Photo courtesy of Freestyle Photography / Courtesy
of Carleton University sports information office
OTTAWA (CIS) – The third-seeded University of British Columbia Thunderbirds opened the second half with a 21-0 run and cruised to a 79-58 win over the No. 6 Lakehead Thunderwolves in the first quarter-final of the CIS men’s basketball championship, Friday afternoon, at Scotiabank Place.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb
The Canada West bronze medallist T-Birds advance to Saturday’s early national semifinal at 5 p.m. (TSN2) against conference foe Calgary, in a rematch of last year’s semifinal duel that saw UBC prevail 79-74. The Birds went on to lose 87-77 to Carleton in the title match.
Calgary, ranked seventh going into the 2010 tournament, upset No. 2 Cape Breton 82-74 earlier on Friday.
In its first CIS championship appearance since 1977, Lakehead will face Cape Breton Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on the consolation side of the draw.
Trailing 32-26 at halftime, UBC scored the first 21 points of the third quarter, including a thunderous dunk by fifth-year guard Kyle Watson of Richmond, B.C., to build a commanding 15-point lead.
Blain LaBranche of Edmonton, also a fifth-year guard, put an exclamation point on the Birds’ dominating third-frame performance hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer that made it 57-43 UBC after 30 minutes of play.
UBC outscored its OUA rivals 31-11 in the period shooting 66.6% from the field (12-18) compared to 26.7% for Lakehead.
Junior guard Kamar Burke of Mississauga, Ont., kicked off the final stanza with a highlight reel dunk, and the Thunderbirds never looked back.
“We weren’t really pleased with our play in the first half but, obviously, we’re really pleased with the way the guys responded after the break,” said 10-year UBC head coach Kevin Hanson, named CIS coach of the year on Thursday.
“It should be a great game against Calgary. We know what they do, they know what we do. We know each other very well,” added Hanson, whose troops beat Calgary 79-71 on January 23 in the only head-to-head duel of the season.
LaBranche finished with a team-high 14 points in the victory, while CIS player of the year Josh Whyte, a fourth-year guard from Calgary, earned UBC player-of-the-game honours following a 13-point, five-rebound effort.
Fourth-year forward Brent Malich of Langley, B.C., also scored in doubles figures for the T-Birds, finishing with 10 points, including seven in the opening quarter.
Sophomore guard Joseph Jones of Washington paced Lakehead with 14 points and seven boards, including back-to-back three-pointers late in the second quarter that sent the T-Wolves to the locker room with a six-point advantage.
Fellow sophomore Yoosrie Salhia, a 6-foot-5 post from Toronto, was named Lakehead game MVP after he scored 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the floor.
“We dropped our intensity on (defence) in the second half,” said Lakehead head coach Scott Morrison. “They beat us on the hedge and created shots for themselves.” He went on to add, “Once they got rolling, we got panicky.”
The first quarter started off slow, as both teams struggled trying to find their offence. After some turnovers from both sides, UBC finally found their rhythm as they took a 10-4 lead. But Lakehead battled back, led by Salhia, who had five points.
UBC led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, as both teams struggled with nine turnovers combined.
After a slow start, Lakehead caught fire in the second quarter.
Jones hit three-pointers from the corner on consecutive possessions
to give the Thunderwolves a 24-19 lead. Following this, UBC’s
LaBranche and Lakehead’s Ryan Thomson of Oakville, Ont.,
continued the hot shooting from beyond the three point line.
With five minutes left before the break, the game slowed down as a number of fouls were called and players from both teams headed to the foul lines. UBC’s Denny Dumas of Surrey, B.C., drove the lane and scored with under a minute left, pulling the Thunderbirds within six points. As the teams ended the first half, the Thunderwolves remained in front 32-26.
Both teams shot well under 50 per cent in the first half, making it a defensive battle. The Thunderwolves also kept Whyte in check, keeping him to only four shots in 13 minutes of playing time.
The third quarter started much differently than the first two as
UBC scored five points in the first 40 seconds. They continued to
dominate on offence as they scored in five of their first six
possessions. As UBC gained momentum, Lakehead’s shooting woes
continued. They went over seven minutes with scoring a basket.
UBC’s defence was mainly to blame for this. At one point, the
Thunderbirds stole the ball and scored off the transition on three
Lakehead finally found some offence as they scored nine points in the next few minutes, but could not stop the Thunderbirds, who scored 30 points in the quarter and had six steals on the defensive end.
Early in the fourth, Burke had the play of the game, with a
towering two-handed jam that brought much of the crowd to their
feet in the opening minute. The Thunderbirds put the game away
early in the fourth, leading by as many as 19 points. Lakehead
didn’t have an answer defensively for UBC. The Thunderbirds
outscored Lakehead 53-26 in the final two quarters.
Points: Blain LaBranche (14), Josh Whyte (13), Brent Malish (10)
Rebounds: Kamar Burke (6), Josh Whyte (5)
Assists: Kyle Watson (3)
Milk player of the game: Josh Whyte
Points: Joseph Jones (14), Yoosrie Salhia (12), Greg Carter (9)
Rebounds: Joseph Jones (7), Jamie Searle (5)
Assists: Greg Carter (1)
Milk player of the game: Yoosrie Salhia
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Friday, March 19
Quarter-final #1: Calgary 82, Cape Breton 74
Quarter-final #2: UBC 79, Lakehead 58
18:00 Quarter-final #3: No. 4 Windsor vs. No. 5 Saskatchewan (TSN2)
20:00 Quarter-final #4: No. 1 Carleton vs. No. 8 UQAM (TSN2)
Saturday, March 20
11:30 Consolation #1: No. 2 Cape Breton vs. No. 6 Lakehead (SSN Canada)
13:30 Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4 (SSN Canada)
17:00 Semifinal #1: No. 7 Calgary vs. No. 3 UBC (TSN2)
19:00 Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (TSN2)
Sunday, March 21
16:00 Consolation final (5th place) (SSN Canada)
18:30 Championship final (TSN2)