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The Globe and Mail

Alberta, Fraser Valley, Carleton, Acadia advance at CIS Final 8

University of the Fraser Valley Cascades Sam Freeman, right, drives past Lakehead Thunderwolves Ben Johnson in CIS Final 8 men's basketball action in Halifax on Friday.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Jordan Baker scored 26 points to lead the Alberta Golden Bears to an 81-52 quarter-final win over the Ryerson Rams on Friday at the CIS men's basketball championship.

Daniel Ferguson chipped in with 23 points for the Canada West champions, who move on to Saturday night's semi-finals.

Baker added eight rebounds and eight assists for the Golden Bears.

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"We ran our stuff and it just happened that I got the open opportunities," said Baker. "Guys were looking for me like they have all season and they made me look good.

"We stuck to our systems and we executed well."

Alberta, the second seed, will play the No. 6 St. Francis Xavier X-Men in the semis, while reigning national champion and top-seeded Carleton will face No. 5 Fraser Valley.

Baker had 12 points in the first quarter, making all five of his field goal attempts as Alberta jumped out to a nine-point lead.

Ferguson drilled five three-pointers in the second quarter to help the Golden Bears stretch the lead to 49-25 by halftime.

"We've got a bit of size on them and we worked inside out," said Ferguson. "I thought by hitting the post early we kept them honest and then it opened up for us.

"It's kind of tough playing a team from a different league. You get different looks, so we just tried to make reads and not be robots out there."

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Alberta coach Greg Francis said he was pleased with the way Baker and Ferguson took the early initiative.

"Daniel and Jordan came with great energy," said Francis. "They were ready to start the scoring and that gives us confidence.

"They came out aggressive."

Francis said his team's offensive outburst was keyed by its defensive effort.

"When we play tough defensively, we get running and we're like a totally different team," he said

No. 7 Ryerson scored the first 11 points of the third quarter but were unable to come any closer in the second half.

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Jahmal Jones led the Rams with 15 points while Bjorn Michaelsen had 11 points and six rebounds.

In the late game, St. F-X upset the No. 3 Concordia Stingers 98-82 behind Terry Thomas' 39-point performance.

"Alberta is tough. (Jordan) Baker and (Daniel) Ferguson are great players," said X-Men head coach Steve Konchalski in a statement. "They're a big, physical team. It's going to be quite a challenge."

In earlier quarter-final action, the top-seeded Carleton Ravens survived a second-half surge from the No. 8 Acadia Axemen to win 82-68.

CIS player of the year Philip Scrubb of Richmond, B.C. scored 25 points for the Ravens, who let a 15-point halftime lead dwindle to four before sealing the game with a late barrage of three-pointers.

Forward Tyson Hinz of Ottawa added 22 points and 10 rebounds for Carleton.

Carleton coach Dave Smart credited Acadia with capitalizing on his team's tentativeness. He said the Ravens would need a more complete effort in Saturday night's semifinal against the Fraser Valley Cascades.

"We need to make adjustments," said Smart. "It's not so much a matter of playing better but hopefully we can play more aggressive for 40 minutes."

No. 5 Fraser Valley won in its first game in the school's first-ever trip to the Final Eight. The Cascades advanced with an 83-71 win over the No. 4 Lakehead Thunderwolves.

Sheldon Bjorgaard of Abbotsford, B.C., scored 19 points to pace Fraser Valley.

Ryerson, Acadia and Lakehead move to the consolation semi-finals on Saturday. Acadia will take on Lakehead while Ryerson will play Concordia.

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