On the 10-year anniversary of their first Canadian Interuniversity Sport national men’s basketball title, the Carleton Ravens showed why they’re heavy favourites to win another, easily handling the University of Victoria Vikes in the quarter-finals Friday night at the 2013 Final 8 in Ottawa.
The Ravens’ No. 1 defence in the country was on full display at Scotiabank Place and the Vikes had no answer, scoring just 19 points in the opening half en route to a 83-46 loss.
The Ravens move on to tonight’s semifinal against the Acadia Axemen, while UVic drops down to the consolation side and will face their arch-rival UBC Thunderbirds at 11 a.m. Pacific time today. The Canada West-champion T-Birds were upset 89-80 by Acadia.
The Vikes started out strong and led 12-7 five minutes in, but the two-time defending champion Ravens, who have won their eight CIS banners in the last 10 years, turned it up from there and led 42-19 at the half.
The second quarter was the killer for the Vikes as Michael Acheampong’s three-pointer late were the only points of the quarter for UVic as the Ravens outscored the Vikes 23-3 in the frame.
“We really struggled to get the ball up the court, especially in the second quarter,” Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp said in a statement. “And we had a really difficult time getting into offence and that was basically the tale of the tape.
“The second quarter was really the undoing and after that it was just window dressing.”
Ravens head coach Dave Smart agreed.
“Victoria didn’t make any shots in the second quarter,” Smart said in a statement. “If they had, the outcome of the game may have been different.”
The Ravens came into the tournament stacked with players such as two-time CIS player-of-the-year Philip Scrubb and all-Canada Tyson Hinz who have plenty of national tournament experience. Having not been to the CIS Final 8 since 2006, not one UVic player had ever experienced the national tournament before. But Beaucamp refused to use lack of experience as an excuse.
“We were just disappointed with how we did things,” Beaucamp said. “We know that we can do well and we knew we were going to face some things that were going to be difficult to stop and some players who were difficult to stop, but we just didn’t help ourselves.”
The Ravens smothered the Vikes’ top players. Centre Chris McLaughlin, who led the Vikes in playoff scoring coming into the national tournament averaging 18.3 points per game, didn’t score a single point in the first half and finished with just four.
Regular-season leading scorer Terrell Evans was held to just eight points. Senior Acheampong, playing his last games for the Vikes, led UVic with 13 points. Normally a strong shooting team, the Vikes were just 2-for-29 from three-point range.
“We are more disappointed with how we played tonight then that we lost,” Beaucamp said.
Clinton Springer-Williams led the Ravens with 15 points, while Scrubb chipped in 13.
Now the Vikes turn their attention to a familiar foe in UBC as they try to get to the fifth-place game.
“[Today] we just want to play better basketball,” Beaucamp added. “Play more like the way we know we can play.”
The other semifinal today (2:30 p.m.) will feature the Lakehead Thunderwolves and Ottawa Gee-Gees. Lakehead beat Cape Breton 74-61 in their quarter-final, while Ottawa downed the McGill Redmen 82-70. Both semifinals can be seen live on The Score. The final goes Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Pacific, also live on The Score.
© Copyright 2013