The top-ranked Carleton Ravens dominated the No. 8 Victoria Vikes 83-46 on Friday in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s basketball tournament.
The matchup between Carleton Victoria was expected to be the marquee event between two teams with a history of winning. The two teams each have eight McGee championship trophies to their credit, and a win this year.
The matchup ended up being more of a blowout that solidified Carleton’s position as tournament favourite.
“It’s a tough tournament, and when you get drawn into that eight o’clock game, Sunday almost becomes impossible,” said Ravens head coach Dave Smart. “I haven’t, but if you went back and did research on teams that played on Friday at 8:00 and long on Sunday, I can’t imagine it’s good so I think it’s good that we got to rest some guys anyway.
“It’s still a tough turn-around for Acadia or us, who ever wins tomorrow night, to come back at 3:30 on Sunday.”
The Ravens spread the scoring around and ended up with three players in double-digits (Clinton Springer-Williams, Philip Scrubb and Kevin Churchill) and only one who was held off the score sheet (J. E. Pierre-Charles). Springer-Williams, however was selected as the Ravens’ player of the game.
“The last little while he’s been playing better defensively, which is getting him more minutes,” said Smart. “He scores when he plays and when he defends he plays. He’s been defending pretty well, so he’s gotten his minutes.”
Williams credits Smart with the improvement he has seen in his game. He says the team’s philosophy is to play their game, regardless of the score. In a game like this, that’s very important.
“It wasn’t really that hard to focus,” said Springer-Williams. “We try to focus on our game whether we’re up fifty or down fifty. We play the same way; we really shouldn’t be playing based on the score.
“For us, we wanted to come out and focus on our stuff, so if we can do that, I think we’ll be good.”
The first quarter was fairly tight, with Carleton coming away with a slim 19-16 lead. In the second, however, the Ravens opened it up and increase the spread to 42-19.
It was a case of making the most of the opportunities they were given. The Ravens were 15 for 33 (45.5 per cent) for field goals, and three for nine (33.3 per cent) in three-point shots, and hit nine of ten from the free-throw line.
The Vikes, on the other hand, were seven for 32 (21.9 per cent), one of 18 (5.6 per cent) and four of eight (50 per cent) respectively.
The third quarter was more of the same as the Ravens expanded their lead to 67-32, making more use of their bench and seemingly able to score from anywhere on the floor.
Carleton’s onslaught continued into the fourth quarter with the Ravens dominating play.
The semi-final match-ups are now set. The Lakehead Thunderwolves will face the Ottawa Gee Gees in Saturday’s first semi-final, while the Acadia Axemen will play Carleton in the evening.
The winners of the semi-finals will play for the championship on Sunday.
Earlier Friday, the fifth-ranked Acadia Acemen downed the UBC Thunderbirds 89-80.
Both teams came out strong, but strong defensive play and three-point shooting by Tyler Scott allowed the Axemen to build a lead by as much as nine points in the first quarter. Acadia led by eight at the half.
“Our guys were pretty focused,” said Axemen coach Stephen Baur. “I think it was one of the goals we set in the game, that we wanted everyone to be part of the rebounding. We got a group effort, which really helps because it’s difficult when it’s only one guy.”
In the third quarter, the Thunderbirds came out firing and tied things up at 43-43 before the Axemen once again began to pull away, leading 64-57 at the end of the third quarter.
The game was delayed for approximately 10 minutes with 3:32 remaining when Thunderbirds guard Doug Plumb went down hard following a turnover. He appeared to remain conscious, but was removed on a stretcher by paramedics as a precautionary measure.
Tyler Scott was the leading scorer for Acadia, picking up 29 points coupled with six rebounds. O’Brian Wallace led the way in scoring for UBC with 26 points and was selected as player of the game.
Also, Lakehead defeated Cape Breton 74-61 in the opening game of the tourney. The seventh-seeded Thunderwolves pulled away in the fourth quarter for the upset win over the second-seeded University Capers. Fifth-year guard Ben Johnson scored a game-high 25 points for Lakehead.
The Ottawa Gee-Gees booked their place in the semifinals with an 82-70 victory over the McGill Redmen.
McGill, joining the final eight for the first time in 33 years, trailed by a single point at the half. Ottawa, supported by what was essentially a home crowd, started to pull away in the second half and never relinquished the lead.
All-Canadian Warren Ward lead the way for the Gee Gees with a double-double with 23 points and eleven rebounds, each game-high totals. He was selected as the player of the game.
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