VANCOUVER (CIS) – Make it six.
On Saturday night, in front of a crowd of 4,415 at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, the Carleton Ravens earned their sixth straight national title by beating the Calgary Dinos101-79 in the championship final.
The run of six consecutive CIS titles trails only the record set by Victoria Vikes, who took home seven banners from 1980 to 1986. In addition, with the result, the Ravens also extended their lead as the winningest men's basketball team in CIS history, with 12 titles to their credit.
Carleton's Connor Wood was named the MVP of the tournament, and proved why in the final contest with 22 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Gavin Resch was a terror from the outside, scoring all 18 of his points from beyond the arc on 6-of-12 shooting. Behind Resch's lights out shooting, the Ravens hit 16 three-pointers in the contest.
Carleton Rob Smart that the synergy, not only between players, but between them and the staff, was a key ingredient in the latest addition to the Carleton dynasty.
"It's just a lot of fun," said Smart."People called it a rebuilding year, and we kind of figured out halfway that our identity was a little different, and we were going to have to do it by committee. I think every body chipped in. I don't know – we said it from the start – players were a good fit for our coaches. Neither of us really knew what we were doing, and we kind of stayed with it."
Along with Wood, Guillaume Boucard and Ryan Ejim were two other Ravens named to the tournament All-Star team, and both finished with 12 points apiece in the competition's finale.KazaKajami-Keane finished with a double-double on 15 points and 10 dimes.
"I'm disappointed, but I've got to give credit to Carleton," said Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren. "They shot the ball well, and I don't think we provided a lot of resistance at times in transition. It's a good learning lesson for our kids – the game was going up and down, and I think that's a style that we've played all year, so the tempo was reasonable. We just honestly couldn't keep them in front of us, and they hit a lot of three-balls."
For the Dinos, Thomas Cooper put up 25 points, seven boards, and four assists in the loss, while backcourt running mate David Kapinga finished with 15.
The first quarter was partially defined by the fact that Carleton was able to do what no other program in the country managed to accomplish this season – slow down Cooper. With their First Team All-Canadian guard postingseven points on just 2-of-8 shooting, the Dinos offense around him sputtered, combining for just seven points in the frame.
The Ravens had no such problems on the attack, knocking down threes with abandon. In total, the reigning champs went 6-of-13 from distance in the opening quarter, including two apiece from Resch and TajinderLall. Boucard provided the counterpoint, as the big forward notched eight points from inside the paint during the frame, powering the Ravens to a 26-14 lead.
The OUA runners-up continued to rain threes down in the second stanza, with four in the quarter. On the other end, the Ravens' sterling defense, which sat atop the national rankings all season, kept the Calgary offense at bay, as the Dinos shot just 33% on 18 shots, with just two players– Cooper and Josh Owen-Thomas – managing more than a single bucket in the frame.
By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Ottawa held a 48-32 lead.
A 7-0 Carleton run, featuring a Kajami-Keane triple from nearly 30 feet, gave the Ravens a 20-point lead midway through the third quarter.
Still, Calgary continued to press in the later stages of the third frame, outscoring the Ravens 8-4 in the last 1:14 of the third. The highlight of that stretch came off the hands of Dinos guard Torrez Mckoy, who launched a buzzer-beating triple from half court to close the gap to 71-56.
The Ravens pulled away for good in the final frame, going back to their three-and-D strategy. Wood knocked down three from distance in the fourth quarter, while Resch added two more to his total.
"All year, we've just tried to take the slow process – learn and get better," remarked Smart. "It took a lot to realize what we were, and once we did, they did an unbelievable job of buying in."
CAL 14-18-24-23: 79
Points: Connor Wood (22), Gavin Resch (18), KazaKajami-Keane (15)
Rebounds: Guillaume Bouchard (10)
Assists: KazaKajami-Keane (10)
Player of the game: Connor Wood
Points: Thomas Cooper (25), David Kapinga (15)
Rebounds: Lars Schleuter (9)
Assists: Thomas Cooper (4)
Player of the game: Thomas Cooper
Tournament MVP (Jack Donohue Trophy): Connor Wood, Carleton
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award: Sven Stammberger, Dalhousie
Connor Wood, Carleton
Ryan Ejim, Carleton
Gabriel PayenBoucard, Carleton
Thomas Cooper, Calgary
Adika Peter-McNeilly, Ryerson
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times PACIFIC)
Thursday, March 17
13:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 2 Carleton 91, No. 7 Thompson Rivers 75
15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 6 Dalhousie 87, No. 3 Ottawa 83
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 4 Calgary 72, No. 5 McGill 69
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 1 Ryerson 109, No. 8 UBC 101 (OT)
Friday, March 18
17:00 Consolation 1: Ottawa 78, Thompson Rivers 77
19:00 Consolation 2: UBC 69, McGill 68
Saturday, March 19
12:00 5th-place game: UBC 93, Ottawa 76
15:00 Semifinal 1: Carleton 76, Dalhousie 66
17:30 Semifinal 2: Calgary 98, Ryerson 87
Sunday, March 20
14:00 Bronze: Ryerson 85, Dalhousie 78
17:30 Final: Carleton 101, Calgary 79