Carleton Ravens score 6th straight national men's basketball title - Mar 20, 2016
While their former star guards, Osvaldo Jeanty and Philip Scrubb, deserve mention as perhaps their two greatest stars, Ottawa's Carleton Ravens are still the dynasty that has no face. And they're OK with that because they've always known it's more important to have a true identity. In an era of dominance which continued here Sunday with a sixth straight CIS Final 8 national men's basketball title, the Ravens once again won because of the total sum of their parts. In a 101-79 victory over the Canada West champion Calgary Dinos, a program playing in its first national final in 50 years and still in search of its first golden moment, the Ravens were at their absolute selfless best with all five of its starters reaching double figures in scoring, including tournament MVP Connor Wood (193-G) who led the way with 22 points. Think about it. Even without a player bearing the surname Jeanty or Scrubb among its roster, they hoisted the W.P. McGee Trophy, emblematic of CIS hoops surpemacy for the 12th time in 14 years. Heck, they didn't even have their program's architect and guru-like guiding force Dave Smart on the bench as they rolled out to a 48-32 halftime lead before 4,450 fans at UBC's Doug Mitchell Arena. Taking a one-season sabbatical, Smart turned the regins over to his nephew Rob Smart and the winning just continued. Just as it did over the course of the regular season, one in which seven different players took turns in leading the team in scoring, the Ravens simply lived up to their DNA to win a school-record half-dozen straight titles. Multiple points of attack. Everyone ready to step up based on evolving matchups. And most importantly, everything stemming from its commitment to team defence. That much was apparent right off the opening tip with key plays coming from a pair of fifth-year seniors. Forward Guillaume Payen (195-C-89) twice blocked Dinos' star guard Thomas Cooper before the game was even a minute old. And guard Gavin Resch (188-G) twice drew charges in the paint on drives by both David Kapinga and Cooper. Those hustle plays keyed not only transition points, but efficient half-court ball movement to the degree that Carleton got 10 triples (10-of-23) in the first half from four different players. Defensively, the game plan was to make Cooper work for his buckets, but even more so, to hold back the rest of the Dinos' line-up. With a 48-32 lead at the break, it was a rousing success. Cooper scored 14 of game-high 25 points by the half, but shot 5-of-13 from the field while the rest of the Calgary team shot 5-of-20. On the game he went 8-of-18. Teammate David Kapinga scored 15. Energized by their defence, Carleton got eight players into their first-half scoring mix, five of whom scored six or more points. And with their early success from distance, the Ravens didn't back down from beyond the arc, hitting at a 43.5 per cent clip (10-for-23). Resch was huge hitting on four of his eight long-range bombs, with starter Connor Wood and bench player T.J. Lall and Cameron Smythe (211-F) also knocking down two each. The Ravens continued to exert their dominance throughout the third quarter, but Calgary's 8-2 run just past the midway mark of the frame caught coach Smart's attention and he immediately brought rising star forward Ryan Ejim (201-F) off the bench. All Ryan Ejim proceeded to do was scored three straight baskets and set the tone for the remainder of the contest. The Ravens' balance? On the game, six Ravens finished in double-figures on offence led by Wood's 22 points, Gavin Resch with 18 points, Kaza Kajami-Keane with 15, Payen Bocuard with 12 points, Ryan Ejim with 12 points. Carleton's road to a potential sixth straight title came Saturday over the latter stages of the third quarter as its defence locked down Dalhousie in the half court, generating numerous turnovers that the Ravens used during a 10-2 run en route to a 76-66 win over the Atlantic champion Tigers. The Ravens, who never surrendered the lead, led by as many 18 points, getting 20 points from Ryan Ejim, 18 from Connor Wood and 13 from Payen Boucard. The Dinos made their way to Sunday's championship final on the heels of a 98-87 semifinal win Saturday over the OUA champion and No. 1-seeded Ryerson Rams of Toronto. As a sign of just how ready the Dinos were, they bolted out to a 16-point advantage in the second quarter, a cushion which proved enough to lead wire to wire. While the focus of the Ryerson defence was rightly on Calgary's Thomas, who scored a game-high 30 points, the depth of the Dinos shone through. Calgary's bench outscored Ryerson's 33-9, led by Jas Gill who hit four triples and scored 23 points in 25 minutes.
Tigers win second consecutive AUS championship - Mar 14, 2016
The top-seeded Dalhousie Tigers have been crowned AUS champs, defending their 2015 title, after topping the UPEI Panthers 87-85 on Sunday afternoon at the Scotiabank Centre in Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship action.
The Panthers came out firing, following up on their strong Saturday night performance, knocking down three straight three-pointers and jumping out to a quick 16-point lead midway through the first quarter.
Tyler Scott (190-G) had 10 points in the first 10 minutes on 4-5 shooting, including 2-3 from downtown.
Jarred Reid (188-G) was able to keep the Tigers close, shooting a perfect 3-3 from the floor for seven points in the quarter.
UPEI took a 25-17 lead into the second quarter on 10-18 shooting (5-8 from three).
Dalhousie looked much more comfortable in the second quarter, rallying back to tie the game at 29 midway through the frame and taking their first lead of the game (32-31) with just over three minutes left to play in the half.
Matt McVeigh (188-G) and Sven Stammberger (196-F) fueled the Tigers comeback, scoring six and five points respectively on a combined 4-4 from the field.
The Panthers' leading scorer at halftime was still Scott (10 points, four rebounds and three assists), despite being held scoreless in the second quarter.
Sven Stammberger's eight points led Dalhousie on 3-5 shooting, along with one three, two assists and two rebounds.
AUS first team all-star Ritchie Kanza Mata (184-G) scored just two points on 1-7 shooting but was able to contribute five assists, two steals and two rebounds in the first half.
UPEI was able to regain their lead and head to the locker room up 37-36 at the half.
The third quarter was tightly matched as neither team was willing to give the other an inch of space. Scott was able to find his stride again in the third quarter as he scored 11 points, shooting a perfect 4-4 from the field, including 3-3 from downtown.
The Tigers responded as Kashrell Lawrence (188-F) scored seven in the quarter on 2-4 from the field, aggressively attacking the paint and getting to the free throw line.
After 30 minutes of play Dalhousie took a 61-57 lead into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was an all-out battle as Kanza Mata, the fourth-year guard from Toronto, Ont., scored 15 of his team-high 21 points in the final 10 minutes.
UPEI's 6-foot-7 second-year guard, Milorad Sedlarevic (201-F-93) scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, keeping the Panthers within striking distance by hitting two big three-pointers late in the fourth.
However, Kanza Mata continued to relentlessly attack the rim, scoring several clutch buckets and free throws in the final moments of the game, helping the Tigers hold off a late Panthers rally, and securing them their second-straight AUS banner.
Kaza Mata was named the Subway Player of the Game with 21 points, eight assists, four rebounds and picking up a game-high five steals in 34 minutes on the floor.
Subway Player of the Game for the UPEI Panthers was Sedlarevic with 17 points (6-10 from the field) with four assists, three rebounds, one block and one steal in 28 minutes of play. Courtesy of Dalhousie basketball
Redmen cagers win provincial title, punch ticket to nationals - Mar 13, 2016
Team captain Vincent Dufort (193-SG) of Smiths Falls, Ont, led McGill with 21 points as the top-seeded Redmen captured their third Quebec crown in four years with a 78-67 victory over visiting UQAM, Saturday, at the RSEQ Final Four tournament, presented by Milk 2 Go Sport, before a sold-out, single-game record crowd of 848 at Love Competition Hall. The three-day tourney, drew 3,458 fans to the facility which has a seating capacity of 848. The Redmen not only claim the provincial banner, but also qualify to the CIS Final Eight national championship, which will take place in Vancouver, B.C., March 17-20. Dufort, a physical education student, shot 7-for-13 from the floor, including 1-for-3 from the three-point range, and sank six of eight free throw attempts. He pulled down eight rebounds, had a game-high six assists, and stole two balls. 'I can't describe it, it feels amazing,' said the 6-foot-4 shooting guard. 'It's just an amazing bunch of guys and it's so awesome to be able to win it for them and for coach. He does so much for our team, it's awesome to leave on a good note for him. 'I just decided there was no way I was going out losing in my home gym,' he continued, with regards to his stand-out performance. 'That's it, I just wasn't going to accept losing in front of that home crowd. I think sometimes when the team starts off a little bit slow, maybe they need somebody to look to to pick it up for them, and then they can feed off that. I was trying to be a bit more aggressive and take something on my shoulders, so then maybe they can follow after that.' Head coach David DeAveiro had plenty of praise for his fifth-year senior. 'I wanted to get Vinny off the floor,' he offered, explaining why Dufort was subbed out as the clock ran down. 'I wanted everyone to recognise him and what he's done for our program for five years. He deserved that ovation from the crowd.' Three other Redmen also reached double figures in scoring. Dele Ogundokun (188-G) of Hamilton, Ont., scored 15 points, nabbed five rebounds, and had four assists and two steals. He shot 4-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, and netted four of six free throws. Michael Peterkin (193-G/F) of Toronto grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and added 11 points. He was 5-for-8 from the floor and 1-for-3 from the line, and was credited with an assist and a steal. Jenning Leung (185-G), a 6-foot-1 guard from the Philippines, scored 13 points and brought down five rebounds. He shot 5-for-16 from the floor and sank three of nine treys, and had three assists and two steals. ' (Jenning and I) had a conversation today and I told him just to go home and visualize him making shots today,' said DeAveiro. 'He's been struggling a lot, I think putting way too much pressure on himself, so I just told him to go home and relax and visualize himself making big shots, being the point guard and leading his team to a championship, and he came through today.' The Citadins led 18-13 after the first quarter, but the Redmen picked it up in the second and took a 38-33 advantage into the half. They maintained a 56-52 edge after three before outscoring their guests 22-15 in the final frame. 'We got off to a pretty good start,' said UQAM head coach Nate Philippe. 'One of the things than McGill does extremely well is rebound the ball offensively, and that's when they started getting into a rhythm. There was a period where they got four or five offensive rebounds in a row in a three-minute spurt. A couple times we secured defensive rebounds and they deflected it out of our hands … When you give a very good team that many second opportunities, it's very tough.' Kewyn Blain (185-G-92) of St. Leonard, Que., led UQAM with 24 points and collected six rebounds. He was followed by Yassin Debache (208-C) of Tunisia with 14 points and a half-dozen rebounds, and Greishe Clerjuste (188-G-93) of Montreal, who registered 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds. 'That was very good team, a well-coached team,' commented DeAveiro. 'Nate's done an amazing job with his team. We knew we'd have a tough time controlling their guards because they're so good, they can score in so many ways. We had to change our defence up a couple times and give them a few different looks, and then we just started making shots again. That kind of changed the complexion of the game, and Noah Daoust (201-C-95) in there was blocking some shots and keeping Kewyn from getting to the rim, so I thought that made a big difference.' 'Credit goes to McGill and to David DeAveiro ,' added Philippe. 'It's a phenomenal program, and I'm rooting for them at nationals - they're going to represent the league well.' For his part, DeAveiro - whose players doused him with an ice bucket in celebration - deflected praise to his staff. 'You win these coach of the year awards,' he said, 'but people behind the scenes - your assistant coaches, your managers, your therapists - they never get enough credit. Without them, we don't have the success and I don't have the success. I can't tell you how hard my staff works. They're amazing, we wouldn't be here without them. They deserve a lot of credit, and they don't get it.' McGill had a 38-31 rebounding advantage and a 6-1 lead in blocks, while the Citadins took a 9-7 edge in steals. Both teams allowed 16 turnovers. The Redmen shot 43.1 per cent from the floor (28/65) and 9-for-24 from the three-point range for 37.5 per cent. They went 13-for-21 from the free throw line (61.9 per cent). UQAM shot 33.9 per cent (20/59), made five of 19 from beyond the arc for 26.3 per cent, and sank 22 of 25 opportunities from the stripe. McGill will open its Final Eight tournament on Thursday at the UBC Doug Mitchell Sports Centre. 'When you get to the nationals you're playing against the best teams in the country,' noted DeAveiro with an eye towards the championship. 'What we're going to do is get ready and prepare our team. I think our team believes that they belong in that championship and can play with the rest of the team in the country. I think we proved that early in our season.' 'It's going to take an entire team effort,' added Dufort. 'I think we have the talent to do it. If everyone comes together, we play hard on defence, and we trust each other, I think we can come home with it.'
Ryerson captures historic first title - Mar 13, 2016
Ryerson Rams basketball and OUA champs haven't exactly been uttered in the same sentence. But the words now resonate, the program elevated to the top of the provincial heap with a likely No. 1 seed heading into next week's nationals. It was an historic night at the historic footprint once known as Maple Leaf Gardens, a game where Ryerson made hoops history by winning the school's first OUA championship of any kind. A 73-68 win over Carleton is what the record books will show, but this game and this night won't be soon forgotten. History was made the fans, players and just about everyone else shoe-horned into the gym were privy to a Rams team that played with heart and poise, passion and desperation when the game threatened to get away. The atmosphere was pulsating, the pace frenetic, the competition intense. It was basketball at its finest as the teams saved their best for last. For Ryerson, it was their defence that picked it up. For the Ravens, it was their ability to make shots in the face of contested hands and a hostile crowd itching to explode. Makes, misses, lead changes, the final few minutes had it all in an ending for the ages. Every possession in the last two minutes loomed large, the importance intensifying in the final seconds. It was Ryerson's will, defence, the crowd, coaching, coming up with 50/50 balls, its second-half adjustment and approach, it was a thing of beauty. Oddly enough, it went from good and promising to bad and problematic for the Rams, a team that began well and then looked completely overmatched against the Ravens and their stifling defence. Had it not been for Aaron Best (193-G-92)'s offence, the Rams were poised to get run out of their gym, too perimeter happy, ill-equipped to keep Carleton off the glass. In the opening quarter, Ryerson had more turnovers (6) than makes (5). The Ravens were dominant on the boards, hauling down five offensive rebounds compared to none for Ryerson, allowing Carleton added possessions that would add up to eight more attempts from the field. With Best making shots and Ryerson able to get out and run, the hosts would lead 8-2. The next time Ryerson led would be early in the second quarter, a one-point lead that would quickly disappear. Big runs, including an 18-4 spurt to close out the opening half, big stops and some big-time shotmaking from Connor Wood (193-G) gave Carleton a 40-27 edge at the break. A 9-1 Carleton edge in offensive rebounds, 15 more attempts then the Rams, no Ryerson player reaching double digits in scoring, there were many telling stats. When they did penetrate Carleton's defence, Ryerson had a tough time finishing around the rim. When they did take that one-point lead, the Rams had no answer for Carleton's run. With few, or any, post options, the perimeter became Ryerson's home, but too many shots hit iron, too many possessions would lead to turnovers or an offence that began far too late in the shot clock. Ryerson did force more turnovers in the second quarter and they weren't as turnover-prone as they were to begin the game, small inroads that needed to be parlayed into points and not a deficit. The starters for both teams got the brunt of the minutes and touches, the benches combining for eight first-half points. Ryerson cut Carleton's lead to single digits by making stops, extending their defence, controlling the boards and containing Wood, a recipe that made it a 45-39 game with 6:31 to go in the third. The gym was teeming with pro-Ryerson fans who finally had a chance to let loose and go wild, the Coca-Cola Court complex convulsing when the lead was reduced to three points, 45-42. It was tied, 53-53, with 2:22 to go, the Rams fuelled by their defence, which forced Wood to the bench when he picked up his third foul. A Jean-Victor Mukama (203-G) tip-in gave Ryerson its first lead since early in the third. The quarter ended with the teams tied, 55-55.
Calgary Dinos win Canada West men's basketball title - Mar 13, 2016
The icing is not yet on the cake. But it's a pretty sweet dessert just the same. 'It's unbelievable,' said a grinning Matt Letkeman (198-F-92), a champion finally in his senior year. 'We train and practise every day, I've been here for six years, and this has always been the goal. This is the first time we've gotten this close. I'm so thankful, so happy.' On Saturday night at Jack Simpson Gym, the University of Calgary accomplished its first objective of this men's basketball season and that's win the conference - which they did in fairly convincing fashion, defeating the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack 91-84. It is Calgary's first Canada West crown since 2009 and the first one copped at home since the 1993 campaign. 'I don't know how to put it,' admitted Josh Owen-Thomas (185-PG-92), like Letkeman in his final year of eligibility. 'This is what you play for. We had a team that was able to put it together, such a deep team and such an important culture we were able to cultivate.' 'A lot of these guys have been here for four years and we've focused hard on building a family; trusting each other and building relationships that last,' echoed Letkeman. 'Today is a little bit of cake, a little bit of glory to go with it.' And it doesn't end here. The Dinos will now prepare for the CIS Final 8 national tournament in Vancouver next weekend, hoping to carry this momentum forward. 'Now is not the time for it (momentum) to stop,' said head coach Dan Vanhooren, 'and I think with the culture we have, it can (continue).' Conference MVP Thomas Cooper (196-G, college: Nebraska-Kearney) led the Dinos with 24 points, while Lars Schlueter (203-F-95) threw in 14. Gerard Gore was TRU's top scorer with 22 points, while 6-foot-7 Volodymyr Iegorov was a handful as he chipped in with 17. 'We had to deal with some mismatches for sure,' Vanhooren explained. 'Josh Wolfram (208-C-92) and Iegorov are both fantastic players and (Reese) Pribilsky is knocking down some shots. We had to deal with those match-ups and it worked out for the best.' TRU, based in Kamloops, was making its first appearance at the Final Four in just the 10th season competing in Canada West. And though the gold medal eluded them, they take home silver and will also make the short journey to Vancouver for the CIS tournament. The tilt began as the battle of the three-point heroics, as the teams combined for nine treys in the first quarter, five of them off the hands of Dinos' sharp-shooters. In the second frame, the Dinos kept up the assault, buoyed by some tenacious defence which resulted in very important turnovers and scores. The third quarter saw Calgary go up by 14 at one point, but the Wolfpack were undaunted by the challenge. They were aided by some inspirational play by big Iegorov from the Ukraine, a force both under the basket and from outside, and all of a sudden it was a four-point ball game with 10 minutes remaining. But on this night, Calgary would not be denied. When Schlueter hit a three-pointer wit 4:44 left, putting Calgary ahead by 11, it appeared everyone knew it would be a Dino night. 'It's everything,' insisted Letkeman. 'I'm just blessed we have the opportunity to do it. To go five more games with them is beautiful.' 'We just have to do what we've been doing all season,' added Owen-Thomas. 'Just focusing on the next game. When we've figured out who it is we're playing next, we'll go back to the drawing board and hopefully the results will be the same.' In the bronze medal game, the UBC Thunderbirds - who are hosting nationals - overwhelmed the Manitoba Bisons 101-72. After losing a heartbreaker to Calgary the previous night, the Bisons had nothing to play for as they're the only one of the four teams which would not advance to the CIS tournament. UBC's Conor Morgan (203-G/F-94) topped all scorers with 28 points, while Keith Omoerah had a baker's dozen for Manitoba.
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