Skip to main content


New Bandit steals show in Calgary as Vancouver continues winning ways

Vancouver Bandits Curtis Hollis - The Canadian Press

The Vancouver Bandits continued their hot start to the 2024 CEBL season, defeating the Calgary Surge 70-65 Friday night at WinSport Event Centre.

Vancouver improved to 5-1 with the victory and retains sole possession of first place in the Western Conference standings.

The Bandits were led by Curtis Hollis who impressed in his CEBL debut. The Arlington, Tex., native signed with Vancouver earlier in the day and recorded 21 points (9-13 FG, 3-4 3PT), six rebounds and five steals in tonight’s win.

“It was amazing. I’ve been trying to get into this league for a few years now, so I was looking forward to the opportunity,” Hollis said postgame. “I got to show what I could do.”

Hollis was a welcome addition for the Bandits who were without standout guard Tazé Moore. Moore was away from the team for tonight’s contest after earning NBA off-season workouts with Milwaukee, Atlanta and Portland.

Looking to capitalize on Moore’s absence and avenge a 26-point loss at the hands of the Bandits last Saturday, the Surge began the game with defensive intensity.

Calgary entered tonight’s contest having given up the most points per game this season, with teams averaging 96.5 points against the Surge. Despite this, Calgary held Vancouver scoreless on the first seven possessions, until a layup from Koby McEwen at the 6:06 mark broke the Bandits’ scoring drought.

Malcolm Duvivier was the sparkplug for the Surge defence. The Toronto, Ont. native competed hard against his former team who he had played the previous four seasons with (2020-23) prior to signing with Calgary this offseason.

The Bandits eventually found their rhythm thanks to Hollis who scored 11 of Vancouver’s first 18 points, shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the field (including three three-point field goals).

“It’s a testament to the season I just had. I played really well so I’m kind of used to coming in and scoring and doing what I have to do for the team,” said Hollis. “It was my teammates finding me in the right spots and I was just making shots.”

Both squads continued to compete hard into the second quarter. Scrappy play and a fast pace dominated the first half which resulted in a combined 25 turnovers between the two opponents. 

The contest was a back-and-forth affair consisting of 10 lead changes in the first two quarters but the Bandits held a 33-32 halftime advantage in this defensive battle.

“I thought it was a rough first half for us, but defensively we were really good,” said Bandits head coach Kyle Julius. “(At halftime) we just talked about continuing to focus on defence.”

Vancouver opened the second half on a 12-0 run led by strong post play from Nick Ward. The 6-foot-9 forward scored eight of Vancouver’s first 12 points in the third quarter as the Bandits opened up a 13-point lead, their largest of the game.

Ward finished with 13 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes. He was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter for leaving the bench during an on-court altercation.

That moment seemed to be a turning point for the Surge who capitalized on Ward’s absence. Calgary made a late run to cut Vancouver’s lead to five points (67-62) before ultimately falling to its west coast rival.

Calgary sits at just 1-4 on the year, but is still in the midst of shifting lineups. The Surge announced three signings on Friday (Jordy Tshimanga, Trhae Mitchell and Yvan Ouedraogo) and are also awaiting the
return of guard Stefan Smith.

“I think for us it’s just getting to know each other and knowing how to building each other up,” said Surge head coach Tyrell Vernon. “We have to do whatever it takes to win every possession.”

What’s next?

The Surge continue a five-game homestand when they host Winnipeg on Sunday night. Vancouver’s next contest is also against Winnipeg scheduled for Thursday night at the Langley Events Centre.