Basketball: Men's Top 10 tracker; T-Birds get better of Dinos

UBC pulls it out in the final minutes vs. Calgary, Cape Breton sweeps at Saint Mary's, Ottawa has the run of the year in its last game before the Capital Hoops Classic and the OUA West leaders get nipped by sub-.500 clubs:
  1. UBC Thunderbirds (12-0 CW Prairie) — Won two tight games on a trip to Alberta, getting by Calgary (79-71) Saturday in a game that had only a two-point spread well into the fourth quarter.

    UBC shot the lights out in the second half in the Calgary, 17-of-30, including six threes. That is an an effective 67% on the No. 5 team in the country's floor, in front of a crowd of more than 1,600. Pretty damn good.

    Lead guard Josh Whyte, with 50 points across two games, was exemplary. Forward Blain Labranche came back to score a game-high 26 vs. the Dinos after scoring just four vs. Lethbridge. Of note is UBC coach Kevin Hanson shortened his bench, with Brent Malish (12 points, eight boards) being the only sub to get double-digit minutes.

    Friday, Whyte carried UBC home in the 88-78 win over Lethbridge with a near triple-double (28 points, seven assists, nine rebounds). Brent Malish (17) and Graham Bath (16) had hot hands.

    Danhue Lawrence (25 and 10 boards) kept the plucky Pronghorns in the hunt on Friday.

  2. Carleton (13-1 OUA-E) — Beat RMC 95-44 on Saturday. Aaron Chapman, who had 23 points and 10 rebounds, now has scored in double-figures in 4-of-6 games since the start of the New Year.

    Carleton handled Queen's 74-58 on Friday, with most of the points coming from Mike Kenny (16), Chapman (13) and Willy Manigat (13).

    Kenny, who canned 5-of-8 threes on Friday, is shooting 48.6% from downtown since the New Year, closer to what he shot last season. He made only 33.3 in November, when he was still working through a foot injury.

  3. St. Francis Xavier (10-0 AUS) — Won 76-66 at Acadia in lone game of week, getting an all-around night from Alberto Rodriguez (15 points, nine boards, three blocks) in what was a one-shot game through the first three quarter.

    Alex Traikov went the full 40 for Acadia (scoring 19 points on 8-of-10).

  4. Cape Breton (10-1 AUS) — The third quarter of the first game vs. Saint Mary's was the Capers' lone bumpy spot of a two-game sweep at The Tower, 87-84 and 102-75. Cape Breton shot an effective 56.3% for the weekend, which is pretty good for a road team.

    Cameron John-Proctor had 24 points, 12 rebounds in the second game, which was well in hand by the fourth quarter, while Paris Carter went for at least 20 in each game (21 and 23). The Capers put the clamps on Saint Mary's fine fifth-year guard Mark McLaughlin, who was 8-for-32 in the two games, forcing-shots territory.

    The Capers came from 12 down Friday, with Jimmy Dorsey going off for 25 points (six three-pointers). Phil Nkrumah had a double-double (14 and 14).

  5. Calgary (11-4 CW Prairie) — Losing at home to UBC, 79-71, no doubt hurts. Foul trouble limited Robbie Sihota to 14 minutes and Calgary was outrebounded on the night (big man Ross Bekkering had 14 points and seven rebounds).

    Calgary was close to an oh-fer this weekend, since it got extended to overtime Friday before beating UVic 91-74. Third-year swingman Tyler Fidler had a good weekend, counting 49 points on better than 50% shooting (16-of-30).

    You know UVic is a good defensive ballclub, since Calgary made only 37% of its shots from inside the three-point line on Friday. Fidler and Robbie Sihota presumably were firing from NBA range on their threes.

  6. Ottawa (12-2 OUA-E) — Took three quarters to figure out a persistent Queen's team on Saturday, winning 81-69 after going on a 19-0 run fuelled mostly by Josh Gibson-Bascombe (28 points, eight rebounds, four steals) and Donnie Gibson, who had eight of his 18 during the final quarter. Mitch Leger had 26 points, 10 rebounds for Queen's, but was contained in the fourth.

    Ottawa rookie Kemeish Edwards, who has been very high-energy of late, made three big second-half baskets for Ottawa (he had 10 points in only six minutes). It was really a three-act game (sluggish first half, see-saw third quarter that saw three ties and nine lead changes, and then an Ottawa-dominated fourth).

    Queen's-Ottawa could be a really good OUA East semi-final, if the Gaels (7-8, a half-game back of Toronto) can finish in third.

    Now, you know how a radio sportscaster running through hockey scores with say a team which won 4-2 or 6-3 "doubled up" its opponent? They got to say that about a basketball game after Ottawa beat RMC 120-60 on Friday.

  7. Lakehead (11-3 OUA-W) — Split at home vs. Guelph (65-61 on Friday, 69-62 overtime loss on Saturday). One common thread again is they had one player score in the 20s (Joseph Jones in the first game, Jamie Searle in the second) but had no one else in double figures.

    Dan McCarthy had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Guelph's win. Two sub-.500 teams in the OUA West beat the division's two ranked teams on Saturday, which is great if you love unpredictability and terrible if you want a firm image of a team.

    It's Lakehead's second split weekend in a row. Two of the losses have come after a close win the night before (the other being vs. Ottawa the night after beating Carleton).

  8. Windsor (10-4 OUA-W) — Lost 80-79 at Brock on Saturday on a three-pointer by the Badgers' Clinton Springer-Williams with eight seconds left; the best the Lancers could counter with was a three attempt by Enrico Di Loreto at the buzzer when they only needed a deuce.

    Neither team led by more than five in the second half. The critical points where it might have got away with the Lancers was giving up an offensive rebound on the possession after Isaac Kuon (game-high 25 points) had put them ahead 76-75 with 1:39 left. Brock, which had to be playing desperate since it's holding on to the last playoff spot, ended up converting that into a go-ahead basket.

    Windsor also led by five in the third quarter, but gave up a 14-5 run to fall behind. The Badgers' Mike Cruickshank scored seven of his 17 over that stretch.

  9. Simon Fraser (11-2 CW Pacific) — Beat Winnipeg (70-60) and Manitoba (79-68) at home, which stands well enough. Kevin Shaw's 18 points in the win over the U of M included some timely third-quarter baskets.

  10. Saint Mary's (8-4 AUS) — Lost 87-84 and 102-75 at home to No. 4 Cape Breton. They probably had one of their best quarters all season on Friday (a 30-11 third). They were outscored by 49 across the other seven, which makes the math easy.

    Joey Haywood (30 points Saturday; 25 Friday but on 10-of-26) and McLaughlin took a lot of shots to get their points vs. Cape Breton. The question is really if Saint Mary's has the depth to take the heat off those two solid scorers.
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  1. The Carleton Queens game started slowly for both teams...very slowly.
    The score was 5-0 Gaels after almost seven minutes!
    Carleton then went on a 13-5 run to end the quarter up 3.
    Obviously both were struggling mightily to get into any kind of rhythm.
    Carleton settled down somewhat in the 2nd quarter outscoring Queen's 21-14 to lead by 10 at the break.
    The Gaels didn't wilt defensively in the second half, although Carleton scored 40 points.
    The Ravens were more in sync offensively but had to work extremely hard to make shots.
    Queen's also picked it up offensively after a rather dismal first 20 minutes, but couldn't close the gap on Carleton.
    The final score showed the Ravens winning by 16 but really the game seemed a lot closer than that.

  2. CBU's Nkrumah did play today at SMU. 12 points in 24 minutes.

  3. Phil Nkrumah definitely played today against SMU, however he spent some time on the bench after getting a Technical.

  4. Ah ... you know I was updating from work and must have missed his name in the boxscore. Pretty hard to miss "Nkrumah."

  5. Lakehead lost friday night at Laurier last weekend, the first game of the weekend. But the other two losses have been on the 2nd night of the weekend. Guelphs record is no indication of how tough of a team they are once they start playing with confidence.

  6. Before Carleton lost to Lakehead, Guelph very nearly handed the Ravens
    what would have been their first loss of the season.
    Guelph lost to Carleton 75-74, prompting some to speculate what was wrong with Carleton.
    As it turned out, nothing was wrong with Carleton.
    Guelph showed Saturday that they are, on occasion, capable of playing with very good teams.
    Having Jay Mott in the lineup makes a huge difference for the Gryphons.

    Interesting reading accounts of the UBC Calgary game from the CHT Hoop Talk blog.
    Two bloggers agreed the officiating was horrible but for entirely different reasons.
    One blogger, apparently a UBC supporter complained

    "The reffing made a huge difference early on as both Josh Whyte and Blain Labranche picked up 2 chintsy fouls each 4 minutes into the game. As soon as UBC went to their bench, UofC jumped on them and amassed a 17 point half time lead. With the anticipation to the game, #1 vs #5, last year's national semi re-match, and huge guys on both teams, I can't believe that the pencil necked reffs would want to be the stars of the game. Seriously, why call touch fouls; this is men's basketball, not junior high girls basketball."

    On the other hand, another blogger, who was a Calgary fan said "The reffing was terrible. Apparently tackling is no longer a foul, nor are elbows to the face."

    Hmmm...interesting difference of opinion.

  7. First time UBC has beaten a quality opponent since October and the first win over a quality opponent on the road this year. I still don't think they are the #1 team in the nation; that is Carleton, regardless of how much blue and gold colours the glasses of their supporters.

  8. Queen's plays a physical game against the more talented teams. They like it to muck it up and throw the other teams skill players off their rhythm.Slow things down. It worked for a while against both Carleton and Ottawa. Eventually both bore down and broke through the tactics. Queen's skill player, Leger, seems to tire in the fourth due to carrying so much of the load for his team.

  9. It is said that ticket sales for the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic are tracking at the same pace they did last year. Another 10,000 person crowd is possible. The weather promises to be a lot better than during last years game , so that bodes well for walk-up sales.
    Rogers Community Cable Channel 22 announced that it will carry the game. SSN will too. Too bad The Score is not carrying it this year, so that more people outside of Ottawa can see this CIS spectacle.

  10. I can't understand how Calgary blew a 17 point half time lead in their own barn.
    Obviously, Hanson made some half time adjustments but honestly, are the
    Dinos so one dimensional they couldn't adjust to what UBC was doing?
    Looks like UBC has a pretty good chance of running the table for the rest of the regular season.

  11. All three of Lakehead's losses have been in the second game of a weekend.

    Well, except that one at Laurier on a Friday night.

  12. After Saturday's games, we have the following OUA West teams and their RPI/SRS:

    Team A: .554, +3.8
    Team B: .541, +3.8

    One of these teams received 224 points in the last top 10 voting; the other team, none at all. I'll leave the names of these teams as an exercise for the reader.

  13. Hmmmm .... Team A is Lakehead (which had 244), Team B is McMaster?

  14. Quebec Conference is heating up. Anyone has any clue why Laval is missing # 8