Men's Basketball Look To Get Their Game Back Against Winless Wolfpack
The Oak Hills Wolfpack are next on the NIAC schedule for a CMU Men's Basketball team who returned home from Cass Lake, Minnesota on Sunday ailing from two road losses at the hands of the Leech Lake Lakers to start 2017.
Despite holding a lead through the first half, CMU saw the Lakers mount a game-winning comeback. Leech Lake tied the game late in regulation, 77-77, and stole the win away from the Blazers in overtime. The home team's momentum carried into Sunday's rubber match as the Lakers went on to entertain their home crowd to the tune of a 79-68 win, sending CMU home with two losses.
The results dropped Men's Basketball to 3-3 after six games played in NIAC and has the team very focussed on putting together two strong performances this weekend when the Oak Hills Wolfpack visit Winnipeg for a back to back.
"We continue to work on our defense, especially when in transition," said head coach Billy Isaac, "furthermore, against Leech Lake we struggled to defend the three point line and we'll need to improve that when we meet Oak Hills."
Well into their 2016-17 NIAC campaign are the Blazers, but Friday and Saturday will mark the first NIAC regular season games that Men's Basketball will get a chance to step onto home court at the Loewen Athletic Centre and play in. In November the Blazers were scheduled to host the Cankdeska Cikana Wolves for a double-header but border issues for the visitors forced the games to be forfeited, accounting for two of CMU's three NIAC wins.
"These are some of the risks that we had to be prepared to take on when we joined NIAC. It is an international conference where it is necessary for the teams to cross an international border during the regular season, " says CMU Athletics Director Russell Willms, "we were aware that there may be some growing pains in NIAC, be it that there are alot of new athletics programs beginning at these colleges, but we have been assured by the teams that we are scheduled to host for the remainder of 2017 that their rosters have been checked in advance and Oak Hills has been given a green light to get their teams into Canada as has Trinity who we will host later this season."
The Blazers could definitely use the confidence that comes from getting a hard fought win on home court. After a thrilling start to the season that saw CMU blast by the Providence Pilots in a high-octane game that animated the sold-out home crowd, the Blazers lost an MCAC heavyweight bout with the Red River Rebels where the Route 90 rivals traded knockout blows that lasted a full 40 minutes.
The Wolfpack enter this weekend's games with a record of 0-17, but despite a season where the Bemidji-based team have not yet found the win column, Isaac knows that his Blazers will need to tighten up their defense to ensure Oak Hills stays winless through the weekend. "Oak Hills will be athletic and will want to get out and run," said Isaac, "our ability to force them to play against our half court defense will play a big key in our success."
Before they can get back to home court action, the Blazers will be looking for their fifth win of the season in MCAC when they travel downtown to meet the 0-6 College Wesmen at the Duckworth Centre tonight at 6 pm on the campus of the University of Winnipeg.