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Team Effort Needed From Short-Handed Blazers On Championship Weekend

The path to glory for Men's Basketball will not be an easy one this weekend at the MCAC Basketball Championships, hosted at Red River College. The Blazers will faceoff against their league rival Providence Pilots in tomorrow's semi-final round. Though CMU comes into the game as underdogs with a 1-3 season record against the Pilots, things are more balanced between the two teams than they may appear. The winner of each contest has won by a margin of 10 points or less in all but their final meeting. 

The added challenge will be for CMU to win without the services of three key players. Top rebounder and team captain Adam Bergen and regular ball-handlers Kyle Booy and Josh Hebel-Allard have all been sidelined for Final Four weekend.

"The injuries of all three have forced us to change aspects of our early season identity," says head coach Billy Isaac, but Isaac remains positive that his team has what it takes, "we have had many other guys step up their games as a result of the injuries."

Injured guard Kyle Booy knows that those big performances will need to continue; "Our regular bench players are going to have to contribute when they get their opportunity," The 5'8, third year also makes clear that if they are going to pull off a win over the #2 seed it will need to come by committee. "We are going to have to work hard together as a team offensively and defensively. When we are loud and talking on defense, we are a very hard team to score on."

Coach Isaac stressed the importance of his team's defense against Providence as well. "We need to control defensive rebounds, ensure that we are stopping the ball in transition, and forcing Prov to play against our half court defense."

Though defense will be crucial, the green and gold will need their offense to be clicking too. All eyes will be on second-year scoring sensation, Jon Hayter and rookie big-man Jacob Penner, both recenrly selected to the 2016 All-Conference Team, to carry the load. Hayter finished the season first in overall league scoring with 186 points and third in scoring average with 16.9 points per game. Penner capped off his season with a total of 168 points scored with an average of 14.0 points per game.

If the Blazers can pull all of these aspects together, they may find themselves in Sunday afternoon's 2016 MCAC Men's Basketball Championship Final. In a season where CMU has beaten every team in the league, anything is possible.

 

This article is written by CMU Communications student, Jason Friesen

 

Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association