An exhibition win and a loss was the score line for CMU’s men’s basketball team over Thanksgiving weekend as they opened their non-conference schedule at Caronport, Saskatchewan against Briercrest College and Olds College.
The host Briercrest Clippers were clearly a different team than the one the Blazers dismantled at home last September. Bolstered by a lineup laden with CIS transfers, Clippers coach Gene Wolverton took it to the Blazers with an up-beat defense, pressuring CMU to multiple first quarter turnovers and a deficit of 17 points. CMU clawed their way back to a respectable 33-49 score by the time the horn sounded to end the half.
Briercrest emerged from the locker room recommitted to their game plan, scoring 31 points in the third quarter. They went on to beat CMU 97-54.
“This was a great first game for us as it showed some of the guys the intensity that we need to compete at the CCAA level,” said Blazers head coach Darcy Coss. “Their ‘run-and-jump’ is known for forcing teams to play out of their style. We learned a lot in this game.”
The young Blazer squad, featuring a roster that includes 7 freshmen, left Caronport on a positive note by defeating the Olds College Broncos 75-65 on Saturday afternoon. Led by fourth-year forward Paul Muns’ double-double (22 points, 12 rebounds), CMU found success offensively against the Broncos zone defense, ending the first half with a 45-32 lead.
Olds countered the Blazers’ outside shooters in the second half by introducing a full-court press and switching to a man-to-man defensive system. However, the tactical change did little to stop Coach Coss’ Blazers. First-year forwards Spencer Harrison (20 points) and Enoch Nazaire (17 points) proved to be a formidable one-two offensive punch for CMU, while the rest of the team pounded the Broncos on the glass for their first win of the season.
CMU will travel to Brandon, MB on Friday afternoon to participate in their second exhibition tournament of 2009. There they will face the likes of the Brandon University Bobcats, the Lakehead University Thunderwolves (Thunder Bay, ON), and the reigning MCAC champion Red River College Rebels.
By Russell Willms