Skip to main content


Bandits respond with rout of River Lions in battle of conference leaders

Vancouver Bandits vs. Niagara River Lions Vancouver Bandits vs. Niagara River Lions - CEBL

A battle between two conference leaders ended with Vancouver and Niagara feeling kilometres apart.

The Bandits ran away with 105-83 win over the East-leading Niagara River Lions on Monday at Langley Events Centre, a bounceback performance following their disheartening 19-point loss to their conference-rival Stingers on Saturday.

Vancouver kept pace with Edmonton, which beat Saskatchewan earlier Monday, by improving to 9-3 to remain tied atop the West standings. The River Lions fell to 7-5.

“I just thought that was a complete team win, and I thought the energy was there,” Bandits head coach Kyle Julius said.

Vancouver’s victory was a stark difference from the loss to the Stingers in which Moore was ejected on his birthday.

“It was much needed. It was really just a character game with the team,” Moore said. “The other game we came out complaining, crying, running to the refs after every problem. We really know that the only way to beat us is us. So we just gotta keep the guys together, including myself being the head of the snake and everything.”

Moore secured his second triple-double of the season and the sixth in CEBL history, stuffing the stat sheet with 21 points, 14 assists and 10 boards. The American became the first player ever to record two triple-doubles in the regular season.

“We talk to Tazé about continuously attacking and not waiting for the game come to him. But he’s good enough to take control of the game early and I think when he does that, he makes everyone better,” Julius said.

Every time the River Lions seemed to threaten, the Bandits responded with a flurry of triples to keep Niagara at arm’s length.

In the second quarter, it was Toronto native Koby McEwen, whose fifth three-pointer of the half handed the Bandits their biggest lead to that point at 50-36.

When the River Lions cut their deficit to four points in the third quarter, starting guard Zach Copeland splashed two consecutive shots from beyond the arc to bump the differential back up to double digits.

And the Bandits broke open the game when U SPORTS Player of the Year Diego Maffia put home a transition to triple to end the third quarter and Tazé Moore opened the fourth with one of his own.

“They made their open ones, and then they made some really tough ones,” River Lions head coach Victor Raso said. “On nights like tonight, they’re gonna be really tough to beat.”

In all, Vancouver made 46 per cent of its three-point attempts compared to just 21 per cent for the River Lions.

McEwen, who appeared on his way to threatening the CEBL’s single-game three-pointers record just hours after Edmonton’s Elijah Miller had reset the number at 10, played just 85 seconds to begin the second half before subbing out with four fouls.

It was the River Lions who surged ahead early, taking a 21-11 lead midway through the first quarter. But a timeout from Julius seemed to ignite the Bandits, who responded by cutting their deficit to just three points by the end of the frame.

The Bandits led 96-76 at Target Score Time, and Toronto native Duane Notice ended the game on a free throw.

Niagara, meanwhile, wrapped its three-game Western road trip with a 1-2 record. Losses to the Stingers and Bandits show just how stark the difference is between conferences, where the West now sits at a total record of 35-23 while the East is 24-36.

Raso pushed a sense of urgency after the game.

“Kyle Julius was talking about it the other night with his team. He didn’t like their mental toughness and then those guys turned around, they played great basketball, shot the hell out of the ball and did really good things,” he said.

“If our guys don’t respond quickly, then I’m gonna have to make changes quick.”

Khalil Ahmad and Lall paced Niagara with 18 points each. Lall’s performance pushed him past the 500-point barrier for his CEBL career.

“It’s always good to see my shots fall. I’m a confident shooter, I know I’m good at shooting, and just gotta keep the momentum going all season,” Lall said.

Loudon Love added a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double off the bench.

The Bandits wore Terry Fox memorial jerseys for Canada Day, with proceeds set to be donated to The Terry Fox Foundation for cancer research.

Fox’s brother, Fred Fox, attended the game also.

What’s next?

Niagara returns home for a tilt with the Calgary Surge on Thursday, while Vancouver travels to Edmonton for a key date with the Stingers on Friday.