Saskatchewan Rattlers Host Guelph Nighthawks in Battle of 8-8 Teams
The Saskatchewan Rattlers will host the Guelph Nighthawks at 7:30 CT on Thursday night at SaskTel Centre in a matchup with major playoff implications.
The Rattlers and Nighthawks each enter Thursday's contest at 8-8 in a battle for playoff seeding, with Guelph currently in sixth place and Saskatchewan in seventh. The Nighthawks have an edge in plus/minus heading into their first matchup of the season with the Rattlers as they look to keep pace with the 9-8 Edmonton Stingers and the 9-7 Scarborough Shooting Stars.
"We're just focused on us," Guelph head coach Charles Kissi said following the team's win over Fraser Valley last Friday. "Our focus from the beginning has been to be ready to play come playoff time and we're clearly making some strides towards that."
Saskatchewan is coming off a two-point home win over the Ottawa BlackJacks that snapped a four-game losing streak that included a pair of losses in Newfoundland and a league-record-tying 51 point loss to the BlackJacks. The blowout loss will doubtless hurt the Rattlers' chances in any plus/minus tiebreakers, should that scenario arise at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, the Guelph Nighthawks arrive in Saskatoon on a two-game winning streak, after they went on a stretch of their own with five straight losses. The Nighthawks are coming off a six day break since their 87-79 win over the Fraser Valley Bandits in Langley last Friday, preceded by a 96-80 victory over the Montreal Alliance. The matchup with Saskatchewan is Guelph's second game in a three game west coast road trip that will end on Saturday in a crucial matchup with the defending champion Stingers in Edmonton.
Cat Barber leads the Nighthawks in points per game at 19.9 heading into Thurday's game, tied with Scarborough's Jalen Harris for fourth in the league's scoring race. Saskatchewan's Tony Carr sits in third with 20.1 points per game, behind Newfoundland's Brandon Sampson and Niagara's Khalil Ahmad.
Besides leading the Nighthawks in scoring, Barber is also contributing 4.5 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game. Ahmed Hill and TJ Lall have both been consistent contributors for Guelph so far this season. Hill is scoring 17.9 points per game on 48 per cent shooting from the field and 41 per cent from three, while Lall is averaging 10.6 points per game, 7 rebounds per game, 3 assists per game, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks.
New acquisitions Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Maurice Calloo have had an impact on the Nighthawks in just a few games of action. Bezhanishvili scored 19 points against Fraser Valley, including 7 points in Elam time to power Guelph to victory. He's averaging over 18 points per game in two appearances with the Nighthawks, providing a voice in the locker room and a presence on the low block. Calloo is averaging over 10 points per game in just three appearances for Guelph.
For Saskatchewan, Tony Carr has been the driving force for their offence this season. Averaging over 20 points per game on 47 per cent shooting from the field and 45 per cent from three, Carr also leads the league in assists per game at 6.2 while hauling in 5.9 rebounds as well. Scottie Lindsey is averaging 19.8 points per game for the Rattlers and leading the league in threes made, while Devonte Bandoo is netting 16.1 points per game.
The game will stream on CEBL+ live internationally and in Canada at cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices and the free CBC Gem streaming service. Games are also available on the CEBL's official app, CEBL Mobile, available on iOS and Android devices.
Saskatchewan Rattlers tickets are available at https://www.therattlers.ca/tickets while Guelph Nighthawks tickets are available at https://www.thenighthawks.ca/tickets.
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