HALIFAX (ISN) – The top-seeded Carleton University Ravens will have a chance to capture a record-tying eighth W.P. McGee Trophy on Sunday thanks to an 83-65 win over the No. 5 Fraser Valley Cascades in the first semifinal of the 50th CIS men’s basketball championship, presented by Subway, on Saturday evening.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb/index
In Sunday’s gold medal match at 4:30 p.m. Atlantic, live on EastLink TV and ssncanada.ca, the Ravens will face either No. 2 Alberta or No. 6 StFX.
Carleton, 7-0 all-time in national finals, claimed its seventh CIS banner in nine years in 2011 thanks to a convincing 82-59 victory against Trinity Western.
Fraser Valley, making its first-ever Final 8 appearance this weekend in only its sixth CIS season, will play for bronze at 11:15 a.m. AT.
It wasn’t easy early on for Carleton, now 33-0 overall on the campaign versus Canadian university opponents. The Ravens led only 16-12 after the first quarter and 31-27 at halftime before dominating the third frame 28-16 to build a comfortable 59-43 cushion after 30 minutes.
Both teams struggled before the break, with the OUA champions shooting 36.7 per cent from the field, compared to 35.5 for the Canada West bronze medallists. It was a different story in the third however as the Carleton sharp shooters finally warmed up and were good on 10 of 20 field goal attempts, including 5-of-11from three-point range.
“We’re going to have to play better and shoot better tomorrow if we’re going to have a chance,” said Carleton’s Dave Smart, the five-time CIS coach of the year. “They did a great job taking us out of our comfort zone in the first half. Our defence kept us in the game while our offence struggled.”
“No need to make excuses. They were just better than us tonight. They’re a great team,” said Fraser Valley head coach Barnaby Craddock. “The third quarter was the difference. We played ok and battled hard in the first half, but so did they. I don’t think either team had a great first half. But in the third they started to hit their stride and we weren’t able to keep up.”
Carleton was led by an unlikely hero in Thomas Scrubb, a sophomore forward from Richmond, B.C., whose brother Phil was voted the CIS player of the year before the championship. Thomas earned ravens game-MVP honours following a 16-point performance, including 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
“My shot felt good tonight. Last night I didn’t shoot well at all, so it couldn’t get any worse,” said Scrubb, who made only one field goal in five attempts in Friday’s quarter-final win over Acadia and finished with two points. “I think our depth made the difference today. We’re very deep, and I think we wore them down in the second half.”
Carleton’s bench outscored Fraser Valley’s 40 to 19.
Four other Ravens scored in double figures including brother Phil Scrubb, who had a game-high 18, Willy Manigat of Ottawa, with 16, first-team all-Canadian Tyson Hinz of Ottawa, with 13, and Cole Hobin of Ashton, Ont., with 12.
Toronto native Kevin Churchill was the game’s top rebounder with 11 boards as Carleton was out-rebounded for a rare time this season, 38-37.
Joel Friesen, a third-year guard from Abbotsford, B.C., paced the Cascades with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists en route to UFV player-of-the-game honours. Forward Kyle Grewal of Surrey, B.C., had 11 points in the loss.
The closely contested first half featured three lead changes and as many ties.
Fraser Valley tied the affair for the last time at 33 all three minutes into the third quarter on a James York three-pointer, but it was all Carleton from there.
Hinz responded with a three-point basket of his own, and Phil Scrubb made it 39-33 with a bucket and a foul shot. Thomas Scrubb then scored eight of the Ravens’ next 11 points, including a pair of treys, and all of a sudden it was a 13-point game, at 50-37.
Leading by 16 going into the fourth, Carleton went up by 20 when Hobin scored from up close with 7:28 left to make it 67-47. Hobin gave the champs there biggest lead of the night four minutes later when his layup pushed the score to 76-51.
Overall, Carleton shot 43.5 per cent from the field (27-62), including 35.0 from three-point range (14-40), while Fraser Valley kept success rates of 38.6 (22-57) and 29.6 (8-27).
Scoring by quarter:
CAR 16-15-28-24: 83
RYE 12-15-16-22: 65
Points: Phil Scrubb (18), Thomas Scrubb (16), Willy Manigat (15)
Rebounds: Kevin Churchill (11), Cole Hobin (5)
Assists: Phil Scrubb (9)
Subway player of the game: Thomas Scrubb
Points: Joel Friesen (13), Kyle Grewal (11)
Rebounds: Jasper Moedt (8), Joel Friesen (5), Jordan Blackman (5)
Assists: Joel Friesen (5)
Subway player of the game: Joel Friesen