A few storylines to follow this week, namely rookie-squad UBC-O finishing with more wins than their UBC cousins in Vancouver, who got shut out on the weekend. Fraser Valley and Trinity Western, both struggling top-tier clubs in the Pacific Division, faced a road trip from hell against Alberta and Saskatchewan, and an unfamiliar face out of Kamloops becomes the nation's scoring leader.
Manitoba 87 @ Winnipeg 70 Not necessarily the marquee game of the week, but Jonar Huertas came off the bench for the Bisons to score 25 in just 26 minutes of play, shooting 9-for-16 in the process. Winnipeg continues to have trouble putting the ball in the basket from the floor, getting outshot 51.5%-30.8%, with only one player, Benny Iko, shooting at more than 50%.
Fraser Valley 95 @ Saskatchewan 104 It took overtime for the Huskies to finally pull away from the Cascades. Jamelle Barrett was back in the lineup, shooting 10-for-18 with a game-high 33 points, while Michael Lieffers dominated inside, collecting 11 defensive boards. This was vintage Saskatchewan, keeping their big threats to the outside and forcing them to shoot a lot from the outside. The problem? Fraser Valley sunk 16 of their 35 shots from beyond the arc, with Sam Freeman leading the way at 5-for-8 (and 29 points to boot).
Victoria 75 @ Calgary 63 Calgary lost the first game of a tough homestand against the ranked BC teams, dominated off the glass 47-27 (earning just 5 offensive rebounds all game) which was enough to propel Victoria to another road win despite some pretty poor shooting. Just 38% of shots went in, but they took 71 shots to the Dinos 48. It was an otherwise quiet night for Ryan MacKinnon, scoring just 15 in 37 minutes, but Victoria somehow managed to get the job done and improve to 7-0.
Trinity Western 77 @ Alberta 87 Daniel Ferguson has been catching fire for the Golden Bears, and he led them in points again Friday with 26, securing a double-digit win for Alberta over the reeling Spartans, who have seen the hardest schedule in the nation so far. Alberta pulled away with an 8-point advantage at halftime and the teams swapped punches in the second half, but Trinity was never able to mount a big run to pull themselves close, despite an impressive nine-rebound, 25-point night from Kyle Coston.
UBC 80 @ Lethbridge 90 A very impressive win by the Pronghorns, dispatching the number four Thunderbirds for their first of [spoiler alert] two losses this weekend. Lethbridge didn't shoot the lights out of the building or control the glass, but they took advantage of the T-Birds limited depth that has been alluded to (and I ignored last week) by outscoring them off the bench 32-12 (earning 11 points from Alex Fletcher).
Regina 76 @ UBC-Okanagan 78 Well, who would have thought that of the two UBC teams, the one to win on Friday would be the team based in Kelowna over Vancouver? Bret MacDonald hit two free throws with 10 seconds left on the clock in the fourth, and Sterling Nostedt missed a three-pointer at the buzzer which would have tied the game (the score was made to look closer thanks to a free thrown on an ensuing loose ball foul) The Heat pick up their first regular season CIS win, thanks to a couple of extra rebounds and a few more trips to the charity stripe (hint: grit!).
Brandon 84 @ Thompson Rivers 91 There was a time when I thought that I could snag Justin King in the MUBL add/drop period, but that may not be the case, as he rocketed off 36 and 35 points this weekend to become the leading scorer in the entire country. Dude is an absolute delight to watch. Akeem Pierre and Chas Kok each got 14 rebounds for the WolfPack, who dominated the Bobcats in that regard. TRU's offense continues to shine.
Fraser Valley 59 @ Alberta 79 You can't really blame the Cascades for this one, a night after going to overtime against Saskatchewan and presumably taking a bus to Edmonton, they just didn't really have their legs and scored just 20 points in the first half. Jordan Baker hit 20 for the Golden Bears. Interestingly, Fraser Valley out-rebounded Alberta 42-27, although earned just six from big-man Jasper Moedt. The loss sends the Cascades to 5-3 into the break which is pretty good considering their tough schedule (and contributes to their No. 7 nationwide RPI ranking).
Victoria 90 @ Lethbridge 59 Perhaps the 'Horns partied a little too hard after stunning UBC, because they came out pretty flat against the Vikes. MacKinnon and Mike Berg caught fire for the Vikes, hitting 13 of their combined 21 shots, while Berg's seven rebounds (five defensive) was the most among starters. Lethrbridge's offense takes a tumble, now just 11th going into the winter break.
UBC 85 @ Calgary 92 Well, that ain't good. Or as Rob wrote in the top 10 post: "That didn't go well" as the Thunderbirds get swept on their two-game Southern Alberta road trip. Tyler Fidler had 25 for the Dinos while Nathan Yu was held to just 8 points, just 2-for-7 from the field in what has to be a season low for shots taken.
Trinity Western 73 @ Saskatchewan 98 The Spartans had to do the Edmonton-to-Saskatoon bus trip after their game in Alberta and obviously didn't stop to chat with Fraser Valley to discuss how to keep the game close against the Huskies. Barrett hit a game-high 23 points, Peter Lomuro had 20, and, behind Trinity's 22 turnovers, Saskatchewan didn't really have a problem dispatching the tired Spartans, hitting the break at just 2-6.
Brandon 81 @ UBC-Okanagan 68 Brandon accomplishes what Regina couldn't, which is pick up a victory over the lone Canada West Pacific squad outside the top 20 in national RPI. Ali Mounir scored 21 for the Bobcats in 23 minutes, while the Heat appeared to have trouble hitting shots. Yassine Ghomari had a game-high 26 points for the home team. Unfortunately for him, he also missed 17 shots from the field (7-for-24), indicative of UBC-O's struggles so far as they hit the break at just 1-5.
Regina 100 @ Thompson Rivers 110 It does feel nice to have a WolfPack team that can shoot the ball, as the WolfPack head into the break with the second best offense in the conference behind just UBC. Regina and TRU both shot pretty well, especially in the fourth quarter, where they combined for 74 points (a 37-37 quarter split). Paul Gareau had 23 points for the Cougars and eight rebounds in 28 minutes of play, but it wasn't enough for Regina as they get swept in their BC interior road trip.