Ottawa, ON- Casey Dulson recaps the men’s basketball semi-finals from the national championships in Ottawa.
Carleton Ravens vs Western Mustangs
The number one seed and tournament favorite, Carleton Ravens played the Western Mustangs in a rematch of the Wilson Cup finals. The last time, the two schools faced each other in national semi-finals was in 2009 where the Mustangs lost 66-65. This national semi-final was different as the Ravens advanced to the title game with a 90-63 win and are looking to win their 15th national title.
The Ravens started the game out strong leading 10-0 early, highlighted by a three-pointer by a third-year guard, Alain Louis. Twice in the quarter, the Mustangs were down by ten points and cut the lead. Ravens led 21-14 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Mustangs at the half-way point continued to chip away at the Ravens lead and got it to three-points after Eriq Jenkins hit back to back baskets. The Ravens increased their lead heading into halftime with a score of 43-31.
The third quarter saw the Ravens increase their dramatic lead as fifth-year guard, Yasin Joseph and Isiah Oborne both had two three-pointers in the quarter which increased the Ravens lead to 72-40. The fourth quarter saw more of the same as the Ravens continued to knock down shots from downtown as Osborne hit another three-pointer in the final quarter; second-year guard Connor Vreeken and fifth-year guard, Stanley Mayambo joined in the three-pointer frenzy.
The Ravens had four players in double-figures including Isiah Osborne who had double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds coming off the bench. The Mustangs were led bu Eriq Jenkins who had 13 points and five rebounds in the loss.
“They came out strong and are the best team in the country plus are defending champions and we got down little bit and really couldn’t get out of the hole,” said Jenkins.
The Ravens had 53 points from their bench in the win.
“Our depth has been something that has carried us through injuries however during the regular season, we were able to spread out the minutes with less risk of injury which has been big key for us and it is a product of depth that was able to perform tonight,” said Ravens head coach, Taffe Charles.
Dalhousie Tigers vs. University of British Colombia Thunderbirds
In the second semi-final of the night, the number two seed and AUS champions, the Dalhousie Tigers took on the number three-seed and Canada-West champions, UBC Thunderbirds faced off for a chance to play the Ravens in the championship game. In the end, the Tigers advanced to their first-ever- national championship game appearance with an 84-55 win.
In the first quarter started with a bang as Thunderbirds fifth-year guard, Manroop Clair scored the game’s first points on a three-pointer, he would go on to hit two more threes in the quarter.
It was an evenly matched quarter as thre were three-ties in the quarter however a late three-pointer by Tigers fourth-year guard, Alex Carson gave the Tigers a 17-15 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, The Tigers went on an 8-0 run which included another three-pointer by Carson. The Thunderbirds went cold for five minutes which saw the Tigers increase their lead to 12-points heading into half-time, 41-29.
The third-quarter saw the Tigers continued to increase their lead to 13-points as they knocked down four three-pointers in the quarter including yet another one by Carson.
The final quarter saw Tigers shut down the Thunderbirds completely, holding them to seven-points which all came from fifth-year guard, Jadon Cohee who finished the night with nineteen points.
“We do not worry about the offence as much as we do about our the defence which has been our team motto which we have preached from October and our defence is what carried us tonight,” said Tigers forward, Sascha Kappos who had 19 points and seven rebounds in the victory.
Tigers fourth-year guard, Alex Carson finished the night with 19 points including going 4/7 from beyond the arc. He also had four rebounds.
The Tigers have been preparing for this championship run since last April after exams.
“We try to get on the road early and we also tried to get three tournament games so the players can understand what it takes to win three games in back to back days on the road and often times in hostile environment,” said Tigers head coach, Rick Plato.
Rick Plato’s first-ever U Sports opponent was the Carleton Ravens who beat them by 40-points seven years ago at home.“People said to me, I guess it is tough one to take and (I said) nope, they are the best and that who the best is and it took us seven years to get this group to believe and work to get to this point,”.