Mar 12, 2015
Photo credit Greg Campbell
TORONTO (CIS) – The No. 4-seeded Victoria Vikes survived a 57-56 defensive battle with the No. 5 Dalhousie Tigers in the second quarter-final at the 2015 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Final 8 Men’s Championship on Thursday afternoon, sending the Canada West champions back to the national semifinal for the second straight year.
Six-foot-10 senior Chris McLaughlin (Oakville, Ont.) sealed the victory for the Vikes from the free throw line with six seconds remaining as he calmly knocked down both shots to turn a one point deficit into a victory. The reigning Canada West player of the year finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Grant Sitton paced the winners with 19 points on his way to UVic player-of-the-game honours. Marcus Tibbs added 16.
“Clarity,” responded McLaughlin about what was going through his mind while on the line. “Quiet the noise and they are just two shots. Just keep them as simple as possible.”
The AUS champion Tigers gave Victoria all they could handle and jumped out to a 9-2 lead before the Vikes were forced to call a timeout with six minutes to play in the first quarter. The Canada West champs weathered the storm but still trailed 15-11 after ten minutes.
In the second quarter the Tigers were able to extend their lead to 10 points just two and a half minutes into the frame but Victoria was able to close the gap once again and the margin of deficit remained at four at 38-34 at the break.
Victoria opened the second half on a 10-0 run and took their first lead since the opening basket of the game. The Vikes went up by as many as eight and the teams traded three-point plays to end the frame with Victoria leading 46-42.
In the fourth, both teams’ offences ran dry as the squads combined for just one field goal in the first six minutes of the quarter. Victoria held a six point lead at 53-47 and looked poised to advance, but the Tigers battled back and took a 56-55 lead with 27 seconds off a Kashrell Lawrence (Brampton, Ont.) jumper.
After the Vikes regained the lead thanks to McLaughlin’s free throws, Lawrence, who scored a game-high 21 points, had one last chance to change the outcome but his long attempt refused to fall.
“Full credit to them, in every sense of the word they were a tiger,” said Victoria head coach Craig Beaucamp after the game. “They had us by the tail for most of the night… they made it tough on everything. We knew this matchup, once people looked at it, thought ‘maybe it’s a mismatch’ but we knew all along what we were going to face tonight and we saw it all.”
“I’m so proud of my guys. They left it all on the floor. If anything, we proved that we belong,” said Dalhousie bench boss Rick Plato, whose team racked up three upset wins at the AUS championship after going 10-10 in conference play. “This said, you can’t win a national quarter-final shooting 6-of-17 from the free throw line. They made their free throws, we didn’t.”
The Vikes advance to the first semifinal on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. against the No. 1 and reigning four-time Carleton Ravens. Victoria settled for fourth a year ago after losing to Ottawa in the semis and Alberta in the bronze medal match.
VIC: 11-13-22-11: 57
DAL: 15-13-14-14: 56
Points: Grant Sitton (19), Marcus Tibbs (16), Chris McLaughlin (10)
Rebounds: Chris McLaughlin (11), Reiner Theil (7)
Assists: Marcus Tibbs (6)
Player of the game: Grant Sitton
Points: Kashrell Lawrence (21), Sven Stammberger (14)
Rebounds: Sven Stammberger (9), Kashrell Lawrence (8), Jarred Reid (8)
Assists: Ritchie Kanza Mata (5)
Player of the game: Sven Stammberger
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Thursday, March 12
11:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 1 Carleton 90, No. 8 Saskatchewan 50
13:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 4 Victoria 57, No. 5 Dalhousie 56
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) *
Saturday, March 14
14:00 5th-place game (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
18:00 Semifinal 1: Carleton vs. Victoria (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **
20:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **
* Rogers TV, Rogers TV Sports +, Super Sports Pak.
** The webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.