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2011 CIS Final 8: Kyle Coston rallies #5 TWU Spartans past #1 UBC Thunderbirds to reach First-Ever CIS Basketball National Final

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In their first-ever meeting at the CIS Final 8 championships TWU Spartans Guard/Forward Kyle Coston drained a huge 3-pointer with the game on the line to send the #5 seed Trinity Western Spartans to their first ever national basketball final after a hard fought 74-72 victory against conference rivals UBC Thunderbirds.

Coston who had chance to ice the game with 39 seconds missed two key free-throws and the Spartans maintained a 71-70. Kamar Burke tapped in a missed shot with 19 seconds to put the Thunderbirds up 72-71 before Coston redemeed himself with his right side 3-pointer heroics. Alex Murphy missed a game winning three-pointer completing 16 point come from behind and well deserved victory.

The Trinity Western Spartans came out focused and determined to knock of the #1 seed, UBC Thunderbirds. Behind Calvin Westbrook early 6 points the Spartans lead 10-9 lead before Alex Murphy and Nathan Yu ripped off a typical 11-2 UBC run to close out the quarter and take a 22-12 lead.

All-Canadian Jacob Doerksen came out slow and scored his first points in the second quarter to cut the Thunderbirds spread to 22-15. Senior back-court duo of Alex Murphy and Josh Whyte keyed together 9-2 run midway through the quarter and UBC held its largest lead of the game at 31-15 with 5:41 to play.

Calvin Westbrook was the catalyst for the Spartans scoring 10 first-half points. Kyle Coston split a pair of free-throws and Nathan Yu scored on a buzzer beating layup to send the Thunderbirds up 39-30 at Half-time

Trinity Western Spartans came out blazing, opening up the third quarter on a 10-0 run and forcing the Thunderbirds Head Coach Kevin Hanson to call a timeout as the Spartans took a 40-39 lead before Kamar Burke scored UBC’s first two points of the quarter with 4:44 to play. The ladder part of the third-quarter went back and forth and was plagued by plenty of whistles as officiating crew changed the tone of the game. Tomer Jackson converted on a lay-up to end the third quarter as Trinity Western took a 53-51 lead into the final quarter.

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UBC Thunderbirds
J. Whyte 12 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast
A. Murphy 21 Pts, 2 Reb, 3 Ast
K. Burke 13 Pts, 1 Ast
N. Yu 14 Pts, 7 Ast, 1 Blk 2 Stl

Trinity Western Spartans
C. Westbrook 15 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast
J. Doerksen 16 Pts, 5 Reb
K. Coston  23 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast
T. Mara 7 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast

Game Notes
Both teams struggled from behind the arc with TWU shooting 4-20 and the Thunderbirds going 6-20. The Spartans almost gave the away by shooting 64% from the charity stripe.

Up Next
#5 Trinity Western Spartans reach their first-ever CIS Final 8 National Finals and await the winner of the #2 Carleton Ravens and #3 Saskatchewan Huskies

USports

Calgary Dinos Win First-Ever U Sports National Basketball Men’s Championship

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Calgary Dinos Win First Ever National Basketball Mens Championship

For the first time ever the Calgary Dinos can call themselves Canadian U sports Men’s Basketball Champions.

In battle of two teams looking for their first title, the No. 2 seeded Calgary Dinos defeated the No. 5 Ryerson Rams in a thrilling 79-77 National Championship game that came down to the last play. With the Rams trailing 77-74 with 16 seconds remaining First Team All-Canadian Guard Manny Diressa capped off a furious comeback burying a clutch three-point shot to tie the score at 77-77 with nine seconds of the clock.

Calgary Dinos Mambi Diarri Game Winner Usports National Basketball Mens Championship

Calgary Dinos Mambi Diarri Game Winner U Sports National Basketball Mens Championship – Photo: Trevor MacMillan & Mona Ghiz

Coaching in his second title game and sixth Usports/CIS Final 8 Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren opted to call a timeout to calm his troops and his veteran team responded by executing his instructions and play-calling to perfection as All-Star Mambi Diarri came off a double baseline screen and smoothly scored the games’ final two points with 2 seconds remaining.

Diarri, a fourth-year, 6’4′ guard from Montreal, Quebec finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists earning Final 8 all-tournament All-Star honors. Point Guard David Kapinga (Calgary, AB), playing in his second championship game in three years wasn’t to be denied after falling short against the Carleton Ravens in 2016. The 5’11’, 175 lbs guard muscled and carried his team to victory with Most Valuable Player (MVP) 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 10-of-20 shooting performance.

Calgary Dinos David Kapinga Flexing Usports National Basketball Mens Championship

Calgary Dinos David Kapinga Flexing U Sports National Basketball Men’s Championship – Photo Trevor MacMillan & Mona Ghiz

Calgary got off to a hot start as 6’8″, 210-pound German international import Lars Schueter (18 points, 7/15 shooting) scored his team’s first ten points followed by a three-pointer by Kapinga helped push the Dinos lead to nine points at 13-4, forcing a Ryerson timeout. As expected the Rams responded, largely on the play of Jean Victor-Mukama’s (Hamilton/ON) shooting effort, cutting the lead to three points on multiple occasions but Calgary continued to execute their sets and led 39-30 at half-time.

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After a scoreless first-quarter and just six points in the first-half Rams fifth-year senior Manny Diressa took over the game scoring 24 of his game-high 28 points in the second-half. Ryerson closed the deficit within four at 55-51 but another David Kapinga three-pointer game Calgary a 57-51 lead with the last quarter of the season remaining. Determined not to squandered their second consecutive title game the Ryerson Rams ripped off a 8-0 run to open the quarter and grabbed their first lead of the game at 59-57 on a Diressa traditional hoop plus the harm three-point play.

For there the action intensified with both teams exchanging baskets and the lead four times including six ties in the last six minutes. Calgary put the pressure on the Rams with the two key baskets in the last minute for a 76-70 advantage before the late game heroics.

Diressa capped off a stellar three-year career by averaging a tournament best 27 points per game, 5.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and shooting 52.1% from the field and 90.9 from the free-throw line.

The two teams also met in preseason non-conference action back in October 22, 2017 at the Brock Badgers Classic, the Dinos pulled off a tough 87-85 overtime win.

Calgary Dinos 2018 Usports National Basketball Mens Champions

Calgary Dinos 2018 U Sports National Basketball Mens Champions

The win is Calgary’s first in 15 championship appearances dating back to 1966. Having reached the National Semi-Finals on three occasions during Vanhooren era they finally were able to get over the hump in a deserving victory that will forever be remembered in Dinos history.

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Javon Masters: Sky’s Not The Limit

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Javon Masters Skys Not Limit
Photo: UNB Varsity Reds

They’re Biggie’s words, edited for accuracy. Not stolen, exactly, but adapted and adopted and filtered through the prism of another man’s experience. They express the truth as Javon Masters sees it, and at the moment they’re part of his message for the world.

“Stay far from timid,” Biggie said. “Only make moves when your heart’s in it.

“And live the phrase ‘Sky’s the limit. ’ ”

But Masters, the all-time leading scorer in Canadian university basketball, sees it differently, in light of everything that has happened in his five seasons at the University of New Brunswick.

“The sky ain’t the limit,” Masters tells his Twitter followers. “But remember to make moves only when your heart’s in it.”

Put another way: we’re capable of more than we realize. What seems possible only hints at our potential. And there’s an entire universe beyond the sky.

Masters knows this because he’s lived it. He knows it because he’s gone from small-city kid to one of the best players in the history of the Canadian game.

“As human beings, we’re able to do a lot of stuff that not many people think we are able to do,” he said in the hushed, raspy monotone that marks his interviews.

“But once you put your mind to it, anything’s possible.”

***

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Flying High Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Flying High Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

Masters does not remember the basket that started it all, but he’s heard the story so many times he can tell it in vivid detail.

He’s around two years old, living in Kitchener, Ontario, and his father Rooyan, a millwright who grew up playing cricket and soccer, brings home a plastic Fisher Price basketball net.

Masters runs and grabs the ball immediately, takes a shot, and it goes in—his first bucket.

“That’s pretty much how the journey started—me playing basketball here at UNB and just growing up in Kitchener, playing it as well, was that moment.”

Kitchener is a city of 233,000 people about an hour west of Toronto, best known in basketball circles as the hometown of Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.

Masters is three years older than Murray and they rarely played together, but he recognized Murray’s potential at an early age.

“Just coming from Kitchener, it’s really a small city,” said Masters. “So I mean, you’ve got to be able to prove yourself on the big stage, and he was certainly doing that from Grade 9 until he went to university at Kentucky.

“I always knew that he had the potential to do it. He just needed to just keep working and just block out all the noise and whatnot, and just keep focused on what matters.”

Murray played at Grand River Collegiate and Orangeville Prep on his way to a starring role at Kentucky and landing in Denver as the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Masters played at Forest Heights Collegiate, winning a city championship in his fourth season and attracting interest from NCAA schools, but no scholarship offers.

He decided to play in Canada rather than burn two years of eligibility at a junior college in the United States, and settled on UNB in part because it wasn’t known as a basketball school.

“I just wanted to go somewhere that I could develop as a basketball player and help build a program from the ground up,” he said. “And that’s what we’ve done here at UNB.”

Masters was an elite high school player, usually scoring around 18 or 19 points a game, he said. But as he transitioned to UNB he made an effort to get bigger, faster and stronger, and to minimize the weaknesses in his game.

“I had that chip on my shoulder to show everyone exactly who I am,” he said, with a hint of swagger.

“And now everyone knows who I am.”

***

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Tough Inside Basket Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Tough Inside Basket Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

UNB had its eyes on Masters in his senior year of high school, due in part to his remarkable quickness and a highlight tape that showed him diving for loose balls.

But it wasn’t until four games into his freshman season that it was obvious he’d be a star. The turning point was UNB’s home opener against the University of Prince Edward Island, where Masters had 44 points off the bench in a 93-81 win.

“Just being able to play through that … especially putting up that many points in our home opener, really said to me that I could be able to score a lot of baskets,” said Masters.

He became a starter after that, winning the national scoring title with an average of 27.4 points per game, as well as the national rookie of the year award and a second team all-Canadian selection.

Head coach Brent Baker allowed him to be himself on the court, and Masters continued to put up gaudy stats: 25.1 ppg as a sophomore and 28 ppg as a junior, winning the national scoring title both years.

“If you don’t allow your players to have confidence and play with some swagger and play with some toughness, then you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face,” said Baker, who was an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) all-star at St. Francis Xavier in the 1980s.

“As far as me letting him loose and doing what he does, Javon’s a pretty intelligent basketball player. As much as he scores, he doesn’t dominate the ball like you would think.

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“He doesn’t have to pound the you-know-what out of the ball to be a good player. He spaces well without the ball, he gets his teammates involved. He’s not a ball-dominant scorer, and he’s not a volume shooter.

“I mean, he shoots 50 percent [from the field] and he shoots 90 percent from the free throw line. So he’s very, very economical in what he does.”

Baker and Masters have become extremely close.

“We talk about everything, just basketball-wise and life and stuff like that,” said Masters. “It’s really good to have a coach who’s like, super-chill off the floor.

“But when he’s on the floor he’s totally business, because he wants to win.”

More than any other lesson Baker has imparted, this one sticks: “Just be determined. Nothing will ever stop you, really, if you put your mind to it.

“He just has that type of attitude,” said Masters. “He always wants to win.”

***

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Inside Layup Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Inside Layup Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

Along with the gaudy stats came the knowledge Masters could eventually make history.

After his second season, it was obvious an all-time AUS scoring record was within reach. The national record was possible too, but nothing was certain.

Masters moved from shooting guard to point guard in his fourth season, filling a role Matt Daley vacated when he graduated in 2016.

His scoring average dipped to 19.6 ppg for the season, but his assist numbers jumped.

The National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada’s Cape Breton Highlanders also drafted Masters with the eighth pick of its All-Canadian Draft in 2016, giving him the opportunity to go pro.

“You can go play in the NBL,” Baker remembers telling his star player. “If that’s your goal, fine.

“But I think if you come back and you come back for your fifth year, your goal should be: ‘Hey, let’s get the scoring record. Let’s get an AUS championship. And all that’s going to do is further enhance your resume and make it better for you when you do get an agent and do get a contract, that you’ll be better off.’ ”

Masters agreed to come back and immediately started getting buckets.

He grabbed the AUS career scoring record on Nov. 17, 2017, breaking the existing record of 2,069 points set by UPEI Panthers standout Curtis Robinson in 1996.

In the months that followed, it became clear Masters would break the national scoring record, too. It was only a matter of time.

Boris Bakovic, who set the record with 2,282 points over five seasons at Ryerson and the University of Calgary, would be edged out.

“[Masters’] ability to be that consistent over that range of time is—for me, it’s the most astounding thing of the whole shooting match,” said Baker.

“They’re coming with box-and-ones, they’re coming with, ‘How we’re going to shut Javon down,’ and ‘How we’re going to do this and that.’

“And every night, he finds a way.

“Maybe it’s all about ignorance is bliss, and he just blocks it all out and just goes forward and has that drive about him and he goes and does it.

“But for whatever reason, he gets it done, and it’s all due to his drive.”

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Driving Hard To The Basket Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

Javon Masters Skys Not Limit Driving Hard To The Basket Usports All Time Basketball Scoring Leader

The national record fell with a free throw on Jan. 26, 2018, with 46 seconds left in the third quarter of a high-scoring home game against St. Mary’s University.

Masters remembers working through his usual routine: spin the ball, dribble it twice, spin it back, shoot.

“The game didn’t really stop,” he said. “We still had some possession to go, so I didn’t know I’d broken the record until the PA announcer said I did.
“It was pretty chill. I got a standing ovation, but I was still in game mode.”

UNB went on to win 104-96. Masters finished with 39 points, shooting 50 percent from the field and 13-of-14 from the free throw line.

“I’m not really thinking about it,” he said, referring to the record a few days later.

“All the hard work is really paying off for everything I’ve worked on—when I’m in the gym and whatnot, on the pavement back home.

“It means a lot of hard work and stuff like that that’s really helping me get to where I want to be.”

***

The season is winding down, and Masters is focused on winning that AUS championship.

UNB finished second in the conference during the regular season, eight points behind Dalhousie, the three-time defending champions.

Anything is possible, but UNB enters the playoffs as an underdog. If they win it all, the legend of Javon Masters will grow beyond anything he could have predicted five seasons ago.

“Just being able to be on top in my final year would be something,” he said. Anything is possible, but no one is holding their breath.

After the season is over, Masters hopes to go pro, either in Europe or in a North American league like the NBL.

“I’ll sit down after [the] season with my parents and discuss that,” he said.

But his love for the game is still here. He wants to keep doing this as long as he can.

“I mean, why would I stop now, after I’ve put so much hard work and effort in,” he said. “I’ll only stop when my body tells me to stop.”

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Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada

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Alabama Crimson Tide Avery Johnson Return To Canada

The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.

The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).

The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.

Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.

Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the  2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.

Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.

Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.

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