CONSOLATION #1 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men’s basketball championship: Marauders down SMU, end season on winning note

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Photos | Recap | Box Score

Final 1 2 3 4 T
McMaster 28 19 26 25 98
Saint Mary’s 18 19 25 9 71
CANADIAN TIRE CENTER
McMaster Saint Mary’s
Pts: Leon Alexander – 23 Pts: Theon Reefer – 17
Reb: Leon Alexander – 10 Reb: Harry Ezenibe – 8
Ast: 3 Players (#13, #4, #25 – 3) Ast: Boyd Vassell – 7
Team Statistics McMaster Saint Mary’s
Field Goal % 48.4% (30-62) 37.1% (26-70)
Rebounds 43 36
Assists 18 13
Turnovers 15 20
Pts off Turnovers 22 14
2nd Chance Pts 10 5
Pts in the Paint 34 36
Fastbreak Pts 4 4
Bench Pts 51 14

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Courtesy of host organizing committee / Photo creditPhoto credit Valerie Wutti

OTTAWA (CIS) – In the first consolation game of theArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men’s basketball championship, theseventh-seeded McMaster University Marauders beat the No. 6 SaintMary’s University Huskies by a score of 98-71 Saturdayafternoon at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Marauders coach Amos Connolly said even though it was aconsolation game, it was important to his team.

“We didn’t want to play the game like wedidn’t want to be there – we wanted to play like wedidn’t belong there,” he said.

There is no consolation final this year at the tournament– something Connolly finds upsetting.

“Do I think it’s a good idea to have a consolationgame without a consolation final? No, I don’t,” hesaid. “But when you’re in it, you have to find a way tocreate meaning.”

McMaster, the OUA bronze medallists, opened up a 10-point leadafter the first quarter and managed to maintain an 11-point leadthrough three quarters before pulling away in the fourth and finalframe, outscoring the AUS champions 25-9 over the final 10minutes.

The Marauders were paced on both ends of the court by first-yearforward Leon Alexander, who was named his team’s player ofthe game. He registered a double-double with game-highs of 23points 10 rebounds in 29 minutes on the floor.

He said his team was motivated by being seeded lower than theHuskies.

“We thought we should definitely be seeded higher thanseven, but we took what we got,” he said.

Connolly said his coaching staff used their team’s seedingto push his team at the tournament.

“When you’re dealing with the 20-year-old mind…you use whatever you can to motivate it,” he said.

The Huskies provided plenty of highlight-reel plays for those inattendance, with second-year guard Theon Reefer throwing down twohuge alley-oops as part of his team-high 17 points.

But the Marauders were the better shooting team in the contest,shooting 48.4 per cent from the floor and 36.8 per cent fromthree-point territory. Both of those totals were just over 10percentage points higher than the Huskies in the samecategories.

Another reason McMaster was successful was playing with morediscipline – seen in the difference in free throws, with theMarauders going to the charity strike 21 more times than theHuskies on the afternoon.

The Saint Mary’s loss marked the final game of HarryEzenibe’s five-year CIS career, and the Nigerian native ledhis team with eight rebounds.

Ezenibe said this game was emotionally difficult for him notonly because it was the last time he put on a Huskies uniform– but it marked the two-year anniversary since his sisterpassed away.

“I just told everyone to have fun because that’swhat my sister would’ve wanted me to do,” he said.“To have the last game of my university career, especially onthe same day that she passed away, it was a special day forme.”

This season, he was named the Ken Shields Award winner forbasketball, academics, and community service among CIS men’sbasketball players. Ezenibe said it was an honour to be therecipient of such an award, especially to cap off his Huskiescareer.

The game featured the two teams who have had the longestdroughts in reaching the national championships.

McMaster’s last tournament appearance came in 2006, wherethey placed fifth. Saint Mary’s had not made it to nationalssince 2008, finishing in a tie for seventh.

Huskies coach Jonah Taussig, only in his second season as theHuskies coach, said making it to the Final Eight shows how far hisprogram has come.

“We’re proud to be AUS champions, and there are onlyfour teams in the country that can say they won a championship thisyear,” he said. “We had a good year and we’rehappy about it, but we’re disappointed right nowthough.”

Connolly took over the McMaster program four years ago, and saidhe is pleased with the progress he’s witnessed over thatspan. But he said his team needs to do better in the OUA playoffsto perform better at the tournament in the future.

“It’s indicative we’re on track with a plan,but I’m not happy with not winning yesterday,” he said.“The lesssons learned from this are we don’t want to gointo national tournaments ranked sixth or seventh or eighth –we want to go into national tournaments ranked in the top-four ifwe can.”

STATLEADERS

MAC: 28-19-26-25: 98
SMU: 18-19-25-9: 71

McMaster
Points: Leon Alexander (23), Joe Rocca (19), NathanMcCarthy (17)
Rebounds: Leon Alexander (10), Nathan McCarthy (8)
Assists: Nathan McCarthy (3), Adam Presutti (3), Trevon McNeil(3)

Player of the game: Leon Alexander

Saint Mary’s
Points: Theon Reefer (17), Boyd Vassell (16), Riley Halpin(10)
Rebounds: Harry Ezenibe (8)
Assists: Boyd Vassell (7)

Player of the game: Boyd Vassell

CHAMPIONSHIPSCHEDULE (all times EASTERN TIME)

Friday, March 7
12:30 Quarter-final 1: Alberta 72, Saint Mary’s62
14:30 Quarter-final 2: Carleton 82, McMaster 64
17:30 Quarter-final 3: Victoria 63, McGill 54
20:00 Quarter-final 4: Ottawa 94, Saskatchewan 73

Saturday, March 8
12:30 Consolation 1: McMaster 98, Saint Mary’s71
14:30 Consolation 2: No. 5 McGill vs. No. 8 Saskatchewan (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Semifinal 1: No. 3 Alberta vs. No. 2 Carleton (Sportsnet 360/ www.CIS-SIC.tv *)
20:00 Semifinal 2: No. 4 Victoria vs. No. 1 Ottawa (Sportsnet 360 /www.CIS-SIC.tv *)

Sunday, March 9
10:30 Bronze (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
14:00 Final (Sportsnet / www.CIS-SIC.tv *)

* The webcast of all 3 televised games (semifinals & final)will be on pay-per-view basis.

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body ofuniversity sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and700 coaches from 55 universities and four regional associations viefor 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS alsoprovides high performance international opportunities for Canadianstudent-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well asnumerous world university championships. For further information,visit www.cis-sic.ca or followus on:

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