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CIS Final 8 daily wrap-up: Saturday

Ian Froese, Staff Contributor

 

Concordia Stingers 65 – 76 Dalhousie Tigers

Dalhousie had loftier expectations for their first ever CIS Final 8 victory, but it’s a triumph the Tigers will enjoy having under their belts nonetheless.

Adding a win to the program’s lifetime 0 – 4 record at nationals was the motivation Tigers captain Simon Farine used in his pre-game speech to rally his team and propel the sixth-seeded Atlantic champions above No. 7 Concordia Stingers 76 – 65. The Tigers led the consolation semi-final by as much as 20 in the third quarter.

“I’d feel a whole lot better if it’s a win on the championship side of the draw to be honest, but I think it’s a positive,” said Tigers head coach John Campbell. “It shows we’re a team that will hopefully learn from this experience, and although we have some older guys we hope our young guys will get a taste of this, a taste of success. Hopefully they’ll be able to translate this into success on the championship side of the draw.”

Dalhousie’s win qualifies them for the consolation final Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. against the No. 4 Lakehead Thunderwolves. Meanwhile, the season has closed for the young Stingers. Concordia shouldn’t fret though, as their future appears bright: none of their athletes have reached their eligibility limits.

The Tigers led 38 – 29 after 20 minutes, but it was the second half which truly established why the home favourites deserved to play another game.

“We wanted to come out really strong and assert ourselves again as a defensive team and a second half team,” said Tigers power forward Joseph Schow. “That was our attitude coming out of the locker room in the second half and we demonstrated that.”

Schow, the player of the game with 14 points and nine rebounds, helped hold Concordia to 65 points. This came a day after the Saskatchewan Huskies scored of 91 on the same Tigers defence.

Farine dropped 21 points and helped on seven others in 38 minutes. William Yengue received quality court time by his standards, rewarding his coach with 11 points in 17 minutes.

“It’s never an easy situation to come out and play early in the afternoon after a difficult loss to end your season, but I thought our guys came out,” said Campbell. “I don’t think it was an easy game today, but at the same time we were able to grind it out.”

RSEQ co-MVP Kyle Desmarias was invisible for much of the afternoon. He contributed on only 13 points for the Stingers.

 

Trinity Western Spartans 74 – 72 University of British Columbia Thunderbirds

If championship teams require championship performances, Kyle Coston made a strong case for why the Trinity Western Spartans deserve the W.P. McGee Trophy.

After obtaining only three points in the first 20 minutes, the fourth-year guard exploded with maybe the best half of any athlete this weekend. He sunk a sensational 20 points, including the winning three-pointer, to help TWU shock the top-seeded UBC Thunderbirds 74 – 72.

Coston’s Canada West scoring average was 10.1 points per game.

Trinity Western is off to the national title game in their first Final 8 appearance since joining the CIS in 1999.

“You know, not this big of a stage, definitely not,” Coston said, when asked if he had ever played a better 20 minutes. “Performing like this on this type of stage is great, having the fans in Halifax, it’s amazing.”

Coston caused the generally pro-TWU crowd to erupt when he ended the seesaw final frame with a three-pointer at only 11.6 seconds remaining. UBC’s Alex Murphy could not drop his own three ball at the buzzer, leaving a dejected Thunderbirds squad to walk off the court down 74 – 72.

After being down by nine points at the half, the Spartans came out of the gate with a fury, knocking eight consecutive points to keep the match competitive.

“The morale is down a little bit at half time. We fought hard that first half and to be [behind] I think it set us on fire, it put the fire under our butts a bit,” said Coston. “We didn’t come all this way to get beat.”

The NCAA Division 1 transfer from Portland State University was dominant in every sense of the word, scoring nearly half of his team’s 44 points in the half.

“I was assertive. Not only myself, but my teammates (too), and good things happened. I just kind of put my focus in the game a little more.”

The Spartans are primed for a shot the national crown. After two straight silver medal results, the Thunderbirds will not get a third chance at glory, and have to compete for third place.

 

Saskatchewan Huskies 83 – 95 Carleton Ravens

Home court advantage at the Metro Centre is supposed to belong to an AUS team, not Carleton, but it seems the Ravens are claiming it as their own.

After winning five straight national titles from 2003 to 2007 in Halifax, Carleton appears well on their way to earning another title on the East Coast following their 95 – 83 triumph against the defending champion Saskatchewan Huskies.

The No. 2 Ravens will tip-off against fifth-seeded Trinity Western on Sunday for the W.P. McGee Trophy. After their loss, the Huskies are downgraded to the bronze medal game opposite the UBC Thunderbirds.

Revenge on the team that knocked the Ravens out of the semi-finals a year ago in Ottawa was sweet, said Tyson Hinz.

“They beat us last year so we had their name in the back of our head for a long time, all 365 days,” said the CIS player of the year. “They’re a great team, it’s good to get our revenge, but I think if we just keep attacking, good things will happen.”

The Ravens had the edge early and they never let it out of their grasp. They led following the first quarter 27 – 16 and survived a scare at the end of the third which had them only up a tally.

Saskatchewan’s dynamic tandem of Jamelle Barrett and Rejean Chabot had 28 and 26 points, respectively. The two of them were outclassed by the Ravens’ Tyson Hinz. He had 32 points, nine rebounds and three turnovers.

The lead only changed hands once during the game.

 

Acadia Axemen 67 – Lakehead Thunderwolves 75

The Acadia Axemen have scared their final team.

The No. 8 seed, which people considered indisputably the worst team in the tournament, gave the top-seeded University of British Columbia Thunderbirds all they could handle in their quarter-final matchup on Friday, down by only five points after 30 minutes. The T-Birds took control in the final frame though, dashing upset dreams by outscoring their competition 27 – 15.

In Saturday’s consolation match, the favoured No. 4 Lakehead Thunderwolves went the distance with Acadia, with the Axemen taking a one-point lead in the fourth quarter before falling apart 75 – 67 for the final.

The Thunderbirds test their Ontario title against the Atlantic champion Dalhousie Tigers Sunday for fifth place.

Owen Klassen led the charge for the Axemen, draining 26 points and 14 rebounds. Venzal Russell had 29 points and two assists for the Canada West champions.

Acadia were a dismal 3-for-17 from behind the arc.

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