HALIFAX (ISN) – The top-seeded and defending champion Carleton University Ravens survived a scare in their tournament opener on Friday afternoon but finally outscored the No. 8 Acadia Axemen 82-68 in the second quarter-final match of the 50th CIS men’s basketball championship, presented by Subway.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb/index
The OUA champion Ravens, now 32-0 overall on the season against CIS competition, advance to Saturday’s first national semifinal at 6 p.m. Atlantic, where they will face the No. 5 Fraser Valley Cascades.
The AUS champion Axemen will resume play on the consolation side of the draw and are set to take on No. 4 Lakehead Saturday at noon AT. Acadia was eliminated in the first round for the second straight year.
The 14-point margin of victory is the second lowest of the campaign for Carleton against CIS opponents. Only Lakehead had fared better this year against the powerhouse from Ottawa, losing 88-85 in conference play.
The win was the 21st in a row for Carleton in CIS championship games played at the Metro Centre. The Ravens, who have claimed seven of the last nine national banners and are looking for a record-tying W.P. McGee title, haven’t lost at the Halifax arena since a 78-77 first-round setback against McMaster in 2001.
The final score on Friday doesn’t reflect how close the duel was, especially in the second half. After jumping to a 27-11 first-quarter advantage and leading 45-30 after 20 minutes, the Ravens were outscored 22-11 in the third frame and were holding on to a slim 56-52 lead heading into the final quarter.
Acadia was still trailing by only five points, 65-60, with seven minutes left before Carleton started to pull away, ending the contest on a 17-8 run.
“We’re not surprised by how tough they played us. They’re a very good team,” said Carleton head coach Dave Smart, who was named CIS coach of the year for a record fifth time prior to the tournament. “The way they played last week to beat StFX in the AUS final, I thought they were coming in here playing as well as any team in the country.”
“I’m really proud of my guys,” said Acadia sideline boss Stephen Baur. “We just found ourselves in too big a hole early on. Carleton is too good a team to give them such a lead.”
It is said that big players have to make big plays in big games, and it was certainly true for Carleton on the day.
Named the CIS player of the year on Thursday night, Phil Scrubb, a sophomore guard from Richmond, B.C., earned player-of-the-game honours for the winning side thanks to his match-high 25 points, including 21 on 7-of-12 shooting from three-point range. Scrubb led the country this season with a remarkable 57 per cent success rate from beyond the arc.
Tyson Hinz of Ottawa, named to the first all-Canadian team this season after being voted the CIS MVP a year ago, had a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double, while fifth-year veteran Elliot Thompson of Fredericton scored 16, including 12 on three-pointers in the fourth quarter.
“I think it was great for us to be tested like that in our first game,” Scrubb said. “We found ourselves outside of our comfort zone for a while. But the important thing is we played well when the pressure was on.”
Tyler Scott, a freshman from Halifax, was named game MVP for Acadia after scoring 13 points. Anthony Ashe of Stittsville, Ont., also netted 13, while Jonathan Bull of Ajax, Ont., and Anthony Sears of Riverview, N.B., contributed 10 points apiece.
“We didn’t consider ourselves a number eight seed. We knew we’d have to play Carleton eventually if we were to win the championship, so why not face them right off the bat,” said rookie guard Sean Stoqua of Ottawa, who led the AUS champs with five assists. “To be honest, I think we could have played even better. But hats off to them. They’re a great team.
Early on, the Ravens looked like the team that had outscored CIS opponents by an average of 37.6 points this season. Hinz scored eight of his team’s first 12 points as Carleton built an early 12-5 lead. He added four more points before the end of the opening quarter to guide his troops to the commanding 27-11 advantage after 10 minutes.
In the second, it was the Phil Scrubb Show, with the player of the year netting 14 points, including 12 from long distance.
Tull reduced the Acadia deficit to single digit for the first time in the second half with four minutes remaining in the third, when his two free throws made it a 49-41 affair. Sears scored on a layup with just over two minutes left in the period to cap off an 8-0 run for the Axemen and cut the Carleton lead to 49-45.
In the fourth, Tull once again went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe to make it 65-60 with 6:50 left on the clock, but that’s as close as Acadia would come to the improbable upset.
Thompson took over from there and nailed a mind-boggling four three-pointers in a span of 2:07 to put the game out of reach.
Overall, Carleton out-rebounded its rivals 45-38 and was successful on 42.9 per cent of its field goal attempts, including a 30.6 success rate from beyond the arc. Acadia was 37.1 per cent from the floor, including 27.3 per cent from long distance.
Points: Phil Scrubb (25), Tyson Hinz (22), Elliot Thompson (16)
Rebounds: Tyson Hinz (10), Phil Scrubb (7), Cole Hobin (7)
Assists: Cole Hobin (5), Tyson Hinz (4)
Subway player of the game: Phil Scrubb
Points: Tyler Scott (13), Anthony Ashe (13), Jonathan Tull (10), Anthony Sears (10)
Rebounds: Owen Klassen (8), Anthony Sears (5)
Assists: Sean Stoqua (5)
Subway player of the game: Tyler Scott