PREVIEW 2015 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men’s basketball championship: Ravens, Scrubb brothers aim for fifth straight McGee Trophy

95

Mar 10, 2015

OTTAWA (CIS) – The top-seeded Carleton University Ravens hope to five-peat as CIS men’s basketball champions for the second time in program history later this week at the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Final 8 in Toronto.

Ryerson University hosts the 2015 tournament at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The eight-team competition, which is staged in Toronto for the first time, gets underway Thursday and culminates Sunday at 3 p.m. with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet ONE.

Saturday’s semifinals are also live on Sportsnet 360 (6 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.), while all other games from the tourney are set to air on Rogers TV, Rogers TV Sports + and Super Sports Pak. All 11 contests will also be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

Joining the newly-crowned OUA champion Ravens in their quest for the W.P. McGee Trophy will be the second-seeded Windsor Lancers (OUA finalists), No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (OUA bronze medallists), No. 4 Victoria Vikes (Canada West champs), No. 5 Dalhousie Tigers (AUS champs), No. 6 Bishop’s Gaiters (RSEQ champs), No. 7 Ryerson Rams (OUA 4th-place finishers) and No. 8 Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West finalists).

Thursday’s quarter-final matchups include Saskatchewan vs. Carleton in the opener at 11 a.m., followed by Dalhousie vs. Victoria at 1 p.m., host Ryerson vs. Windsor at 6 p.m., as well as Bishop’s vs. Ottawa in the 8 p.m. nightcap.

Carleton earned No. 1 status following a resounding 103-59 win over Windsor in last Saturday’s OUA final. The Ravens, who show a 26-2 overall mark versus CIS opponents this season, not only aim to replicate their five-year championship run from 2003 to 2007, they also hope to add to their own record collection of 10 national titles overall.

As they have done for over a decade, the Ravens dominated at both ends of the court in conference play, posting the best defensive record in the country (56.4 points per game) while ranking third on offence (91.1). Their undisputed leaders are of course the Scrubb brothers, fifth-year seniors Philip and Thomas, who could join only three players who have won five CIS men’s basketball rings, an elite group that currently includes former Carleton standout Osvaldo Jeanty as well as Eli Pasquale and David Sheehan from UVic’s dynasty in the 1980s. Philip is the only three-time recipient of the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as CIS player of the year, Thomas is in the running to repeat as the best defensive player in the nation, and both are former CIS tournament MVPs.

“We lost so much in terms of leadership and talent last year and really had to redefine how we played after losing Kevin (Churchill) and Tyson (Hinz) to graduation,” said 16-year head coach Dave Smart, who has been named the CIS coach of the year a record seven times. “We were pretty much a low post team and now we’ve had to redefine how we play. I’m happy with how our guys have responded and how they’ve bought in.

“We’ve got a long way to go. It’s going to be tough. The team with the best record in the country, Ottawa, just came off a disappointing loss at home at the OUA Final Four, so they’re highly motivated. The second or third best team in the country is playing at home this week, so they’re going to be highly motivated as well. For us, we’ve got to keep going in the same direction we’ve been going and play the games. Someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose. We’ll try to win.”

While the second-seeded Lancers didn’t look their best in the OUA championship match, they did accomplish a rare feat this season by defeating both Carleton – 74-71 on Jan. 23 – and Ottawa – 85-80 in the OUA semis. In its quest for a first national semifinal berth since 1973, Windsor faces a tough opening-round test in host Ryerson.

“We have competed at a high level this year beating ranked teams and making our way through a ridiculously difficult OUA schedule,” said bench boss Chris Oliver, whose troops lost 98-78 to the Rams at the Mattamy Centre back on Nov. 15 on their way to a 15-5 league mark. “Now we are excited for the opportunity to compete on the highest stage of CIS basketball and see how we will respond to the challenge ahead.”

Third-seeded Ottawa quickly rebounded after losing to Windsor on home court in the OUA semis with a 79-66 win over Ryerson in the bronze medal match, thanks in large part to OUA scoring leader Johnny Berhanemeskel (23.2 ppg), who exploded for 39 points. The victory cemented the Final 8 at-large berth for the Gee-Gees, who posted a CIS-best 18-1 mark in league play, reached the top of the national rankings for the first time in program history last month, and whose 29-2 overall record against CIS opposition includes an 80-66 preseason win over first-round opponent Bishop’s back on Oct. 24.

“We are thrilled to be receiving the wildcard and to be returning to nationals for the third year in a row,” said head coach James Derouin, who led the nation’s top-scoring program to its first-ever appearance in the CIS final a year ago. “In the CIS, you know going into the season that every single game could count at the end because of the wildcard. We fought hard every night and it paid off. We are looking forward to the nationals being hosted by Ryerson who did an incredible job with the OUA Final Four the last two seasons. It should be a great event.”

After falling in the Canada West final each of the past two years, No. 4 Victoria heads to its third straight CIS tournament but this time as conference champion thanks to a thrilling 70-67 gold-medal win over Saskatchewan last Saturday. The Vikes are led by fifth-year post Chris McLaughlin, the 6-foot-10 Canada West MVP, who averaged 19.8 points and 10.0 rebounds during the regular schedule.

“We are excited to be back at nationals. Any time you are one of eight teams still playing at this time of the year you are happy,” said head coach Craig Beaucamp, whose program ranks second all-time to Carleton with eight McGee Trophy triumphs. “Everyone at the tournament has had to win some big games to get this far. This year the tournament is deep and should prove to be very competitive every round.”

The No. 5 and No. 6 spots in this week’s draw belong to a pair of teams that played .500 ball in conference play but got hot at the right time to claim their conference banner.

The fifth-seeded Dalhousie Tigers finished fifth in the Atlantic with a 10-10 record, including a 5-9 mark after Christmas, but posted three straight upset wins at the AUS championship, capped by an OT triumph against Saint Mary’s in the final.

For their part, the Bishop’s Gaiters went 8-8 in the regular season, good for third place in Quebec, but took full advantage of hosting the RSEQ Final Four and scored back-to-back upsets versus Laval and McGill to capture their first conference title since 1999.

“This season has really been a roller coaster,” said Dalhousie sideline boss Rick Plato, whose team overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit in the AUS title match. “With eight new faces, we had to rely on four third-year players for leadership, which led us to a 5-1 regular season record at the end of the first half. After losing two players to season-ending injuries, we struggled in the second. This team is a sum of its parts and relies on grit, determination and a never quit attitude, which is what got us to the national stage and will provide us with continued success.”

“I think our whole season has been a struggle,” said Rod Gilpin, who coached Bishop’s women’s program for 14 years before taking over the men’s team in 2008. “We had high expectations for this veteran group. We battled a lot of injuries, played a tough schedule and dealt with a lot of uncertainties around our new building. It has taken us a lot longer than we had hoped but we came together at the right time. I’m still not sure we have peaked yet, I’m hoping we can continue to improve as we prepare for the Final 8.”

Tournament host Ryerson has only four losses in 30 CIS games this season, all against powerhouses Carleton (2) and Ottawa (2). Led by sensational fifth-year guard Jahmal Jones, the Rams proved they could compete with the best last Friday in a four-point OUA semifinal loss to the top-ranked Ravens, as they held the lead for most of the second half before the champs took over in the final four minutes.

“We are looking forward to hosting the top teams in the country at Ryerson and to the city of Toronto this week,” said head coach Roy Rana, whose team is 5-0 this season against Final 8-bound Windsor, Dalhousie, Bishop’s and Saskatchewan. “It’s an exciting time for our program and city and we’re ready to compete for a national championship on our home court. We know there’s lots of work to be done but we’ll be prepared come Thursday. This is the final opportunity for our seniors to play at home and to go out with a national title would be an incredible testament to the work they’ve put in over the past five years.”

One of the most consistent teams in the country in recent years, Saskatchewan earned the eighth seed for the second straight season and hopes for a better result that in 2014, when the Huskies dropped a 94-73 decision to Ottawa in the first round. The Saskatoon squad was 3-0 against UVic this season before a heartbreaking loss on home court to the Vikes in the Canada West final.

“The Huskies are honoured to be able to represent the Canada West at the CIS championship,” said five-year head coach Barry Rawlyk, who is coaching in his third Final 8. “Playing in this championship was one of our major goals from the start of the year, and to be able to achieve this goal is truly a reward for all of the hard work and commitment our players have put in this season. To be able to play against the nation’s best teams is something our student-athletes are looking forward to.”

NOTES: All Wednesday practices at the Mattamy Athletic Centre are open to the media, starting at 9 a.m (detailed schedule below)… The All-Canadian Awards Show & Gala is set for Wednesday evening at Uniun Nightclub (473 Adelaide St. West).

PARTICIPATING TEAMS

NO. 1 CARLETON RAVENS

Media Guide (PDF 10.2 MB)

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Dave Smart (16th season)
Regular season record: 17-2
Regular season standing: 2nd OUA North
Playoff record: 3-0
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 26-2
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 4-2 (1-1 vs. WIN, 1-1 OTT, 1-0 VIC, 1-0 BIS)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 1
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (9 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 3rd (91.1)
National ranking (defence): 1st (56.4)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Thomas Scrubb (defensive MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Thomas Scrubb (F), Philip Scrubb (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Connor Wood (G)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Thomas Scrubb (17.2), Philip Scrubb (16.6)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Thomas Scrubb (7.6)
Season leader (assists per game): Philip Scrubb (4.5)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 18th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 36-10 (.783)
Best result: 10-time champions (2011-2014, 2009, 2003-2007)
Last appearance: 2014 (champions)
Sequence: 13th straight appearance
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 0-0

NO. 2 WINDSOR LANCERS

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Chris Oliver (10th season)
Regular season record: 15-5
Regular season standing: 1st OUA West
Playoff record: 3-1
Playoff finish: OUA finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 24-6
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 2-3 (1-1 vs. CAR, 1-1 OTT, 0-1 RYE)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 5
Top 10 best ranking: No. 4 (poll #3)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 7th (86.6)
National ranking (defence): 18th (75.0)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Mitch Farrell (G)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (20.2), Mitch Farrell (13.1)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (11.5)
Season leader (assists per game): Khalid Abdel-Gabar (2.8)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 17th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 17-18 (.486)
Best result: 5-time champions (1969, 1967, 1966, 1964, 1963)
Last appearance: 2010 (6th place)
Sequence: Return after 4-year absence
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 0-0

NO. 3 OTTAWA GEE-GEES

Media Guide (PDF 9.4 MB)

Team Statistics
Head Coach: James Derouin (5th season)
Regular season record: 18-1
Regular season standing: 1st OUA North
Playoff record: 2-1
Playoff finish: OUA bronze medallists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 29-2
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 6-2 (1-1 vs. CAR, 1-1 WIN, 1-0 DAL, 1-0 BIS, 2-0 RYE)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 2
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (4 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 1st (94.5)
National ranking (defence): 7th (69.2)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Johnny Berhanemeskel (MVP), James Derouin (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Johnny Berhanemeskel (G), Caleb Agada (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue (F)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Johnny Berhanemeskel (23.2), Caleb Agada (15.8)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Caleb Agada (7.9)
Season leader (assists per game): Mike L’Africain (4.8)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 9th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 12-10 (.545)
Best result: Finalists (2014)
Last appearance: 2014 (finalists)
Sequence: 3rd straight appearance
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 0-2 (1 appearance)

NO. 4 VICTORIA VIKES

Media Guide (PDF 9.7 MB)

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Craig Beaucamp (12th season)
Regular season record: 15-5
Regular season standing: 2nd Canada West Pioneer Division
Playoff record: 4-0
Playoff finish: Canada West champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 23-8
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 2-4 (0-1 vs. CAR, 1-0 BIS, 1-3 SSK)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 7
Top 10 best ranking: No. 5 (poll #7)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 16th (78.6)
National ranking (defence): 10th (70.9)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Chris McLaughlin (MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Chris McLaughlin (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference 3rd team all-stars: Marcus Tibbs (PG)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Chris McLaughlin (19.8), Marcus Tibbs (17.1)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Chris McLaughlin (10.0)
Season leader (assists per game): Marcus Tibbs (5.1)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 24th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 38-21 (.644)
Best result: 8-time champions (1997, 1980 to 1986)
Last appearance: 2014 (4th place)
Sequence: 3rd straight appearance
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 8-0 (4 appearances)

NO. 5 DALHOUSIE TIGERS

Media Guide (PDF 1.4 MB)

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Rick Plato (2nd season)
Regular season record: 10-10
Regular season standing: 5th AUS
Playoff record: 3-0
Playoff finish: AUS champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 13-14
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-2 (0-1 vs. OTT, 0-1 RYE)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): Unranked
Top 10 best ranking: Unranked all season
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 0
National ranking (offence): 18th (77.6)
National ranking (defence): 23rd (76.9)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Ritchie Kanza Mata (defensive MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Kashrell Lawrence (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: Sean Dodds (G)
Season leaders (points per game): Kashrell Lawrence (18.1), Jarred Reid (13.6)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Kashrell Lawrence (7.4)
Season leader (assists per game): Ritchie Kanza Mata (7.0)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 4th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 1-6 (.143)
Best result: 6th place (2011)
Last appearance: 2011 (6th place)
Sequence: Return after 3-year absence
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 0-6 (3 appearances)

NO. 6 BISHOP’S GAITERS

Media Guide (PDF 4.9 MB)

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Rod Gilpin (7th season)
Regular season record: 8-8
Regular season standing: 3rd RSEQ
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: RSEQ champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 10-15
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-5 (0-1 vs. CAR, 0-1 OTT, 0-1 VIC, 0-2 RYE)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): Unranked
Top 10 best ranking: Unranked all season
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 0
National ranking (offence): 40th (69.1)
National ranking (defence): 3rd (65.5)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Kyle Desmarais (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Matt McLean (F)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Kyle Desmarais (14.4), Mike Andrews (11.6)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Majid Naji (7.9)
Season leader (assists per game): Kyle Desmarais (3.0)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 7th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 7-9 (.438)
Best result: 1-time champions (1998)
Last appearance: 1999 (6th place)
Sequence: Return after 15-year absence
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 0-0

NO. 7 RYERSON RAMS

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Roy Rana (6th season)
Regular season record: 17-2
Regular season standing: 1st OUA East
Playoff record: 1-2
Playoff finish: 4th OUA
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 26-4
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 5-4 (0-2 vs. CAR, 1-0 WIN, 0-2 OTT, 1-0 DAL, 2-0 BIS, 1-0 SSK)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 3
Top 10 best ranking: No. 3 (all 13 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 4th (89.3)
National ranking (defence): 4th (65.9)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Bjorn Michaelsen (Ken Shields Award nominee)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Jahmal Jones (G), Aaron Best (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Adika Peter-McNeilly (G)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Jahmal Jones (17.2), Aaron Best (14.6)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Kadeem Green (6.8)
Season leader (assists per game): Jahmal Jones (5.4)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 3rd
All-time record (not including Regionals): 1-4 (.200)
Best result: 6th place (2012)
Last appearance: 2012 (6th place)
Sequence: Return after 2-year absence
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 0-0

NO. 8 SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES

Media Guide (PDF 12.7 MB)

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Barry Rawlyk (5th season)
Regular season record: 15-5
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Pioneer Division
Playoff record: 3-2
Playoff finish: Canada West finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 23-9
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 3-2 (0-1 vs. RYE, 3-1 VIC)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 6
Top 10 best ranking: No. 5 (poll #10)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 10th (83.4)
National ranking (defence): 21st (76.4)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Ben Baker (defensive MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: None
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Matthew Forbes (F)
Conference 3rd team all-stars: Dadrian Collins (F)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Dadrian Collins (15.2), Matthew Forbes (13.4)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Ben Baker (7.7)
Season leader (assists per game): Ben Baker (4.1)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 8th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 9-10 (.474)
Best result: 1-time champions (2010)
Last appearance: 2014 (5th place)
Sequence: 2nd straight appearance
Regionals record (1983 to 1986): 2-2 (2 appearances)

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

Wednesday, March 11 (practices at Mattamy Centre: OPEN TO MEDIA)
9:00 Saskatchewan
10:00 Carleton
11:00 Dalhousie
12:00 Victoria
13:00 Ryerson
14:00 Windsor
15:00 Bishop’s
16:00 Ottawa

18:00 All-Canadian Awards Show & Gala (Uniun Nightclub – 473 Adelaide St. West)

Thursday, March 12
11:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 8 Saskatchewan vs. No. 1 Carleton (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
13:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 5 Dalhousie vs. No. 4 Victoria (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 7 Ryerson vs. No. 2 Windsor (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 6 Bishop’s vs. No. 3 Ottawa (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

Friday, March 13
14:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
16:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

Saturday, March 14
14:00 5th-place game (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
18:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **
20:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **

Sunday, March 15
11:30 Bronze (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
15:00 Final (Sportsnet 360 & ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **

* Rogers TV, Rogers TV Sports +, Super Sports Pak.
** The webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.

Your sports. Your teams. The ISN Daily Digest.

Sign up to the ISN Daily Digest and sit back while we pick the previous day’s best headlines and speed them straight to your inbox every morning.
Email address
First Name*
We abide by all applicable emailing laws including 100% CAN-SPAM/CASL/US CAN-SPAM Act compliance. No spam!