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The McGill Redmen desire to break a sixteen year curse

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McGill opens the CIS tournament as the fifth seed. The Redmen won the RESQ for the second time in a row after beating the Bishop Gaiters last Sunday by 26 points. They will be playing their first game against a familiar foe in the Victoria Vikes. They faced the Vikes in the consolation final at last year’s tournament and won. The Redmen have challenge ahead of them as they are trying to be the first RESQ team to win the CIS champship since the Bishop Gaiters did it in 1998, Concordia also won it in 1990. An RESQ team has not won their first game since Concordia did it in 2005.  This is the Redmen’s 7th appearance in the tournament.

In many people minds, The RESQ is the weak conference in the CIS as they do not play as many games and have only five teams. The other conferences in the CIS have eight teams which allows for more competition between all the teams and not easy path to be named champion of their conference.

The Redmen were not talked about winning the RESQ champship again at the beginning of the season. The reasoning was because they had ten freshmen on the squad which was the most among the other universities in the conference. The Redmen season started with two losses to NCAA schools Sacred Heart and Syracuse. The Syracuse game they lost by 40 points. The two losses did provide one thing for the Redmen which was a starting lineup that featured three freshmen, François Bourque, Dele Ogundokun and Michael Peterkin. Before conference play started in the RESQ, the Redmen played Ottawa (1 Seed in final 8) and Alberta (3 seed in final 8).  The Redmen lost both games however they did force OT with the Gee-Gees. In that game vs.Ottawa, Francois Bourque had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the lost.  In their lost to the Golden Bears, François Bourque was also the best player on the court except this time he only had 17 points with five rebounds.  The Redmen in conference play were deadly as they rolled to 14-2 record however they did have some hiccups as they has lost back to back to Concordia and Laval. In the Laval game, they committed 21 turnovers and also bad shooting percentages. They had a FG% of 39.4%, 3FG% of 17.4 and FT of 57.1.  The Concordia lost was difference as they blew the lead in the fourth quarter and had bad shooting FG% in the fourth quarter (30%).

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The Redmen have won 11 straight games. They hope to change that to that 14 as they can win their quarter finals matchup and then semi-finals and final which would mean they are CIS champions.  The Redmen path will be hard one as they will have to play the number one seed, Ottawa Gee-Gees in the Semi-Finals if they beat UVic on Friday. If the Redmen pull the upset over the Gee-Gees. In the finals they will have to play the likes of the Carlton Ravens who will be looking for their tenth title and third in a row or Alberta Golden Bears again.

I believe the Redmen have a chance to win their quarter-finals matchup on Friday. I believe in order for them to beat the Gee-Gees, Ravens or Golden Bears they will have to have great games from freshmen phenomenon duo of Francois Bourque and Dele Ogundokun and RESQ MVP, Vincent Dufort. Bourque who averaged 10 PPG and 7.8rebs PPG while Ogundokun averaged 10PPG and 2.5 steals PPG. Bourque finished second in the RESQ rebounding and was named to the RESQ all rookie team. Ogundokun lead the RESQ steals and 3FG% for his efforts, he was named RESQ rookie of the year and was named to CIS all rookie team.  The Redmen’s best player has been third year man, Vincent Dufort who was named second time All Canadian next to be named RESQ MVP after averaging 13 PPG and 6.7RBS PPG. Their success in this year tournament will depend on how on amount of Turnovers they committed and how many rebounds they can collected. My predication is that Redmen do became the first RESQ team to win their first game since 2005, but will lose to the Gee-Gees in the Semi-finals.

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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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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

Calgary Dinos senior guard Thomas Cooper had himself and impressive CIS/Usports career to say the least. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native, a 6-5, 200 lbs guard earned himself two first team All-Canadian awards while leading Dinos back to the championship game for the first time since 1966.

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No. 1 Carleton Ravens 81-40 lock-up rivals No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees

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Eddie Ekiyor Carleton Ravens Vs.Ottawa Gee Gees USports Basketball
Photo - Valerie Wutti

Ottawa, ON – The twelve-time defending CIS/USports National Basketball Champions and No.1 Carleton Ravens went into Monpetit Hall and completely dominated the No. 2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, locking up their Bytown rivals with a blistering 81-40 win.

The Ravens, the top defensive unit in the country, allowing an incredible low of only 60 points to opponents, dominated every aspect of the much anticipated game holding Ottawa to four points in the first-quarter and thirteen in the second for a grand total of seventeen first-half points and 35-17 half-time lead.

The first-quarter ended with Ravens leading 11-4 as both teams slugged it out in front of a jam packed standing room only Monpetit Hall which hasn’t seen the Gee-Gees get dismantled like this on their home floor in 32-game OUA conference games – snapping home winning streak which dated back to 2012.

Fifth-year senior Guard Connor Wood caught fire in the second-quarter after a cold start scoring all but 14 of the teams 24 points in the quarter and finished with 16 in the half and game-high 19 points. Starting point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane added 10 points, six rebounds in just 19 minutes.

The Gee-Gees were limited to 6-of-32 (18.8%) shooting, 3-of-17 from the outside in the opening 20 minutes and managed to only connect on 12-56 (21.4%) of their field goal attempts for the entire game and only 6-of-26 from the outside.

Carleton shot 50% in the second-half and finished 31-68 from the floor and 13-of-28 from downtown while turning the ball over 9 times compared to the Gee-Gees 18.

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The 40 points allowed by the Ravens is their lowest against the Gee-Gees since a 74-34 smack-down in January 18th, 2012 at the Sixth Annual Capital Hoops Classic.

Carleton Ravens 6’10” freshman Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) and senior forward Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) finished one point shy of double-doubles with 9 points and 8 rebounds respectively, and shutdown the Gee-Gees dynamic duo of Caleb Agada (12 points, 4 rebounds) and former Ravens Jean Emmanuel Pierre (7 points, 6 rebounds). Gee-Gees Guard Brandon Robinson had a team-high 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-4 triples.

Carleton’s record  stays unblemished at a perfect 10-0, 16-0 against Canadian competition and 22-2 overall with the only losses coming from two NCAA opponents on the road in Rhode Island – Providence Friars 87-69 and in Philadelphia against LaSalle Explorers 79-73.

Both teams will meet again in just over two weeks (Feb 3rd) at the 2017 Capital Hoops Classic at the ScotiaBank Centre.

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