AUS Playoff Discussion: Panthers still alive but need wins

Unlike most AUS seasons where parity existed virtually every past season one through seven or eight and the playoff dramatics went into the final weekend of the regular season, 2016-17 race to determine the six teams that will participate in the always-dramatic AUS tournament is comparatively simple.  Still, parity exists at the top of the standings where at least five teams still have a legitimate shot at the two first-round byes on Friday night of AUS Tournament Weekend.

With winless Cape Breton mathematically eliminated from the tournament this past weekend, the sixth and final spot appears to be a race between Acadia (6-7) and UPEI (4-9) with the Panthers 8 points in arrears heading into weekend action.  With just three home games remaining including two this weekend against UNB (9-5), Panthers basically need a sweep of the pair of two-point games, after which 4 of their remaining 5 happen on the road.

Axemen get two, two-point games at home against the winless Capers (Friday night and Saturday afternoon) and with a sweep will drop their “magic number” to just 6 points regardless of what Panthers do at home.  UPEI has just 10 points thus far and only 18 points remaining on the table; if Panthers win out, they finish with 28 points so Acadia needs just 10 points (of a possible 20) in their remaining 7 games – note that Acadia owns the tie-breaker having swept UPEI in a pair of 4 point games.  Panthers, who must travel to Memorial for two, at Dalhousie (4 pointer), at X and host Cape Breton in a four-pointer clearly have their work cut out for them and could be as good as toast as early as this weekend – not mathematically eliminated but on the verge.

Assuming Acadia keeps winning (Axemen and Panthers do not meet again this season), another fairly remote possibility exists for UPEI as St. FX has 22 points.  If UPEI wins out, they max out at 28 points – note that Panthers currently hold the tie-breaker (winning 2 of 3 games) and X-Men and Panthers meet on the final night of the season in Antigonish in what *may* be the battle for sixth.  Mark the probability of this happening, however, as remote.

At the top of the standings, UNB and Saint Mary’s currently lead with 28 points while Dal and MUN follow with 24 and X, idle this past weekend, has 22.  Plenty of jockeying remains with some clarity to likely be achieved this weekend as Memorial has a pair of four point games at Dalhousie and X with the single game at Saint Mary’s.

Given remaining games and points available, expect Dalhousie and UNB to capture the top two seeds.

AUS Standings as of tonight

UNB  9-5, 28 points, 14 points remaining

Saint Mary’s 10-5, 28 points, 12 points remaining

Dalhousie 10-4, 24 points, 20 points remaining

Memorial 9-5, 24 points, 20 points remaining

St. FX 7-6, 22 points, 20 points remaining

Acadia 6-7, 18 points, 20 points remaining


UPEI 4-9, 10 points, 18 points remaining

Cape Breton 0-14, 0 points, 16 points remaining

Advertisements USport Top 10 as of 30th January 2017

#1/LW #1 Carleton (20-0, 14-0, Last 10: 10-0, Streak:  Won 20)…  Two dominant efforts at Windsor and Western this past weekend as 6’10” Eddie Ekiyor continues to improve at both ends.  6’4″ Connor Wood is a Moser Award candidate.  Ravens get set for Capital Hoops Classic this coming Friday night against Ottawa Gee-Gees.  Odds on favorite to finish first in OUA RPI and be in a position to host the Wilson Cup Final 4 during the first weekend in March.

#2 UBC/LW #2 (21-1, 15-1, Last 10: 9-1, Streak:  Won 7)… T-Birds had another pair of dominant efforts against Brandon this weekend.  Expect UBC to roll through their final 4 games.  However, given the imbalanced Canada West schedule (and thanks to Martin Timmerman’s RPI tool) and UBC’s relatively weaker overall slate, there are virtually no remaining scenarios that would have the Thunderbirds finish first in Canada West RPI.  Thus, despite what is likely to be a one-loss season, UBC will, assuming a first-round playoff victory, most likely play the Canada West Final 4 on the road away from War Memorial Gym.

#3 Ottawa/LW #3 (22-2, 13-1, Last 10: 9-1, Streak:  Won 4)… Coach James Derouin altered his starting lineup for this weekend’s games, inserting 6’4″ Brandon Robinson and bringing 6’7″ Brody Maracle off the bench in an effort to go a bit smaller and faster defensively.  Gee-Gees got off to a great start defensively at Western as a result and hope this tweak is helpful in time for Friday’s Capital Hoops Classic.

#4 Calgary/LW #5 (17-4, 12-4, Last 10: 7-3, Streak:  Lost 1)… Positions 4 through 7 were difficult to seed, especially after Dinos lost their first road game of the season on Saturday, blowing a 20 point lead at Regina.  Dinos could get tested in Kamloops this weekend against Thompson Rivers, although WolfPack, with an already relatively thin rotation, will be without minutes-eating point guard Jeff Tubbs.  Calgary has a very real opportunity for #1 seed in Canada West RPI.

#5 Brock/LW #7 (15-5, 10-4, Last 10:  6-4, Streak:  Won 5)… Badgers move up two spots after their impressive win at the Meridian Center over then-#4 Ryerson – notably Brock’s second victory of the season over the Rams – and the main reason why we are ranking Badgers ahead of Rye.  Badgers are hitting their stride and have now won 5 in a row including their dramatic comeback at Lakehead which started this roll.  Brock has three consecutive home games coming up against Waterloo, Laurier and Algoma and appeared poised to finish in the top 4 of OUA RPI.

#6 Ryerson/LW #4 (15-3, 13-1, Last 10:  9-1, Streak:  Lost 1)… A drop of two spots is frankly harsh here; still, Rams inside game was exposed on Friday night against Brock which soundly won the battle on the glass, held Rye’s transition game in check and watched normally strong shooting Ryerson shoot just 7 for 37 from beyond the arc.  Rams have 3 games against division rivals before a two-game set in the Nation’s Capital against Carleton and Ottawa that will likley determine final OUA RPI ranking.

#7 Alberta/LW #6 (17-7, 12-4, Last 10:  6-4, Streak:  Won 1)… Golden Bears have hung in very well despite having by far the toughest schedule of any contender in Canada West which, despite 4 league losses, still keeps Alberta in the hunt to finish atop the Canada West RPI rankings.  Bears will need to win at least one at Saskatchewan this weekend and then likely sweep Lethbridge at home next weekend to do so.  Still, Alberta is virtually assured of Top 4 seeding and a first-round bye.

#8 McGill/LW #8 (13-5, 7-3, Last 10: 7-3, Streak:  Won 1)... Idle this past weekend, Redmen can clinch a RSEQ playoff spot this weekend with a sweep over Bishop’s.  6’1″ point guard Kendrick Jolin is back from a strained calf injury while 6’8″ Noah Daoust is still questionable after an elbow injury.  McGill remains inconsistent offensively however has defended as well as anytime all season over the past 2-3 weeks.

#9 Saskatchewan/LW #9 (15-6, 11-5, Last 10: 7-3, Streak:  Won 3)… Huskies continue to show they are probably the improved team in the nation since the Holidays with two wins over a talented Mount Royal team that pushed them in game two.  Saskatchewan also has a chance to host the Canada West Final 4 based on RPI and with a pair of home wins this weekend against Alberta would move closer to realizing that, something which seemed impossible before Christmas.

#10 Saint Mary’s/LW #10 (18-7, 10-5, Last 10:  7-3, Streak:  Won 5)… AUS Huskies continue to fly under most observer’s radar but this is a veteran group with a solid point guard in 5’9″ Marquis Clayton and explosive 6’6″ Theon Reefer among others.  Two important road wins at UNB and UPEI have coach Jonah Taussig’s team thinking first-round bye in the AUS tournament.  As previously mentioned, SMU is 3-1 vs. Halifax rival Dal Tigers this season.  SMU will go as far as their defense and rebounding takes them, elements that have been adequate in many portions of the AUS season.



RSEQ: Citadins, Stingers sweep weekend setps

UQAM (12-11, 7-5) 70, Laval (6-14, 4-6) 65… 6’2″ lefty Greishe Clerjuste made the go-ahead bucket with just over a minute to play and the Citadins, with only 10 players dressed, came up with their 4th consecutive victory, last night at home over Rouge et Or.  The scrappy Citadins had 21 offensive rebounds in the game and were led by Clerjuste with 23 points and 5 rebounds who has recently come out of a bit of a mid-season slump.  6’5″ Ibrahima Sylla continues to come on as a key rotation player for UQAM with a 15-point, 14-rebound double double.  Laval got 18 points from 5th year 5’11” point guard Karl Demers- Belanger but he was the only Rouge et Or in double figures as Laval shot just 31% as a team including just 4-21 from downtown (21%) and just 54% from the stripe.  Citadins coach Nate Philippe was proud of his team playing with just 10 healthy players who have “stepped up and growing tremendously… our backs were against the wall after 2 tough games vs. McGill and our guys responded…playing together and doing what we practice as a team every single game”.  UQAM now enters their bye week while Laval, losers of their last 5 in a row, meets Concordia next weekend in a home-and-home set.

Concordia (12-8, 6-4) 75, Bishop’s (5-13, 2-8) 69… Stingers took the lead for good midway through the third quarter, breaking a 37-37 tie with a 13-3 run led again by 6’4″ Ken Beaulieu, who authored a 14-point, 14-rebound double double and Stingers overcame 26 turnovers and a late Gaiters run to sweep the weekend series last night in Lennoxville.  Bishop’s, playing without starting 6’5″ forward David Belanger, lost their 4th in a row and 8th in 10 RSEQ regular season games.  6’5″ Michael Fosu was effective inside for the Stingers with a near triple-double of 9 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists while 5th year point guard Ricardo Monge had 15 to lead the way.  Gaiters, who crept to within three in the final minute of play, got 19 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists from 6’5″ sophomore Abdul Kamane, including a basket with 30 seconds that made it a one possession game.  But Stingers knocked down a pair of free throws and then Fosu blocked Kamane, essentially sealing the game.

RSEQ Standings

McGill 7-3

Concordia 6-4

UQAM 7-5

Laval 4-6

Bishop’s 2-8

Next Games:

Thursday: Bishop’s at McGill; Laval at Concordia

Saturday:  McGill at Bishop’s; Concordia at Laval

OUA: Nipissing keeps winning on road beating York

Nipissing 65, York 63… 6’8″ third-year center Marvin Ngonadi calmly knocked down a pair of clutch free throws after a controversial foul call with 15 seconds remaining which was the difference in another important road win for what appears to be the playoff bound Nipissing Lakers.  After taking an entry pass on the right block, Ngonadi turned and appeared to have his shot blocked by York’s 6’9″ George Ivens – Ivens appeared to definitely get the ball first at a minimum – however Lakers got the call, much to the dismay of the partisan crowd and York bench.  The game went back and forth after York built an early double digit lead and Lakers got back in it by halftime.  York’s 6’5″ Nidun Chandrakumar had a look at a game winner late but could not make it drop – Chandrakumar continues to show his under-appreciated all-round game as the long wing had 9 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists while 6’5″ Jayden Frederick led all scorers with 22 points on 10-27 shooting adding 8 rebounds.  Ottawa native 6’1″ Ismael Kama led a balanced Lakers attack with 15 points as Nipissing played without 6’8″ center Justin Shaver.

#1 Carleton 82, Western 60… 6’10” freshman Eddie Ekiyor had a career-high 21 points and added 11 rebounds as the Ravens held the host Mustangs to just 32 points after 3 quarters including a 7 minute scoreless stretch as Ravens remained undefeated.  6’4″ Connor Wood battled foul trouble all night but finished with 14 points on 4-8 threes in just 14 minutes.

#3 Ottawa 78, Windsor 64… Gee-Gees pulled away late in the third with a 18-4 run led by their pair of bigs 6’9″ Jean Pierre-Charles (24 points, 16 rebounds) and 6’7″ Brody Maracle (14 points off the bench including three baskets in the run) in winning at Windsor.  Ottawa dominated the glass 55-36 and also got their usual all-round game from 6’3″ Caleb Agada who attacked in transition and off the dribble (22 points, 11 rebounds).  Lancers hurt themselves shooting just 10 for 23 from the foul line and 8 of 30 from three point land.  Gee-Gees hope to redeem themselves this coming Friday night at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Center in their Capital Hoops Classic rematch with Carleton.

Laurentian 85, Queen’s 64… Voyageurs dominated early, shooting 50% overall winning comfortably in Kingston as Gaels shot just 3 for 17 from downtown.  6’2″ freshman Kadre Gray had 22 points but had 9 turnovers while steady 6’2″ guard David Aromolaran added 21.  Sukh Singh led Queen’s with 21.

#7 Brock 89, Guelph 62... 6’7″ Dani Elgadi made sure the Badgers did not have a let-down after Friday’s emotionally-thrilling win at the Meridian Center, finishing with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists while shooting a tidy 9-14 from the floor as Brock dominated the glass in an easy win at Guelph.  Badgers held Guelph to just 33% shooting and had 11 different players hit the scoresheet including 6’7″ Cassidy Ryan who had 19 points on 8-11 in just 18 minutes.

AUS: Huskies sweep 8 point road swing with solid win at UPEI

#10 Saint Mary’s (18-7, 10-5) 105, UPEI (6-13, 4-9) 98… Huskies pushed into a tie for first place in the AUS with a second consecutive convincing road win, tonight in Charlottetown as 5’9″ Marquis Clayton had 26 points, offsetting a 38 point effort from UPEI’s 6’2″ guard Tyler Scott.  Huskies led for virtually the entire game, establishing a double digit lead early in the second quarter and took a 20 point lead into the final 4 minutes of play before Scott and 6’1″ Lorenzo Parker led a final Panthers rally to get it to 7 with 1:13 remaining.  However, Saint Mary’s shot 17 for 22 from the free throw line in the final two minutes alone – including 10 for their last 10 – as UPEI fouled often to stop the clock to ice it as Clayton went 8 for 8 in the final 40 seconds.  Huskies got an encouraging effort from 6’2″ freshman Kordeiro James, who knocked down 3 of 4 threes in the game off the bench, part of a 10 for 22 night for Saint Mary’s as a team.  Panthers have simply not defended at a playoff level for most of the season and as a result are now 8 points behind Acadia with just 7 games remaining in the battle for the sixth and final spot at the AUS tournament.  UPEI finishes the season with 4 games on the road including two at first-place contending Memorial and home games against UNB.

UNB (10-8, 9-5) 84, Acadia (8-14, 6-7) 74… In a game that stayed within 4 points until very late, Varsity Reds took the lead for good late in the third quarter and, playing without 6’0″ Javon Masters, got excellent production from their deep bench in a home win over the Axemen.  Acadia did get the game back to within 1 at 72-71 with 3 minutes remaining however 6’2″ reserve wing Kaleefah Henry book-ended a pair of threes during a 10-1 run that allowed the Reds to lead by 10 with 30 seconds remaining and move into a tie with Saint Mary’s atop the AUS standings.  6’5″ Jamaal Potopsingh had 16 points and 9 rebounds including the go ahead three while 6’3″ Jesse Kendall took over some of the decision making given Masters absence with 14 points and 7 assists in 35 minutes.  Axemen, one of the more explosive three-point shooting teams in the nation, shot just 4 for 16 from downtown and sit sixth in the AUS standings.  Masters turned an ankle during last night’s loss to Saint Mary’s and Reds are hopeful to have their all-time leading scorer back in time for their pair of two point games next Friday and Saturday in Charlottetown against UPEI Panthers.

Dalhousie (19-7, 10-4) 73, Cape Breton (0-21, 0-14) 70… Capers had a chance for their first win as 6’0″ Jack Macauley had a good look at a game-tying three with about 2 seconds remaining but the shot came off and Tigers survived behind 32 points and 9 assists from 6’0″ fifth-year point guard Ritchie Kanza-Mata.  CBU stayed within striking distance all night and got a big defensive play from 6’0″ veteran Seth Amoah to set up the final possession.  6’6″ Sven Stammberger, scoreless in the first 3 quarters, had three key buckets down the stretch including a nice draw-and-kick for a right-corner-pocket three from Kanza Mata.  Tonight’s loss officially eliminates the Capers from AUS tournament contention.

Reilly Reid’s 4th quarter heroics save Varsity Blues

Toronto 65, McMaster 57… Varsity Blues got a clutch fourth-quarter effort from 6’2″ Reilly Reid, pulling away from a 45-45 tie early in the quarter to win an important inter-division affair against the reeling Marauders who again played without star 6’4″ forward Rohan Boney who was in sweats on the sidelines.  Reid knocked down a big three but also had two acrobatic finishes that got the crowd and the Blues bench back into the game after McMaster had rallied from a double digit deficit, primarily on the work of 6’7 Connor Gilmore.  Reid, who had baskets on 3 consecutive possessions during the game-deciding run, spun into the lane for a scoop finish and then had a text-book Euro step lay-in that was the back breaker late, pushing the lead back up to 12 late in the fourth.  Blues frustrated Gilmore in the first half but the slick forward got it going after the break finishing with 19 points and 7 boards.  Mac stayed in it in the first half, limiting Toronto run-outs by jamming Varsity defensive rebounders and later Marauders switched to a 2-3 zone but Reid’s offensive skills were on full display including long-range shooting, a nice in-between jumper in the paint and the slick finishes around the rim.  McMaster shot just 5 for 26 from three-point land and were outrebounded 51-36 as Marauders dropped to 7-8 on the OUA regular season.

Laurier 82, Waterloo 75… Golden Hawks avenged an earlier home loss to their home town rivals as 5’10” Tevean Kokko had all 12 of his points after halftime including several big shots down the stretch and 6’7″ fifth-year forward Matt Chessson had what is believed to be a career-high 31 points.  Warriors jumped out strong at home, racing to a 16-pont first half advantage however Kokko began doling out dimes to Chesson and 6’0 Chuder Teny, allowing the Hawks to grab a 3 point halftime lead.  Waterloo jumped out strong on the offensive heroics of 6’6″ fifth-year forward Mike Pereira who had 19 first-half points however the hard-working post was shut down in the second half with only 2 points after halftime.  Still, Warriors, behind another fifth-year vet Jon Ravenhorst, drew to within 1 at 75-74 in the final minute but Kokko and Chesson iced it as the city opponents split their season series.

Canada West: Bisons survive at home

As always the most comprehensive summary of Canada West play is found at Wayne Thomas‘s CanadaWestHoops site, however a couple of highlights from last night in the conference included UNBC pushing Manitoba to the brink in Winnipeg.  Timberwolves led throughout the fourth quarter and by as many as 5 late before a couple of big defensive plays bailed out Coach Kirby Schepp‘s crew, which has aspirations for hosting a first-round playoff series at a minimum.  With 6’1″ guard Marcus Mackay on fire – he shot 8 for 10 from downtown alone and finished with 28 points, an upset brewed but 6’3″ Justus Allyne created a late turnover and later 6’0″ A.J. Basi made a huge defensive play with under a minute to play allowing 6’0″ Illarion Bonhomme to calmly knocked down a pair of free throws.  On the final possession, Mackay had an excellent look at an 18 footer from above the left elbow but could not convert and Bisons held on for their seventh consecutive league win to move to 9-6.  The teams meet again tonight… In Saskatoon, Mount Royal Cougars stayed with the hometown Huskies for about three quarters but Sask’s depth and strength inside was too much as 6’6″ Matt Forbes dominated with 26 points and 12 rebounds.  The burly, active forward is authoring one of the best comeback seasons in the country and Huskies are rapidly moving into championship contention.  Sask also got a career-high 10 points from 6’2″ freshman guard Emmanuel Akintunde… Lethbridge Pronghorns and hopefully the entire Canada West now understands how important 6’1″ Dejon Burdeaux is to their lineup after the Horns survived at home against UBC-O without their all-conference candidate wing who missed last night’s game with an illness.  Horns also announced that 6’3″ Mahmoud Sesay, who joined the team recently, has returned home and is no longer with the team… Wayne’s site also has an initial look at the RPI-based playoff structure in Canada West.  According to some, despite UBC having clearly having the best record in the conference and thus far fashioning the best overall season in the conference, Thunderbirds are far from a sure thing to finish first in the RPI standings.  We hope to find some time to go through the scenarios ourselves.

AUS: Axemen strengthen hold on tournament spot

Acadia (8-13, 6-6) 84, UPEI (6-12, 4-8) 68… Axemen jumped to an early double digit lead and then led by as many as 27 in a dominant win over the Panthers in Charlottetown, further crimping UPEI’s playoff aspirations.  Acadia now is 8 points clear of the 7th place Panthers.  6’2″ Trevon Grant led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds as Acadia knocked down 13 of 30 threes overall.  6’2″ Tyler Scott led the Panthers with 13 points on 6-19 shooting, adding 1 rebound and 3 assists.  UPEI welcomes Saint Mary’s for another 4 point game this evening while Acadia travels to UNB.

#10 Saint Mary’s (17-7, 9-5) 93, UNB (9-8, 8-5) 80… 5’9″ Marquis Clayton had 31 points – his second 30+ game of the season – and 6’5″ Theon Reefer added 19 points and 10 boards as Huskies took the lead for good midway through the second quarter in an impact road win at UNB.  Huskies forced 19 Varsity Reds turnovers and held 6’0″ Javon Masters to just 10 points in 25 minutes to move into a three-way tie for first place in the AUS with 24 points.  Reds got as close as 6 with 3:43 remaining however Clayton and Reefer took over late to seal it.

Dalhousie (18-7, 9-4) 85, Cape Breton (0-20, 0-13) 67… 6’6″ Sven Stammberger led 4 Tigers in double figures with 20 points as Dal raced to an early double digit lead and coasted in the first of two weekend games in Sydney.