Highlights from the weekend

After last season’s classic CIS Final 8 quarter-final in which UBC fell to Ryerson in overtime, Head Coach Kevin Hanson has high expectations for again contending for the Canada West title and a trip to Halifax.  Certainly with 6’9″ Conor Morgan as his centerpiece, UBC has a Canada West Player-of-the-Year candidate – Morgan’s all-round skills were on display this past weekend in a pair of home games against Lethbridge as the high-skilled forward had 32 points and 8 rebounds including 3-4 3’s in Friday’s win and followed up with 21 points and 8 rebounds on Sunday.  More importantly, it appears that Hanson has found a low post complement to Morgan in 6’7″, 250 lbs. Luka Zaharijevic, who had a career-high 24 points and added 8 rebounds on Sunday – the burly center went 14 for 17 from the field in the two games.  In fact Morgan and Zaharijevic combined to shoot a blistering 30 for 38 in the two games.  T-Birds have fortified their backcourt with the transfer of 6’2″ Jauquin Bennett-Boire, who played in 10 league games with Saskatchewan last season, averaging 13.2 ppg including 36% from three.  Bennett-Boire, who scored in double digit in 9 game overall with the Huskies, last played on 9 January 2016 against Calgary – no word on whether he will sit out the entire season or play after that date to sit out the full 365 days as per transfer rule… Much has been said about the depth, quality and mid-season form that typically characterizes the Carleton Ravens.  However this season’s group in as special as any Raven team ever and while there are several top-end talents, 6’4″ Connor Wood, last season’s Final 8 MVP, remains the most consistent.  Wood had a historic weekend at the House-Laughton tournament, shooting a blistering 23 for 36 from the floor including an incredible 18 for 21 from three-point land – that is not a misprint.  Wood made all 8 of his three point attempts in Sunday’s win over Western, finishing with 28 points… Alberta Golden Bears appear to be back on track to be in the mix at the top of Canada West as their forward combination of 6’7″ Mamadou Gueye and 6’7″ Brody Clarke continue to mature.  Clarke is much stronger and more confident around the rim while Gueye is one of the most explosive athletes in the country and a Canada West First team all-star candidate.  With 6’2″ Austin Waddoups running the point artfully, Bears have an under-control lead guard who makes good decisions, especially in transition and can knock down the occasional open jumper.  There is depth, size and athleticism with 6’2″ Dwan Williams and 6’2″ Andre Kelly, a pair of Southern Ontario natives and one of the more accomplished coaches in the CIS in Barnaby Craddock.  Bears came out flat in their first game this past weekend against uOttawa Gee-Gees – most teams will struggle with Ottawa’s tough inside combo of 6’9″ Jean Pierre-Charles and 6’7″ Brody Maracle plus All-Canadian candidate Caleb Agada – however Alberta got much better as the weekend went on, culminating in a dominant second-half effort to pull away from host Queen’s on Saturday night.  Canada West will again be a tough conference at the top… Quietly, Saint Mary’s Huskies have fashioned a 5-0 record with a pair of tournament championships at UNB and St. FX, featuring a rotation that has been together for now 3 years including an able point guard in 5’10” Marquis Clayton, team MVP 6’5″ Brian Rouse, an emerging all-star wing in 6’3″ Kemar Alleyne, high-flying 6’5″ Theon Reefer and 6’2″ freshman Kordeiro James, a Top 5 freshman out of high school in the entire country this season.  Huskies will be even more formidable once they get 6’8″ Osman Barrie back from a foot injury that has sidelined him thus far.  Saint Mary’s face UPEI in the first round of the Capers Fall Classic on Thursday in a tournament being played at Center 2000 in Sydney which is a hockey arena turned basketball venue.


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