The first full weekend of U-Sport action continues tonight, Saturday and Sunday with several interesting games across the country, as follows:
AUS: Memorial (2-0) at St. FX (1-1) two games in Antigonish on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon… The two teams looking to get back in to the AUS tournament after missing last season are both off to strong starts as the Sea-Hawks swept UNB last weekend, winning Sunday at home despite having 6’9″ Vasilije Curcic for only 14 minutes after the slick scoring center fell awkwardly and was held out of the rest of the game as a precautionary measure. 6’2″ Kieran Hawksley was among the MUN supporting cast that carried the day as the veteran St. John’s, NFLD native knocked down 4 of 5 3’s in just 16 minutes helping to key the sweep over the Varsity Reds. X continues to get back to their exciting transition-oriented offense, when, combined with their havoc-creating press, conjure up memories of dominant X teams of the past. 6’7″ Kevin Bercy has produced like a 1st team all-conference player – and some could easily submit AUS Player-of-the-Year candidate – since the start of the pre-season and X’s quick veteran guards 6’1″ Akil Charles and 6’0″ Davonte Provo are likely to put pressure on 5’11” Davion Parnsalu and Co. X-Men were about 7 minutes away from sweeping UPEI right in Charlottetown when 6’2″ Tyler Scott took the game over last weekend… Saint Mary’s (3-0) at Dalhousie (2-1) on Saturday night at DalPlex in a rematch of Wednesday’s exciting clash at the Homburg Center. Tigers will need to do a much better job stopping the ball in transition and finding ways to hide some of their young defenders. SMU did a great job attacking off the dribble and, defensively, packing the paint as Tigers hit just 4 of 24 3’s in the game which was not decided until midway through the fourth. 6’4″ Brian Rouse had his best offensive game of the season for Saint Mary’s and 6’2″ Will Fiander, one of the more improved sophomores in the country, filled in admirably for injured 6’3″ wing Kemar Alleyne… UPEI (1-1) at UNB (0-2)… Arguably the two top returning players in the AUS face off as 6’2″ Tyler Scott and 5’11” Javon Masters meet again with UNB licking their wounds after a pair of setbacks at Memorial while Scott, after a slow start, had his best stretch of offensive basketball all season, almost singlehandedly willing Panthers to a comeback vs. X. 6’5″ Mark Matheson also emerged with a stellar fourth quarter. UPEI hopes to establish themselves on the road in what is usually a tough place to win… Acadia (0-2) at Cape Breton (0-2)… Both teams try to shrug off tough starts with Capers still searching for their first victory against a CIS opponent this season.
RSEQ… UQAM (0-0) at Bishop’s (0-1) on Saturday… Most are forecasting Citadins and Gaiters to battle for the final playoff spot in the “Q” and there is likely to be a contrast in styles with UQAM’s athletic wings/guards meeting Bishop’s emerging inside game led by 6’6″ David Belanger and 6’5″ sophomore Nick Harvey… Concordia (1-0) at Laval (0-1) on Sunday.
OUA… Lakehead (1-0) at McMaster (0-0) for games Friday and Saturday night… Marauders look to avenge last season’s upset sweep in Thunder Bay in a battle between two former coaching mates in Lakehead’s Manny Furtado and Mac’s Amos Connolly. Lakehead defeated Algoma at home last weekend in a sluggish victory while Marauders have not played for several weeks. Guard play is likely to play a large role in the outcome as 6’2″ David McCulloch, rapidly emerging into an all-OUA talent, meets 5’11” Henry Tan, a reigning all-star. Expect 6’6″ Bakarius Dinkins and former All-Star 6’4″ Rohan Boney to have some rim-meeting encounters while Lakehead will look to chase dead-eye 6’7″ shooter Connor Gilmore off the three point line. Mac went through the pre-season undefeated and looks to kick off the OUA campaign with a pair of wins in advance of their rivalry game at Brock next Wednesday… Windsor and Western travel north to face Laurentian and Nipissing starting with Lancers in North Bay against the improving Lakers and Mustangs in Sudbury against Laurentian. Recall Mustangs pulled away last weekend for what turned out to be an easy win in the final tune-up for both teams – Voyageurs were without 6’2″ freshman sensation Kadre Gray for that game; he is expected back tonight – and will also have 6’0″ David Aromolaran and 6’3″ Theo Thomas make their first appearances of the season on Friday night… Ryerson (1-0) at Toronto (1-0)… Both teams come off road victories last weekend with Rams win much more comfortable at Laurier than Blues OT win at Waterloo. Status of Rams 6’4″ guard Ammanuel Diressa remains uncertain after the all-conference candidate missed last Saturday’s opener as well as Monday’s 4 point loss at Canisius. Ryerson got a strong effort off the bench from 6’2″ Chase Vassell in that game. The schedule makers were not kind to Toronto as the Blues have a quick turnaround after Friday’s game against Ryerson, travelling down the QEW to St. Catharines to face another Top 10 team Brock Badgers in their home opener… Queen’s Gaels also have a pair of road games to kick off their season at York on Friday and then at Guelph on Saturday. Gryphons had a character-building come-from-behind win at Western last Saturday night, overcoming a 16 point first-half deficit to grab a big road victory… Finally, Algoma (0-1) has a pair of road games at Laurier (0-1) on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
Canada West… As always, expected Wayne Thomas at CanadaWestHoops to provide the most comprehensive coverage however we highlight three games that caught our attention, starting with Winnipeg (2-0) at Saskatchewan (1-1) for a pair of games. Huskies came alive on Saturday at Fraser Valley as 6’6″ Shane Osayande went off for 30 points and 18 rebounds in a career-best effort. Wesmen, despite a less-than-challenging schedule, remain undefeated and garnered some Top 10 votes in the first two weeks of the coaches poll. 6’5″ Baltimore native Sean Tarver, a third-year transfer from Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk, establish career-highs of 29 points and 11 rebounds last weekend in Saturday’s win over UNBC, resulting in a Wesmen weekend sweep… Calgary Dinos (1-1), fresh off a convincing Saturday night win at home over Manitoba, travel to UVic (1-1) where Vikes (1-1) are usually tough to beat. Expect Vikes to be prepared to defend 6’5″ Thomas Cooper but Calgary’s depth is apparent. Finally, Thompson Rivers WolfPack travel to Winnipeg to face the Manitoba Bisons, eager to show the nation that their pre-season Top 10 ranking – questioned after an uneven pre-season but re-kindled after their big win on Friday night at Calgary – was more than warranted. It will take a sweep of TRU to re-establish those thoughts.