Photo credit Freestyle Photography / Courtesy of
Carleton University sports information office
OTTAWA (CIS) – The third-seeded University of British Columbia Thunderbirds will play for gold for the second straight year thanks to a 77-63 over the No. 7 Calgary Dinos in the first semifinal of the CIS men’s basketball championship, Saturday evening, at Scotiabank Place.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb
The Canada West bronze medallist T-Birds, who lost 87-77 to Carleton a year ago in their first appearance in the title game since 1987, will face either the defending champion Ravens or No. 5 Saskatchewan Sunday at 6:30 p.m., live on TSN2.
UBC, which also downed conference rival Calgary in the 2009 semis, 79-74, has captured two W.P. McGee trophies in its history, in 1970 and 1972.
The Canada West finalist Dinos, who have never claimed the McGee trophy, were looking to return to the CIS final for the first time since 1966, and the second time in team history.
UBC was led by 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard Kamar Burke of Mississauga, Ont., who was named T-Bird player of the game following an impressive 14-point, 13-rebound double-double.
For the second straight night, CIS player of the year Josh Whyte, a fourth-year guard from Calgary, was UBC’s highest scorer with 16 points. Alex Murphy of Richmond, B.C., added 14, while Blain LaBranche of Edmonton, with 10, also scored in double figures.
Playing in his final university game, second-team all-Canadian forward Ross Bekkering of Taber, Alta., had 13 points and four boards for the Dinos and received UofC match-MVP honours. The 6-foot-8 senior scored all his points in the second half as he only played two minutes before the break after picking up two early fouls.
Point guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, a freshman from Winnipeg, paced Calgary with 16 points.
“Both teams got into foul trouble in the first half. Ross got going in the third but we were eventually able to contain him,” said 10-year UBC head coach Kevin Hanson, who was named CIS coach of the year on Thursday. “I thought our defence was solid. We got some offensive rebounds in a timely fashion.”
“After the game last year against Carleton we set some
goals, and we’re going to use those tomorrow. But it
doesn’t matter who we end up playing.”
“We felt prepared and the group was in a good state of mind. We stayed competitive throughout the game,” said Bekkering. “In the second half, we brought energy and had many big plays but couldn’t string them together. It’s a tough loss.”
“We have a good group of young kids. They played very well. We held ourselves in it and I’m very proud of the guys,” said Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren. “Sometimes it looked like we could change the momentum of the game. They worked very hard, right to the buzzer and I’m very proud of them.”
Defence prevailed in the opening quarter as the conference rivals combined for only 11 points (6-5 UBC) in the first six minutes. Calgary opened up a six-point lead late in the frame but a Whyte three-pointer cut the margin to 16-13 after 10 minutes.
The Dinos shot 35.7% (5-14) from the field in the period compared to 33.3% (5-15) for the Thunderbirds.
UBC slowly came back in the second quarter and took the lead for the first time since early in the contest with 3:30 remaining when Murphy made it 24-23 with a spectacular drive to the basket.
Murphy took over from there and added seven points before the break to send UBC to the locker room ahead 34-28.
He made it 26-23 with a pair of free throws, 31-26 with a long two from the right corner, and closed out the half with a buzzer-beater from beyond the arc.
Free throws were a big difference in the second frame as the T-Birds converted eight of 12 chances while the Dinos were only sent to the line twice, and missed on both occasions.
In the third, Whyte gave UBC its first double-digit lead of the night going 1-for-2 from the charity stripe to make it 42-32. He hit two more free throws moments later to increase the margin to 12 points, and the T-Birds were up by 14 soon after following a layup by Nathan Yu.
Calgary responded with the next eight points, including seven by Bekkering, and the score after 30 minutes was 46-40 UBC.
The Dinos were within four after Bekkering opened the final stanza with a thunderous dunk, but Burke answered with a dunk of his own, which started a 12-0 UBC run that gave the T-Birds their biggest lead of the duel, at 58-42.
Whyte all but sealed the victory with a three-pointer that made it 63-44 with five minutes on the clock.
UBC shot 45.6% from the field for the game, compared to 35.4% for Calgary. The Birds had a slight 39-37 edge in rebounds.
GAME NOTES: UBC defeated the Dinos 79-71 at Calgary on Jan. 23 in conference play... The last Canada West team to claim the CIS title was Alberta in 2002, with a 76-71 win over Western Ontario... UBC will play in its seventh CIS final following appearances in 2009, 1987, 1972, 1970, 1967 and 1964...
Scoring by Quarter
UBC 13-21-12-31: 77
CAL 16-12-12-23: 63
Points: Josh Whyte (16), Kamar Burke (14), Alex Murphy (14), Blain LaBranche (10)
Rebounds: Kamar Burke (13), Kyle Watson (7), Nathan Yu (7)
Assists: Alex Murphy (3)
Milk player of the game: Kamar Burke
Points: Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (16), Ross Bekkering (13), Dustin Reding (7)
Rebounds: Robbie Sihota (7), Tyler Fidler (6)
Assists: 5 players with 1
Milk player of the game: Ross Bekkering
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Friday, March 19
Quarter-final #1: Calgary 82, Cape Breton 74
Quarter-final #2: UBC 79, Lakehead 58
Quarter-final #3: Saskatchewan 71, Windsor 68
Quarter-final #4: Carleton 83, UQAM 72
Saturday, March 20
Consolation #1: Cape Breton 87, Lakehead 65
Consolation #2: Windsor 79, UQAM 74
Semifinal #1: UBC 77, Calgary 63
19:00 Semifinal #2: No. 5 Saskatchewan vs. No. 1 Carleton (TSN2)
Sunday, March 21
16:00 Consolation final (5th place): No. 2 Cape Breton vs. No. 4 Windsor (SSN Canada)
18:30 Championship final: No. 3 UBC vs. TBD (TSN2)