Ejim’s rebounding carries Ravens to semi-finals
Carleton 91 Thompson Rivers 75 – The relentless Carleton effort on the offensive boards paid off with 10 extra chances by half-time, and the Ravens are up 38-33. The most remarkable thing is the lack of 2nd quarter scoring, as the teams come out of quarter 1 with a 29-23 count, then cool off considerably. CU hits just 33% from the floor in that opening 20 minutes .
Foul trouble for TRU big men, Josh Wolfram and Volodmyr Iegorov , threatens to torpedo the ‘Pack’s effectiveness, but they finish the game with the line-up intact. As the game enters the 3rd quarter, it’s a 5 point game Carleton’s way, but that rebounding, and some improved 3 point shooting by the Ravens extends it to 9-10-12. Brief rests for the TRU starters don’t appear to be enough, and they are flagging with 4-5 minutes left.
Ryan Ejim does the ‘blue collar’ work for Carleton, seemingly claiming every 2nd miss on the O-glass, as he tallies 26 on 11/14 shooting, all within 6 feet of the hoop. CU’s 54-37 rebounding edge is led by Ejim’s 14, and Guillaume Boucard’s 13 rebounds. Connor Wood scores 18 points on 5/13 from outside, and the winners get 15 apiece from Bouchard and Tajinder Lall.
The ‘Pack are led by the 22 points of Gerard Gore and 14 points / 10 boards from Voldymyr Iegorov. TRU hits 47% from the floor, but only 5 treys to 11 for the Ravens. Josh Wolfram comes on in the 2nd half, scoring 17 points, as he and Reese Pribilsky close out their memorable careers in this championship competition.
Carleton’s attacking style wears down the Wolves, whose lack of depth inevitably caught up with them in this level of play. The Ravens move on to the semi-finals on Saturday against Dalhousie, while TRU plays Friday at 5 pm in a consolation match with Ottawa. Box Score
Tigers steal Ottawa’s thunder with aggressive defense down the stretch
Dalhousie 87 Ottawa 83 – Two unusual sequences turn this game in Dalhousie’s favour: just before the half, and down by 7, the Tigers steal, and Jarred Reid hits 2 free throws on an intentional (clear-path?) foul, so Dal gets the ball as well. On the buzzer, Jordan Aquino-Serjue makes a 3-point bomb, and it’s 52-50 ! Then in a mini-run by the Tigers in the 2nd half, Ottawa turns it over 3 out of 4 trips, and Dal takes the 4 point lead mid-way through the 4th.
The pressure from a quick and determined Tigers team gave Ottawa fits as the game moved into the late stages, 24 trips to the line for 16 points gave the Atlantic champs the edge vs 5/10 for the Gee-Gees. Both teams shoot the ball well, with Dal at 50% and Ottawa 49% from the floor, as UO lives and dies with the long ball (12/35). Dal’s fast hands and faster feet produce 24 Ottawa turnovers , resulting in 31 Dalhousie points.
Ritchie Kanza-Mata closes strongly and racks -up 24 points to lead the Tigers, adding 4 assts/ 3 steals, while Kashrell Lawrence uses his power on the inside to score 14 / 6 rebounds / 4 steals.
The Ponies have Matt Plunkett hitting 5/10 from outside for 17 points, and Mike L’Africain, the CIS Player of the Year, scoring 16 / 3 rebs/ 7 assts. The Tigers play in Saturday’s 3 pm semi-final against the 5 time-defending champion, Carleton Ravens, while Ottawa go to the Consolation side vs Thompson Rivers at 5 pm Friday.
Kapinga’s thievery leads to late heroics for Calgary over McGill
Calgary 72 McGill 69 – Tense. This was the tough, tight game we anticipated, with defense controlling things much of the way, and deciding it at the finish as Calgary’s David Kapinga picked McGill’s pocket twice in the final minutes . Free throws were also critical as Dinos shooters were 10/10 in the 4th quarter, including 2 by Thomas Cooper to give them the 3 point lead.
It was a physical game , with a lot of contact on drives to the hoop, and a little rolling around on the hardwood after loose balls. McGill got off to a good start, hitting some pure treys by Jenning Leung, and getting strong rebounding early. Calgary’s 25 point 2nd quarter was the difference, in a game where hoops became more and more scarce.
The Dinos Thomas Cooper was shackled for much of the game, but still snuck in 21 points, with 7/10 from the line. The Redmen pressured Calgary’s 3 point shooters and allowed little open space out on the perimeter. The Dinos hit only 5 treys vs 10 for the Reds, and that kept McGill out front for a good part of the 2nd half.
Calgary had 12 points from Johnny Verrone coming off the bench, and Kapinga scored 11/ 2 asst/ 4 steals. Cooper led their rebounding with 9, with Lars Schleuter and Matt Letkeman grabbing 5 each.
McGill were led by 19 from Dele Ogundokun / 5 res/ 4 assts, and 15 from Leung, with 5/10 from outside. McGill had 19 turnovers and Calgary 17, in what was, at times, a very scrappy contest. The Dinos pull one out with some stingy defense and good foul-shooting in the final minutes, and they move on to the 5:30 semi-final on Saturday, and the Redmen will play in the 5:00 consolation game Friday. Box Score
On the brink, the Rams storm back for the OT win vs UBC
Ryerson 109 – UBC 101 – Just when the UBC student section (with 2:10 left – far too early) were suggesting in a loud chorus that the Ryerson Rams were ‘Over-rated’ , the T-Birds’ Conor Morgan fouled out, the OUA champs dug deep, hit free throws, a lay-up off a steal, and a 3 pointer to take it to OT !
The Rams are now the attackers, and create the better chances in extra time, to pull out a classic win to continue their route to the semi-final. UBC has to leave wondering how this could have happened, when they looked so solid in the early going, and made some clutch hoops early in the 4th to ‘dare to dream’ of the 8 – 1 upset !
Adika Peter-McNeilly paced the Rams with 25 points/ 9 rebounds, and both rugged, yet smooth guard, Ammanuel Diressa, and the late game hero, Jean-Victor-Mukama counted 19 apiece. Ryerson won the battle on the boards 42-31, and out-shot the Thunderbirds 21/27 to 13/17 from the foul line. UBC’s David Wagner was dominant inside in the first 3/4s to score 22, but Ryerson defenders made it harder for him later in the going. Jordan Jensen-Whyte was also a stand-out for the ‘Birds, with 25 points on slashing drives and 8/9 from the line.
Ryerson won this game with some more intense interior defending, and opportunistic conversions off UBC misses toward the end of regulation. It was a testimony to the resilience of a championship team, and they played their best when it counted most.
In the end they appear to have been rated pretty accurately ….
Ryerson, the OUA champions vs Calgary , the Canada West title winners, at 5:30 pm Saturday in the 2nd semi-final. UBC plays McGill at 7 pm Friday in the late Consolation game. Box Score
- Headline of the week, in ‘Kamloops This Week’ – ‘WolfPack draw Ravens; fan bus departs Thursday’ … details , “Fan buses will depart from Thompson Rivers University for UBC on Thursday morning, in advance of the Wolf Pack’s tournament-opening matchup. Buses will depart from the Campus Activity Centre at 7:30 a.m. For $20, fans receive a game ticket, transportation to the tournament, a t-shirt and pizza and pop for the return trip. Coffee will be available in the morning, from 7 a.m. until departure.” Great work by TRU to get their fans to the game!
- Dalhousie Coach Rick Plato , with confidence in his team, “If the Tigers claw their way into national semifinals, they’ll be making Dalhousie basketball history”, Plato said. “I think there is redemption on their part,” he said of his players. “Knowing how close they were to … for the first time ever, getting Dal to a national semifinal.” (Lost to UVic 57-56 in round 1 last year). “I believe in these guys,” Plato said. “They’re not the biggest, they’re not the fastest, they’re not the quickest, but as a group – they’re a pretty special team.” Simply put, Plato said, “if we play our game, we’re going to win.” From Kristen Lipscombe, Vancouver Metro News