Brandon University Bobcats guard Emerick Ravier takes the ball to the hoop under the reach of Dakota College’s Julian Vasquez during Saturday’s basketball game at the BU Healthy Living Centre. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball team took another step towards looking like a Canada West contender on the weekend.
BU head coach Gil Cheung said his team’s defensive play has been a work in progress, but the Bobcats looked a lot more solid in their own end of the court on Saturday as they completed an exhibition Homecoming weekend sweep of the Dakota College (Bottineau, N.D.) Lumberjacks with a 91-73 victory.
Brandon contested a lot of shots, especially from three-point range, and dominated the glass.
"We really improved (on defence) since we started practising in Brandon in August," said third-year BU forward Ali-Mounir Benabdelhak, who had 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
"Dakota is a small team, and we’re going to play with a big team, so we need to be more strong and more tough on the court."
The Bobcats used size to their advantage Saturday as Brandon outrebounded Dakota 32-18 in the opening 20 minutes and finished with a 57-41 advantage overall, with 21 offensive rebounds.
While Cheung was looking for an improvement from his players, he also made sure he got the two Brandonites who are redshirting this season into the game.
Neelin graduates Theo Farough and Isaak Stark both played a good chunk of the fourth quarter, with Farough netting seven points and one rebound — as well as loud cheers from the Bobcat bench and fans after each of his three buckets — while Stark had one rebound.
Although neither Brandonite is expected to get playing time for the rest of the season, Cheung was impressed with how they performed.
"You saw the guys on the bench; they were excited. It was like Christmas for everybody and Theo was excited," Cheung said. "It’s great to play in front of your hometown at the university level and make some great plays out there.
"… (Stark) didn’t look lost out there at all. He competed, he missed (three) shots but he did all the right things and he gave us five, six solid minutes."
Emerick Ravier had 20 points and six rebounds for Brandon, while Kenonte Ramsey added 12 points and Jordan Reaves had eight. Julian Vasquez led Dakota College with 18 points and nine boards.
The Bobcats will have one more pre-season test at a tournament in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday before they open the Canada West campaign on Nov. 1 when they host the Victoria Vikes.
Cheung is still looking for a full 40-minute effort from his troops.
"We’re still a work in progress," he said. "There’s always things we can fix. I thought we played 30 solid minutes (Saturday). (On Friday) we played about 26 or 27 and we’re building on that until we can get close to the 40 minutes of the basketball we want to play."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 21, 2013