Calgary Surge Look to Solve Vancouver Bandits in Third Meeting of Season

Calgary Surge Look to Solve Vancouver Bandits in Third Meeting of Season

June 25, 2023 – Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) – Calgary Surge News Release

The Vancouver Bandits (-120) will look to complete the regular season sweep of the Calgary Surge (-114) at the Langley Events Centre on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT.

The game will be available for streaming on TSN+, CEBL+ powered by BetVictor and on the CEBL Mobile app available on iOS and Android devices.

Vancouver handed Calgary their first two losses of the season with an 84-81 win in Langley on June 3 and an 82-77 win in Calgary on June 14.

In the first win on Vancouver territory, the Bandits relied heavily on big men Nick Ward and Giorgi Bezhanishvili to power them to victory. University of Victoria guard Diego Maffia also had his best performance of the season in that win with 15 points and 11 assists.

Each team shot under 40 per cent from the field and 30 per cent from three in the first outing. However, Vancouver’s roster had a much different look – Shane Gibson, MJ Walker, Shaquille Keith and Jahenns Manigat all had yet to join the team.

In the second outing in Calgary, all four new acquisitions were in the lineup with Gibson and Keith making their season debuts. But it was Bezhanishvili that put the team on his back with 27 points and 13 rebounds.

Calgary stars Simi Shittu and Stefan Smith also earned double-doubles in the loss. Smith netted a team-high 23 points while dishing 10 assists and Shittu tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds.

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The Surge enter Sunday’s contest in third place in the Western Conference at 6-5 on the season, trailing the 5-4 Edmonton Stingers and the 7-3 Winnipeg Sea Bears. Calgary is in a tight playoff race with the rest of the Western Conference – the exception being 4-5 Vancouver.

Because the 2023 CEBL Championship Weekend is in Vancouver from August 11-13, the Bandits have a spot in the Western Conference final clinched.

The Bandits are coming off a 93-84 loss to the Sea Bears on Wednesday that snapped a three-game winning streak. With their roster coming together, Vancouver has looked like a team that deserves to be in championship weekend.

The presence of Ward and Bezhanishvili from game one has been steady for the Bandits, with the bigs both averaging numbers to match their size. “Giorgi B” is one of two players in the CEBL to average a double-double with 17.6 points per game and a league-best 11.3 rebounds per game. His frontcourt teammate, the bruising forward Nick Ward, has averaged 17.2 points and 7.1 rebounds in nine appearances.

Walker has also been spectacular in his five games with the team, averaging 15 points on 47 per cent shooting. Meanwhile, Gibson led the Bandits in points per game last season but is averaging just under 10 points through three games off the bench in 2023.

On the other side, the Surge have lost two consecutive games and four of their last five. Calgary has depended on blanketing defence to start the season, but the team’s usually stingy defending has faltered in recent games.

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After conceding no more than 84 points in the opening nine games of the season, the Surge have lost their last two contests 93-80 to Brampton and 99-86 to Niagara. The Surge will look to their stellar starters to return to form on Sunday in Langley.

Calgary has been consistent with their starting lineup when healthy, tipping off with Smith, Shittu, Trevon Scott, Admon Gilder Jr. and Sean Miller-Moore. Almost the entire starting five is averaging at least 10 points per game, with Gilder just short at 9.9.

Shittu is the only other player in the CEBL outside of Bezhanishvili to average a double-double at 15.2 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game, in addition to 1.1 blocks. Smith has been outstanding in target time for the Surge, leading them on the biggest target time comeback in league history and averaging 15.2 points and 2 steals overall.

Meanwhile, Miller-Moore’s elite athleticism has been on full display all season. With a highlight reel full of dunks and blocks, “Rugzy” has averaged a team-high 16.7 points to go along with 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 0.9 blocks. Scott rounds out the starting lineup with 12.3 points per game in 11 appearances this season.

Up next for the Bandits is a Canada Day showdown with the Edmonton Stingers at Langley Events Centre at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, the Surge will return home for a matchup with the Scarborough Shooting Stars on Wednesday.

All games are available for streaming on TSN+, CEBL+ powered by BetVictor and on the CEBL Mobile app available on iOS and Android devices.

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A league created by Canadians for Canadians with a mission to develop Canadian players, coaches, sports executives, and referees, the CEBL boasts the highest percentage of Canadian players of any pro league in the country with 71 per cent of its 2022 rosters being Canadian. Players bring experience from the NBA, NBA G League, top international pro leagues, the Canadian National team program, and top NCAA programs as well as U SPORTS. Nine players have moved from the CEBL into the NBA following a CEBL season, and 28 CEBL players attended NBA G League training camps during October. The CEBL season runs from May through August. More information about the CEBL is available at and @cebleague on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook & YouTube.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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  • June 25, 2023