Gonzaga Bulldogs Survive Southern, Laurent Rivard Lights it Up as Harvard Upsets New Mexico
Olynyk & Pangos Spoil the Upset, Survive Southern
Not many expected for #16 Southern University to match up against #1 Gonzaga and give them a run for their money. But that’s why we play the games. The Zags made some runs to extend their lead hovering around ten, but the Jaguars lead by Derick Beltran’s 21 points hung in tight for a 64-58 final.
After a slow start for Canadians Kelly Olynyk and Kevin Pangos, each played their part down the stretch for Gonzaga to seal the deal. Olynyk was virtually unstoppable in the second half and worked the pick and roll with Pangos to perfection, finishing with a healthy double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Pangos also had a good game with 16 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals, to only one turnover. The Newmarket product hit two crucial jumpers in the final minutes, including a pretty step back three displaying poise and leadership in big moments.
Gonzaga was undoubtedly tested in the first round, but did not panic. Give credit to Southern who shot the three ball exceptionally well (10 for 23) and did not back down. This close victory could serve as a blessing in disguise for their next game as it will put pressure on the Bulldogs to open against Wichita State with more hunger.
WSU features two Canadians in Nick Wiggins and Chadrack Lufile.
Laurent Rivard, #14 Harvard Upset #3 New Mexico
This is what the madness is all about, rankings serve the general public as a feeder to the excitement, with #14 Harvard who many counted out, shocked the basketball world for their first ever NCAA tournament victory over #3 Mexico. Quebec’s Laurent Rivard provided great production to a well balanced crimson team. Harvard had four players in double-figures and the Saint Bruno sharpshooter put in 17 points on 5 on 9 from deep, without attempting a two-point field goal.
Anthony Bennett Records Double-Double in UNLV Loss, What’s Up next?
After what some would consider a poor showing for Bennett in his first and most likely his only March Madness game of his career, he registered 15 points and 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals. California did a great job in the zone limiting Bennett’s production, however UNLV did not help the cause as they didn’t attempt to make him a focal point of the offense. Truth be told, this isn’t something that came as a surprise; all season Bennett has been producing with efficiency (53 % FG) creating for himself or scoring off second chance points.
Some would say this game hurts his NBA draft stock…an inaccurate statement in my opinion. In this game, the production was still there on a poor shooting night, but more importantly his potential is still very high thanks to his physical tools. Expect to find Bennett in the Top 5 come June.
Fellow Canadian Khem Birch (Montreal, Quebec) posted five points, six rebounds and four blocks…will have an increased role on the team next season.
Marquette Avoids Upset on Game Winner From Vander Blue
Toronto’s Junior Cadougan will continue dancing, thanks to team mate Vander Blue who rallied #3 Marquette past #14 Davidson with a three point shot to cut the lead, and the eventual game-winning lay up. Cadougan finished with four points, five rebounds and two steals.
On the flip side, Nik Cochran (Vancouver, BC) ends his career at Davidson, posting 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal.
NMSU Aggies Knocked Out, Sim Bhullar Bright Spot
With the #13 New Mexico State loss against #4 Saint Louis, four Canadians end their season; Daniel Mullings, Sim Bhullar, Renaldo Dixon and Tyrone Watson. NMSU has had great success under Head Coach Marvin Menzies and Associate HC Paul Weir, as the Aggies have made it to the NCAA tournament three times in the past four years.
Weir, a Toronto native, has been instrumental in the recruitment of Canadians — the bright spot for the 2012-2013 season has been freshman Sim Bhullar who sat out last year as a partial qualifier. The 7’5 centre has made great progress on his body as has shed 40 pounds over the last year. Bhullar only had four points in this game but recorded a game high in rebounds (11) and blocks (3).
Moreover, he ended the season being named WAC tournament MVP after a strong double-double of 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. I had the pleasure of watching Bhullar coming out of high school and he has always been skilled offensively, while being a large defensive presence in every sense of the term.
The only question has been whether or not he would be able to handle the speed of NCAA competition. Based off this season, the question has been answered, and if he can have another productive off-season, calling him a true NBA prospect won’t be such a stretch.
For Saint Louis, Grandy Glaze (Toronto, ON) will continue Marching. Glaze posted two points, three rebounds, one assist and a steal.
Bryson Johnson, Bucknell Early Exit, leaves legacy as Programs leading Three-Point man
Bryson Johnson (Pictou, NS) played his last game in a Bucknell Bison jersey in the first round 68-56 to #6 Butler. The 6’2 sniper will certain be remembered as he has left a legacy, leaving as the program’s all time leader in made threes, a record he broke in early February. Johnson posted nine points and two rebounds in the Butler loss.
Nik Stauskas, Michigan Advance to Second Round
On a rough shooting night from star point guard and possible lottery pick Trey Burke, #4 Michigan still managed to pull this one out against South Dakota State with relative ease 71-56. At halftime, the Wolverines only lead by four but Glenn Robinson and Tim Hardaway Jr. stepped up, ending with 21 apiece. Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, ON) recorded eight points, two rebounds, two assists and will continue marching.
Other Canadian Results
Colorado St defeats Missouri; Joe Deciman (Regina, Saskatchewan) advances, Negus Webster-Chan and Stefan Jankovic of Mizzou take a first round exit.