Bisons next up for UNBC

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Ted CLARKE Cit­i­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

The UNBC Tim­ber­wolves have a plan in store for the Man­i­toba Bisons.

It’s go­ing to take a pack men­tal­ity to be suc­cess­ful on this hunt.

The T-wolves know their U Sports men’s bas­ket­ball sched­ule after this week­end only gets tougher, with up­per-ech­e­lon op­po­nents UBC and Al­berta wait­ing in the wings for UNBC to ar­rive later this month. That un­der­scores the im­por­tance of tak­ing ad­van­tage of a Man­i­toba team that’s strug­gled to get into a win­ning groove.

“They are go­ing to be com­ing full force at us – they like to push it in tran­si­tion, so we will have to get back,” said T-wolves rookie guard Chris Ross, in a team re­lease. “I think we will need to go back at them. It is go­ing to be an up-tempo game, for sure.

“Our team plays ex­cep­tion­ally well when we move the ball. As soon as we hit a three-pointer or two, ev­ery­thing seems to open up. We have a lot of ath­letic guards, and we have some quick bigs as well.”

UNBC (7-5) is in a play­off po­si­tion, ranked sev­enth in the 17team Canada West con­fer­ence. The T-wolves split last week­end at home against Thomp­son Rivers Uni­ver­sity, win­ning the first one 90-81, fol­lowed by a 82-78 loss to the Wolf­Pack.

The Bisons have lost five straight and have just three wins in 12 games this sea­son but no­body in T-wolves cloth­ing will be tak­ing them lightly when they meet tonight (8 p.m.) on the court at the Charles Jago North­ern Sport Cen­tre.

“We will be play­ing UBC and Al­berta com­ing up – those are two re­ally good teams, so it would be nice to get two wins,” said Ross. “Then when we head into those games we aren’t pack­ing a lot of weight on our shoul­ders, try­ing to get these im­por­tant wins. We can just play freely.”

Jo­van Leamy con­tin­ues to lead UNBC, av­er­ag­ing 20.2 points per game, sec­ond in the con­fer­ence. Vagge­lis Loukas is also in the top five in two cat­e­gories. His 60 per cent field goal av­er­age is sec­ond in the league and his 9.3 re­bounds av­er­age is third-best. Sage Gosal ranks fifth with a 41.4 per cent suc­cess rate from three­p­oint range.

The UNBC women (8-4) also sit sev­enth in the league. After a 6-0 start they ended a four-game los­ing streak last week­end with a two-game sweep of TRU.

Man­i­toba (5-7) started the sea­son a per­fect 5-0, in­clud­ing a split with UBC, but then had to take on the Canada West jug­ger­nauts – Regina, Cal­gary, and Al­berta – all top-four teams, and the Bisons have lost seven straight.

“This week­end, we have to come out and make sure we are play­ing our parts,” said T-wolves sec­ond-year guard Devon Wood. “We need to be ag­gres­sive and put 100 per cent ef­fort in. Man­i­toba is go­ing to re­ally chal­lenge us, so we are go­ing to have to be pre­pared de­fen­sively. Hope­fully we get stops and that pushes us for­ward to the of­fen­sive end.

“Hope­fully this sets the tone for the rest of the sea­son.”

The game starts at 6 p.m. Fifth-year UNBC post Vasi­liki Louka con­tin­ues to lead the con­fer­ence, av­er­ag­ing 13.4 re­bounds, and her 17.2 pointsper-game av­er­age is eighthbest. Fourth-year guard Maria Mon­gomo is also putting up big num­bers of­fen­sively. Her 20.7 point-per-game av­er­age ranks sec­ond in Canada West and she’s av­er­ag­ing 8.5 re­bounds, ninthbest. UNBC guard Emily Holmes is 10th in as­sists, with a 3.5 av­er­age.

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