Two key games in OUA basketball Friday night. The first, in Windsor, where the Lancers beat the Carleton Ravens 80-68. Twelve points against the Ravens could, I suppose, be called a blowout. Word I'm receiving is that the Lancers were just more athletic. Not taller, maybe not even smarter in a basketball sense. But more athletic; out-leaping the Ravens for rebounds, using their speed and agility to score.
From an e-mail I received:
"Windsor showed their athleticism tonight....out rebounding the taller
Ravens...and beating them to the basket. If if wasn't for the Ravens shooting
the lights out in the first quarter....this game would have been a 20 point
Also, it's been noted to me by those in attendance, and now by Mary Caton in the Windsor Star, that the Lancers may found a top-notch point guard in John Woldu. Lancers sweep Carleton, Caton writes.
"He gets better every day," [Windsor all-Canadian centre Greg] Surmacz said of the wirey Woldu. "Last year
we had a big, strong, physical team but this year we have athleticism
right from the point guard to the centre. We're a tough team to match
The Lancers are on top of their game, according to Bob Duff of the Windsor Star. NOTE TO LANCERS FOOTBALL: See what happens when you have a successful program? The Star sends TWO reporters to the game.
That "other team" from Ottawa, the No. 9 Gee-Gees, had it handed to them by the Western Mustangs, that "other team" in the West Division. Western won 73-53 in London.
Surprisingly, I can't find anything in the London Free Press regarding the game. I'm guessing with the Yates Cup being played Saturday, staffing and space was an issue. So, courtesy of Western SID Andy Watson (one of the best in the OUA) here's a recap of the game from the school's website.
If you don't feel like reading all of it, here's all you need to know: The Big Three got the win for Western.
Brad Smith (Innisfill, Ont.) came off the bench and led Western with 19
points. Colin LaForme (Hamilton, Ont.) had 11 rebounds and six points,
while Keenan Jeppesen (Stoney Creek, Ont.) had 16 points in the win.
So, with those two games in the books, I'm wondering if by the end of the season we see a shift in power, from the East to the West. From Carleton and Ottawa to Windsor and Western. No one can deny a message was certainly sent, whether Windsor and Western meant to send one.
That said, Dave Smart is the best coach in Canada, so I'd fully expect his team to peak at just the right time, as always. But, if Carleton loses tonight in London and Ottawa does the same in Windsor, the shift may have started and it may be tough to stop.
And finally, an impression from the man that really matters, Dave Smart. Here's his quick take on the game. He sent it to me via email:
Windsor is very good. Surmacz is as good as it gets in the country. The score was not indicative of the game — they should have won by much more. They are a much better team than we are at this stage.
There you have it. Smart all but calling Windsor the best team in Canada.
The football team at the University of Western Ontario isn't the only one with OUA championship hopes this season. While the Mustangs football team plays the Ottawa Gee-Gees for the Yates Cup on Saturday, the basketball team will tip off the regular season against Ottawa on Friday night in London.
With a front court of Keenan Jeppesen, Brad Smith and Colin Laforme they already are on paper at least. I can't see many teams in the OUA West matching up with size like that. Jeppesen is 6'7", Smith is 6'7" and Larforme is 6'10".
Western is a little inexperienced at the guard spot, but so is Windsor, which lost Ryan Steer, and Brock, which lost Brad Rootes, and Guelph, which starts second-year player Michael Petrella.
According to director of athletics Liz Hoffman, it's a national search. Although, she gave DeLaval his dues for snapping Toronto's CIS record 49-game losing streak, going 2-6 and not being eliminated from the post-season until the final week of the season.
"(DeLaval) did an excellent job this past season and under difficult
situations coming to us in very short notice," said Hoffman. "The team
performed extremely well and we were competitive."
Yeah, yeah. I know the OUA completely dropped the ball on the basketball season by allowing two measly games to be played last week (Toronto 92, Ryerson 78 and York 106, Laurentian 97) but the season really gets underway Friday night with all 16 teams playing.
We at the Guelph Mercury already ran our season preview. And, in surfing the net, I see a few other newspapers gave their local teams some ink Thursday.
It seems the Windsor Lancers are reloading, not rebuilding as the cliche goes. They're going to have overcome the losses of Ryan Steer and Kevin Kloostra. I think having Greg Surmacz on the block helps, don't you? The 6-foot-8 centre received more votes as a pre-season all-star than any other player in the OUA.
"If the offence doesn't go through Greg, it should end up with Greg," Windsor coach Chris Oliver [told Mary Caton of the Windsor Star]. "He's our best matchup. Other teams have to do something to take Greg out of the game."
Way up in Thunder Bay, Kiraan Posey's the key to LU's success this season. Also, it seems Posey is poised to become Lakehead's all-time leading scorer. He needs five points to pass Dan Zapior's 2,339 points (conference, playoffs, exhibition included).
Posey was voted a first-team pre-season all-star by the OUA coaches.
In St. Catharines, the Brock Badgers are turning over a whole lot of roster. Gone from the defending national champs are Brad Rootes, Scott Murray, Mike Kemp, Rohan Steen and Dusty Bianchin. So, it's whole changes for the Badgers.
Bernie Puchalski of the St. Catharines Standard talks about point guard Joel Whitty from Ridley College and shooting guard Didi Mukendi from Denis Morris. But I'm telling you, do not for a second underestimate or forget about Owen White.
Ken Murray told me he likes his team. He's confident. Then again, when isn't he? He and I both picked his team to win the national championship last season. I'm not sure either of us will be making that bold statement this season, but Brock will be in the mix.
It's a massive youth movement at Queen's in Kingston. The Golden Gaels have plenty of new kids on the block. Ten players entering their first or second OUA season.
"I think we can be as successful as we were last year, and maybe more
successful," said [head coach Rob] Smart. "It's hard to say how the other teams will
shape up, but I think we're deeper than most teams and it's realistic
that we can finish, second or third [in the OUA East] this year. We're
still young, but we've got a lot of talent. And with some confidence,
who knows what can happen."
He's right. The East Division isn't overly strong. Some coaches have told me bluntly "it's weak." There's Carleton, Ottawa and everyone else.
Puffer, in his fifth and final year (politics anyone?) had 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks. And he didn't even play in every game.
Look, I know guys are double-teamed. That's a measure of a player's talent. Heck, it's sort of the same reason why Sean Riley of Guelph keeps grabbing all-star hardware. No one throws to his side of the field out of respect.
But come on. MacDonald didn't even earned second team honours.
That's a sham. Not a shame. Well, actually, it's both.
The Guelph Mercury does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Copyright Grand River Media. All rights reserved. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Guelph Mercury or www.guelphmercury.com. The Mercury is not responsible for the content or the views expressed on external sites. Distribution, transmission or republication of any material is strictly prohibited without prior written permission of the Guelph Mercury.