Abu Khan brings Fighting Irish third-straight Emerald Championship

Fighting Irish post Abu Khan tries to get up over the long reach of Terry Fox's Ryan Sclater in the finals of the Emerald Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 21. Khan was named tournament MVP, recording 29 points and 15 points in the championship game. - Brian Jones Photo

When the Vancouver College Fighting Irish devised a game-plan for the championship final of their home tournament, it probably didn’t involve taking the offensive burden away from their dominant backcourt.

Cole Penman and Isaiah Solomon, two talented lead guards who share the Irish’s point guard responsibilities just as well as they share the basketball, had been instrumental in Vancouver College’s first two wins of the 47th annual Emerald Tournament.

And even apart from Penman and Solomon – shooting guard and three-point assassin Erickson Evangelista had been the catalyst in a convincing semifinal win over Burnaby South the night before.

So why rely on 6-foot-8 Abu Khan to do all the work?

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Terry Fox and Vancouver College set to play for Emerald Tourney title

Vancouver College guard Erickson Evangelista knocks down one of his four threes during the Fighting Irish's 82-75 win over Burnaby South. Evangelista led all VC scorers with 20 in the game. - Brian Jones Photo

A look back at the second day of action at the 47th annual Vancouver College Emerald Tournament, and a preview for Saturday night’s final.

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Battle of provincial powerhouses at Emerald Tourney

Mission guard Luc Comeau tries to avoid Mouat's Jesse Coy on his way to the hoop. - Brian Jones Photo

The 47th annual Vancouver College Emerald Tournament tipped off Thursday, Jan. 19 in Vancouver, with five of the eight participating teams ranking in the top-ten in B.C. AAA, two being on the honourable mention, and one being #1 in B.C. at the double-A level.

Suggesting that this tournament is loaded with talent is an understatement.

I was only able to catch the two later games on Thursday, but here’s a breakdown of what went down on the first day of the Emerald:

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Royals fight off Bearcats in first game of New Year

Douglas College Royals guard Mity Mahal drives in for an uncontested layup against the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Saturday, January 14. - Brian Jones Photo

It wasn’t pretty by any means, but a win’s a win.

In their first league game since December 3, the Douglas College Royals weathered multiple comeback attempts and defeated the Columbia Bible College Bearcats 80-70 at their New Westminster home.

Despite boosting their PacWest record to 5-3 while not having two starters due to injury and the flu, the Royals aren’t satisfied with how close things were decided.

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Every second counts: A play-by-play breakdown of UBC’s overtime victory against Alberta

Fifth-year UBC point guard Nathan Yu drives in for a layup against Alberta on Friday, January 6. - Brian Jones Photo

In late November, when the UBC Thunderbirds dropped two Canada West regular season matches to Lethbridge and Calgary, I honestly thought that it was going to be a rebuilding year for last year’s national bronze medalists.

Although they had opened up the 2011-12 campaign with four straight wins against Canada West competition, I came to the conclusion that after that brutal Alberta road trip, that this wouldn’t be the year where the T-Birds claimed that elusive gold at nationals.

After the two-game skid, UBC had a month lay-off and then headed down to Santa Barbara where they split a pair of games against UC Merced and Trinity International University.

Then 2012 happened.

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