Rookies Shine In Belcourt As Men's Basketball Clinches Championship Berth
Former Fort Richmond Collegiate teammates, Abdi Amin and Kniel Sullera led the CMU offense last weekend as the Blazers split their final regular season away games of the 2017-18 NIAC Basketball schedule with the Turtle Mountain Mighty Mikinocks in Belcourt, North Dakota. On Saturday night, Amin led the Blazers, scoring 18 as CMU took home a 93-82 win. The Mikinocks rebounded on Sunday, 104-93, despite Sullera's season high 28 point performance. The former Team Manitoba guard is averaging 15.0 points per game in his rookie season with the Blazers, landing him second on his team in scoring behind fellow rookie guard, Nick Kasmik with 16.0
The win and loss lands the Blazers in a tie for fourth place in the NIAC standings with the Red River Rebels with two NIAC conference games remaining for both teams. CMU hosts Sisseton-Wahpeton Mustangs (6-1) on Friday and Saturday while the Rebels battle the Providence Pilots (7-3) in a series that will affect the standings in both the MCAC and NIAC conferences.
With two games left to be played in the MCAC Men's Basketball regular season, the results of the Pilots versus Rebels matchup this weekend could bring about an interesting predicament for the Manitoba Conference. The Pilots hold down top spot in the MCAC with a record of 4-2 while the Rebels currently sit third with at 2-4. Sandwiched in between and already completing their MCAC regular season are the 4-4 Blazers. Should the Rebels win both games in their home and away meeting with Providence, all three Manitoba teams would find themselves with the same regular season MCAC record of 4 wins and 4 losses.
Steps for breaking a tie in the standings according to the MCAC Operating Code, begins with Head-to-Head records which would again leave all three teams equal with 2 wins and 2 losses (should the Rebels sweep the Pilots this weekend). Next, Points Scored and Points Allowed would break the tie and send the two teams with the greater differential into the MCAC's two 2018 Championship Playoff spots. Leading the way in that category, and clinching one of those Championship berths, is CMU, much to the delight of the defending Champions.
Currently Providence sits on top of this scoring category with a differential of +23, CMU second with +12, while Red River is in the basement with -27. Based on these numbers, the Blazers guarantee one of the two spots with the only thing left to be decided for CMU is what colour uniforms they will be wear when step on the court in Otterburne on February 10th. For the Rebels to make their way back to the conference championship they lost in 2017, they will need two big wins this weekend by a combined score of at least 25 points against the Pilots, who have no intention of allowing the Rebels to spoil the MCAC Men's Basketball party that they are scheduled to host in 12 days time.
While the two MCAC brothers battle it out for a chance to face CMU for the 2018 Men's Basketball banner, the Blazers are at home this weekend completing their 2017-18 NIAC campaign against the lone South Dakotan member of the Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; SWC. On Friday night CMU Athletics will recognize the contributions of graduating fourth-years Jordan Neufeld and Matt Warkentin before the scheduled 6:00 pm tip-off at the Loewen Athletic Centre. The teams will also meet on Saturday afternoon at noon in the final home game of the Men's Basketball regular season.