder Bay to meet Lakehead this coming weekend – Assistant Coach Rob Smart Jr. will take over the head coaching reigns as Dave Smart joins Canada’s Sr. National team for a pair of qualifying games:  Friday night in Halifax against Bahamas (St. FX vs. Acadia is the warm-up game) and Monday in the Dominican Republic.  Could not avoid having to say that I had to visit the FIBA.basketball page to get this information.

#2 Alberta (10-0, 6-0/ LW: #2)…  Alberta comes off a bye week, getting set to host Saskatchewan Huskies, who continue to play a tight rotation of five or six.  Golden Bears remain one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation and look to remain among the dwindling ranks of undefeated teams in the country – only three left ! – at home in Edmonton.

#3 Brock (11-0, 8-0/ LW: #3)… Badgers got off to blistering starts – especially defensively – in hammering Nipissing and then-#8 Laurentian.  Brock continues to conquer all challenges in remaining undefeated.  Their most challenging tests come in two weeks when #9 uOttawa and #1 Carleton – before what will likely be a crowd of almost 5,000 at the Meridian Center.  Prior to that, Badgers host arch-rival McMaster this coming Friday night at the Bob Davis.

#4 Lethbridge (12-2, 8-0/ LW: #9)… Likely a controversial pick for a spot this high however given the confluence of circumstances, the spot was earned in my opinion with two impressive road wins at Thompson Rivers – a Final 8 team two seasons ago – characterized by:  sharing the rock (43 assists over 69 field goals), taking care of the ball (total of only 22 turnovers all weekend), making free throws (27-32 from the stripe) and playing well with the lead (Horns led for the majority of the weekend).  These are the hallmarks of great road teams and, while this spot has a low tolerance for failure, in my view this team has earned it for now.  Horns can reinforce this lofty ranking this weekend as Lethbridge travels to Regina (5-1 in CW league play), coming off a road wins at UNBC.

#5  Calgary (12-2, 7-1/ LW: #4)…  Dinos were sluggish during their trip to Brandon, which is much improved notwithstanding that observers noted some slight home cooking toward the end of Saturday’s loss.  Still, a loss is a loss and, in light of the other results, Calgary takes a one-position hit down.  Dinos are idle this coming weekend before completing their first half on the road at Saskatchewan for a pair.

#6 UBC (11-2, 6-2/ LW: #8)…  After hammering Trinity Western by 53 at home on Friday night, T-Birds were far from dominant in Saturday’s rematch against the cellar-dwelling Spartans, trailing with 7 minutes remaining in the game before turning it around. UBC has a potentially-dangerous trip to Winnipeg for two with the Wesmen and then close their first-half at home against improved Regina.

#7 Acadia (10-3, 5-0/LW:  HM)… A pair of impressive wins, including a solid win at then-#5 Dalhousie right in DalPlex, allowed Axemen to snatch the highest ranking in the AUS away from the Tigers.  6’5″ Thomas Johnston was key at both ends and on the glass for Acadia, another strong example of the value of fifth-year guys.  Acadia tangles with St. FX X-Men Friday night in Halifax at Scotiabank Center (former Metro Center) as part of Canada’s Sr. Men’s team qualifier and then has to travel to Charlottetown the next night for a game at UPEI.

#8 Laurentian (8-1, 4-1/LW: #7)…   With an opportunity to knock on the door of the Top 5, Vees missed 18 shots in a row in the first half against Brock, leading to a decisive loss.  Still, Laurentian did win handily at McMaster on Friday and has only one loss, looking to return to their winning ways this coming weekend hosting Guelph and Algoma before completing their first-half with a pair of potentially tough road fixtures at Western and at Windsor.

#9 Ottawa (12-3, 5-2/LW: #10)…  Gee-Gees came back to sweep a pair of home games on the weekend, taking the lead against both Western and Windsor in the second half of their games.  Tuesday’s loss to Carleton was not especially encouraging as it was clear that Ravens were basically in control the entire way.  Ottawa is using 6’5″ Kenny Jean-Louis at the four for extended minutes as 6’7″ Brody Maracle appears out for an extended period with that concussion – he was not even on the bench on the weekend which likely talks to the severity of the unfortunate injury.  Ottawa goes on the road to Lakehead for one and then travels to Brock and McMaster to close the first half in two weeks.

#10  Dalhousie (12-3, 4-2/LW: #5)… A pair of disappointing loss during which Tigers usual dead-eye perimeter shooting deserted them for long stretches brings this still-young team down to earth somewhat.  After a blistering start 6’6″ Sven Stammberger was just ordinary to good in the two games against the Axemen.  At least for now, Acadia appears to have a more experienced group that is better on the glass and making big shots among other areas.

HONORABLE MENTIONRyerson (5-4, 4-2), # McGill (6-3, 2-1), UNB (12-2, 6-0).

Badgers remain unbeaten with decisive win over Laurentian

#3 Brock 71, #7 Laurentian 55 … Badgers held the high-powered Voyageurs scoreless over an 11 minute stretch of the first half, later jumping out to leads as large as 23 points in a convincing home win to knock Laurentian from the ranks of the undefeated.  6’7″ Dani Elgadi led all scorers with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists as Badgers asserted themselves as a Top 3 team in the country in advance of hosting #1 Carleton and uOttawa Gee-Gees in two weeks at home.  After Vees jumped to quick 6-2 lead, Brock scored the next 18 points, as Laurentian missed 18 consecutive shots from the field and turned it over 8 times in that fateful 11 minute stretch.  Leading by 21 late in the third, Vees mounted an 10-0 run including 5 consecutive points by O.J. Watson which got it down to 11 but Brock immediately responded with a 13-2 run that included six points from Elgadi to build their largest lead and win going away.  Brock won easily despite giving up 25 offensive rebounds including 17 in the first half alone when Vees shot 7-33 (21%) and zero of nine from three, turning it over 15 times in the first 20 minutes.  5’11” Tyler Brown was strong for Brock with 15 points and 6 assists before fouling out while 6’2″ David Aromolaran led Laurentian with 18 points while star 6’2″ guard Kadre Gray added 14 points and 13 rebounds – 10 of his points came after halftime before he fouled out.

#1 Carleton came up with an 82-61 win at home over Western as 6’10 1/2″ Eddie Ekiyor fashioned a 20 point, 17 rebound double-double while fellow 7’1/2″ big Cam Smythe added 13 points on 6-12 shooting against the smallish, less experienced Mustangs front line.  Carleton dominated the glass at 57-30, winning despite shooting just 4-21 from three.  The game “featured” 53 fouls and 64 free throws.  Western shot just 26.3% overall…  Ottawa pulled away in the second half for a 91-73 win over Windsor with the Gee-Gees finding their collective perimeter strokes going 11-24 from three in the second half to offset missing 9 of their first 12 from distance.  6’4″ Brandon Robinson and 5’11” Sean Stoqua led the charge combining to go 5-8 from three after halftime while 6’9″ Jean Pierre-Charles helped Ottawa dominate the glass with 20 points and 11 rebounds.  Stoqua led the way with 21 points and he continues to get much more comfortable and back into game/timing shape after two seasons away from the hardwood.  Robinson, counted upon to be coach James Derouin‘s senior leader on the wing, had 11 of his 13 in the key second half, helping the game deciding 18-4 run late in the third with a pair from downtown… Queen’s Gaels shook off a lackluster effort at Waterloo on Friday with a character 77-76 win at Laurier, taking the lead for good on three from 6’6″ Tanner Graham with just over a minute to play and holding off a couple of Golden Hawk attempts at tying or winning… Across town at Waterloo, the Warriors made it two straight with a solid win over York, holding off a late Lions run that brought a 17 point deficit down to just 1 early in the fourth quarter.  6’1″ guard Simon Petrov led all scorers 27 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists while fellow 6’6″ sophomore Nedim Hodzic had 21 points, 15 rebounds.  Lions continue to struggle making shots, going just 6 for 37 from three-point land while getting 17 points from 6’1″ Chevy Brown…  Nipissing scored a key road win, winning at McMaster 74-68, holding the Marauders to just 3 points over a 12 minute stretch to lead by 20 and held on… In afternoon games, Guelph Gryphons scored a 70-63 home win over U of T Varsity Blues as 6’3″ Daniel Dooley led the way with 13 points and Gryphs shot a tidy 9-21 from three, outrebounding Toronto 44-25 including 17 offensive boards.  In an all-OUA West affair, Algoma knocked off Lakehead, still winless in OUA league play, 73-65 as 6’2″ Ian Nash had 20 to lead all scorers.  ON the weekend, OUA East went 7-6 vs. OUA West bringing the overall tally thus far in OUA interlocking games to 31-16 in favor of OUA East.



String of upsets highlight U-Sports Saturday

While three teams remain undefeated, Saturday’s action saw at least three Top 10 teams – #4 Calgary, #5 Dalhousie (at home), #6 McGill (at home) – suffer losses which is sure to create some rankings churn later today when the weekly polls start to come out.  We will recap AUS & RSEQ first.

AUS:  After a stretch that included a non-conference home loss to Nipissing, Acadia Axemen are back in the national picture, fresh off a two-game home-and-home sweep over previously #5 Dalhousie Tigers, last night winning at DalPlex 79-72.  Axemen (9-3, 5-0) made 6 of their first 8 threes in the game to jump to a 10 point lead and later, after trailing for the first time in the game, ripped off a 12-2 run that was capped by a three by 6’4″ freshman Eli Kraushar and Acadia was never seriously threatened thereafter.  Axemen shot 12-23 from downtown overall and held Tigers (12-3, 4-2), who came into the two-game set averaging almost 50% from distance, to just 4-18 threes.  6’6″ Alex Carson finished with 30 for Dalhousie but 6’6″ Sven Stammberger was held to just 5 points on 2-9 shooting.  6’3″ Ben Miller, 6’10” Erik Nissen and 6’0″ Nick DePalma combined to go 10-17 from three as Nissen led the way with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists while Miller added 18.  Once again 6’5″ Thomas Johnston was instrumental off the bench for Acadia with 6 points and 3 assists in 24 minutes… Also noteworthy last night was another dramatic comeback performance by UNB Varsity Reds winning 93-92 in OT at Saint Mary’s for an unlikely sweep – V-Reds (12-2, 6-0) trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter of both games before staging spectacular comebacks led by 6’0″ Javon Masters and, last night in regulation, 6’3″ Jesse Kendall who made two buckets in the final minute to send the game to OT.  Reds trailed by 15 at 77-62 with under 8 minutes to play when UNB took advantage of 4 straight Huskies turnovers to peel off a 13-0 run that included back-to-back threes by Masters and freshman Ibrahima Doumbouya, setting up Kendall’s heroics.  In the OT, UNB locked down defensively taking the lead for good with a pair of Masters free throws with 3 1/2 minutes left.  Masters, who is now the all-time leading scorer in AUS history, finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists while Doumbouya came off the bench for a season-high 19 points and 8 rebounds.  Saint Mary’s (8-5, 4-2) had 4 players in double figures led by 6’6″ freshman Nikita Kasongo with 23 points but frettered away a late, big lead for the second consecutive night… In other action, ST. FX won their first game of the AUS regular season with a tough 103-96 win at Memorial in St. John’s as both teams shot 55% or better from the floor with 6’3″ Julius Antoine leading the way with 27 points and 6 assists while 6’2″ Daniel Gordon led all scorers with 30 for the Seahawks – the teams meet again today.  IN Sydney, the Capers exploded to a 68-20 lead by early in the third quarter, hammering UPEI Panthers 107-54 in the first of two this weekend in Cape Breton.  Capers shot a season-high 46% from three and got 29 points from 6’3″ Ozzy Omar including 4-6 from downtown.  CBU turned it over only 8 times all night and created 20 Panthers turnovers for arguably the most impressive win in the David Petroziello coaching era.

Concordia (7-7, 2-1) 70, #6 McGill (7-3, 2-1) 58… Stingers locked down defensively and took advantage of a sloppy Redmen side that had 23 turnovers and shot just 5-21 from distance in a solid road win in front of a loud crowd on Pots-and-Pans night at McGill.  Stingers pulled away in the second as 6’1″ Henderson Charles had 8 of his 13 points after halftime and 6’4″ Ken Beaulieu also added 13 points and 8 rebounds, shaking off a bad start that had included 4 first-quarter turnovers.  6’2″ Dele Ogundokun had 17 points and 9 rebounds to lead McGill which got just 11 points on 0-7 shooting from 3 and 5 turnovers from fifth-year wing Jenning Leung.

Saturday Action

It is another in the continuing volleyball tournament weekends not to mention the Battle of L.A. tonight so today’s reports will be sparse.  Still, there are notable games this afternoon and early evening that are catching our eye including:  U of T Varsity Blues at Guelph at 3 PM; Lakehead at Algoma for the second of two at 4 PM and then the second engagement between UNB and Saint Mary’s after 6’0″ Javon Masters “masterful” second-half performance last night.  Concordia Stingers and McGill resume their Montreal rivalry at Love Competition Hall in a 6 PM ET start.

Tonight’s feature games include #7 Laurentian at #3 Brock in a battle of undefeated teams.  Brock exploded to leads of 17-0 and 36-2 in a thoroughly-dominating victory over Nipissing Lakers last night and do not appear ready for any kind of let down however Voyageurs are deep, explosive and have 6’2″ Kadre Gray and 6’6″ Nelson Yengue up front.  The game of the night in the OUA.

In another key AUS matchup, Acadia visits #5 Dalhousie Tigers after Axemen’s upset win at home 70-67 on Wednesday when, after a quick start, Dal did not shoot the ball well and had their 9-game winning streak broken.

Lethbridge and Calgary remained undefeated in Canada West regular season play with road wins at Thompson Rivers and Brandon last night while Manitoba was upset at Mount Royal in double OT.  Victoria defeated Saskatchewan on the island.  Every team save for Alberta gets set to play the second of two this evening.

Ekiyor, Ravens dominate glass in exciting win over Windsor

#1 Carleton (12-0, 6-0) 97, Windsor (2-4, 2-3) 83… In a fast-paced, entertaining affair, the Ravens dominated the glass at both ends, especially on their offensive glass with 24 second-chance opportunities in a solid win over the Lancers at the Raven’s Nest.  6’9 3/4″ Eddie Ekiyor fashioned a 25 point/13 rebound double double with 6 “o” boards while 6’0″ Yasiin Joseph had 20 points including 6 threes as Ravens went 12-36 from downtown.  Lancers, who love to push to pace at any opportunity, unfortunately could not meet the Ravens size and athleticism around the rim but stayed in the game on the solid mid-range play of 6’2″ Marcus Jones, who had 19 points, several on tough pull-ups off the dribble in the mid-range areas of the floor.  5’11” Mike Rocca found the going tough inside but used his savvy court awareness to finish with 21 points and 7 rebounds with several of his points late in the game.  Despite playing at high speeds for the entire game, the teams combined for just 18 turnovers in a well-played game contested between two of the very best coaches in the country in Carleton’s Dave Smart and Windsor’s Chris Oliver.  Lancers have been besieged by injuries to two starters 6’7″ Luke Allin (ankle injury/out indefinitely) and 6’3″ Telloy Simon, one of two impact D2 transfers who will now miss the entire season with a torn ACL.  Last season’s fine find 6’2″ Micqueel Martin will also not be available again until next season.  Lancers meet uOttawa Gee-Gees tomorrow night while Carleton gets set for Western Mustangs also tomorrow night in a game that begins at 8:30 PM ET.

In other OUA action this evening, #3 Brock hammered Nipissing 90-57 and #7 Laurentian handled McMaster 89-67 in Hamilton, setting up a showdown of two undefeated teams tomorrow night at the Bob Davis Gym in St. Catharines… Waterloo scored a mild upset at home, defeating Queen’s Gaels 87-75 as 6’6″ sophomore Nedim Hodzic finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds including 8 on the offensive glass as Warriors won the rebounding battle rather decisively.  Queen’s played without underrated 6’5″ forward Harry Range who is out with an ankle injury while Waterloo got a combined 7-14 shooting from downtown from 6’6″ David Ramon Prados and 6’1″ freshman Justin Malnerich.  6’1″ sophomore guard Simon Petrov had 18 points and 7 rebounds bouncing back from an illness while 5’11” Jaz Bains had 22 to lead Queen’s but did not take even one three all night…  Laurier Golden Hawks finished the game on a 9-0 run to pull away late and defeat York Lions 87-75.  6’7″ freshman Ben Stevens was instrumental in the win with career-highs of 15 points and 16 rebounds as Laurier held York to 0-10 shooting in the final 4 minutes and Lions missed their final 11 threes of the game going just 5-36 from three point land on the evening.  Algoma beat Lakehead 73-65 in Sault Ste. Marie in an all-OUA West affair.  On the day/night, OUA East and OUA West split six games.

Masters season-high 37 leads V-Reds to dramatic comeback win

UNB (11-2, 5-0) 83, Saint Mary’s (8-4, 4-1) 72… 6’0″ Javon Masters had 18 of his season-high 37 points in the fourth quarter alone including the go-ahead bucket with just under 4 minutes to play as the V-Reds held Huskies to just 4 points in the final 5 minutes, finishing the game on a 12-0 run to stun SMU in Halifax.  Huskies had led by 18 points three minutes into the third quarter and the route appeared to be on before Masters, 6’5″ Dylan Baker and 6’2″ Chris Spurrell got going from the perimeter.  Masters made all three of his shots from downtown in the fourth, adding 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals in an All-Canadian-type effort on the road when his team looked defeated.  UNB played a very good road game, going a perfect 23-23 from the free throw line and turning it over only 13 times all night.  But the story was Masters, now in his fifth year and rapidly moving up AUS all-time scoring charts – the lefty had 27 points after halftime alone.  Saint Mary’s had built an early lead on the heels of making 6 of their first 7 threes and getting 10 first quarter points from 6’5″ Nikita Kasongo, who finished with 20.  Saint Mary’s shot 18-33 from the floor before halftime to build a 17 point advantage but UNB went 16-29 including a blistering 7 for 13 from three-point land after halftime to claim the unlucky but character-building win.  The teams meet again tomorrow night at 6 PM Atlantic/5 PM Eastern time at Saint Mary’s