The Winnipeg Sea Bears will host the western conference play-in game against the Edmonton Stingers tonight at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. local at the Canada Life Centre.
The game will be live on TSN and also be available for streaming on TSN+, CEBL+ powered by BetVictor, and on the CEBL Mobile app available on iOS and Android devices.
The matchup comes less than a week after the Stingers knocked off the Sea Bears 98-86 in Winnipeg to cap off the regular season for both teams.
Edmonton used a 26-8 run in the fourth quarter of that contest—in front of more than 8,200 fans, a CEBL record—to prevent Winnipeg from clinching top spot in the western conference, and forcing the Sea Bears into the play-in round.
“We’ve had issues closing games,” Edmonton head coach Jordan Baker said after the game. “But our defence in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter and target time was great.”
The win also marked Edmonton’s second win of the season at the Canada Life Centre, as the Stingers also went on the road and defeated the Sea Bears by 29 points on June 12. Winnipeg, however, did earn a win in their three-game season series with Edmonton—dispatching the Stingers at the Expo Centre on July 8.
The Sea Bears finished the regular season as the second best team in the CEBL on the glass, with a little over 42 rebounds per game, and hauled a league-best 14.1 offensive rebounds per game.
Winnipeg was also only one of two teams (Niagara) who averaged more than 90 points per game this season.
Offensively, it’s been Teddy Allen who has led the way, and made a strong case for CEBL MVP in the regular season. The star guard finished second in the league in scoring (27.2 points per game), led the CEBL in threes made in the season (70), and ranked in the top 10 in steals (1.6).
Allen also nearly averaged eight rebounds per game, which led the Sea Bears in the regular season. He’s played a league-high 717 minutes this season, 43 minutes more than the next closest player.
Outside of Allen, EJ Anosike has been a reliable scorer all season, averaging over 18 points and six rebounds over 20 games.
On the other side, Edmonton has relied on a balanced attack on offence. No Stinger averaged more than 14 points in the regular season, however, Edmonton had four players who averaged more than 12 points per game: Brody Clarke, Nick Hornsby, Isiah Osborne, and Aher Uguak.
The Stingers also used a stingy defence to sneak into the western conference’s final playoff spot. Edmonton gave up a hair over 83 points per game this season, the second fewest in the CEBL.
Edmonton deployed a zone defence that both Winnipeg head coach Mike Taylor and Anosike said gave the Sea Bears fits last game.
“The zone messed with us a little bit and we need to work on keeping our heads and playing smart defence without fouling,” Anosike said last weekend.
If Winnipeg wants to avoid losing a third game on home court to Edmonton this year, they will need to rely on their strengths on the boards and have their role players stepped up.
Anosike and Allen combined for 57 of Winnipeg’s 87 points in their last meeting with Edmonton on July 29. But only one other Sea Bear (AJ Hess) reached double-figures.
Jelani Watson-Gayle, who missed the July 29 game, has played a big role off the bench for Winnipeg. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate averaged over 12 points and two three pointers a game this season. Hess scored a season-high 18 points on July 23, right before the regular season finale against the Stingers.
Edmonton, meanwhile, will look to look to keep Allen and his supporting cast in check, and hope that they get solid offensive contributions from multiple people.
The winner of tonight’s matchup will travel to Calgary on Sunday to take on the Surge for the right to play in Championship Weekend next week.