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March 19, 2010

QUARTER-FINAL #3: CIS championship: No. 5 Huskies survive scare, upset Windsor

Photo credit Freestyle Photography / Courtesy of Carleton University sports information office
 
OTTAWA (CIS) – The fifth-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies survived a furious second-half charge by the No. 4 Windsor Lancers and prevailed 71-68 in the third quarter-final of the CIS men’s basketball championship, Friday evening, at Scotiabank Place.
 
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb
 
A week after capturing the first Canada West title in team history, the Huskies advanced past the opening round of the national tournament for the first time in their fifth all-time appearance. Saskatchewan played in the semifinals in 1986 but at the time the tourney was a four-team affair, and the Huskies dropped their two duels.
 
Saskatchewan gets back on the floor Saturday at 7 p.m. (TSN2 – tape delay to 10 p.m.) against the winners of Friday’s last quarter-final between No. 1 Carleton and No. 8 UQAM. Calgary and UBC will face off at 5 p.m. in the early semi (TSN2).
 
Ontario finalist Windsor resumes play at 1:30 p.m. on the consolation side of the draw.
 
The Huskies, who led 24-12 after the first quarter, 44-27 at halftime and 65-53 after 30 minutes, were up by as much as 22 points in the second half and trailed only once in the game, when Windsor scored the first point of the night.
 
But the Lancers mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter when they outscored their Saskatoon rivals 15-6 and had seven chances to tie the match in the final 1:51, only to miss as many three-point shots. The last opportunity came at the buzzer when Andre Smyth’s desperate attempt from centre court missed to the left.
 
“We just couldn’t make shots in the second half,” said Saskatchewan head coach Greg Jockims, whose troops shot 19% from the field (4-21) in the final 20 minutes to finish the contest with a 31% success rate (18-58). “It’s good to get through the first game. Tomorrow we’ll be more relaxed.”
“Defensively we really set the tone in the first half. We attacked them and got foul opportunities.”

“I’m proud of our team but at the end of the day it’s still a loss. And it leaves a bitter taste. Turnovers and missed foul shots cost us the game,” said Windsor head coach Chris Oliver, whose team turned the ball over 16 times and missed 10 of 21 attempts from the charity stripe.

“Being down 17 is not unusual for us, so coming back was not a surprise. I really appreciate the character of this team,” added Oliver.
 
Showron Glover, a guard from Fresno, California who led the nation in scoring this year with 28.1 points per outing, paced the winners with 16 points, including 12 on 13 trips to the free throw line.
 
Fifth-year guard Michael Linklater of Saskatoon was named Saskatchewan player of the game after he amassed 11 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Nolan Brudehl of Saskatoon added 11 points, while fifth-year forward Troy Gottselig of Findlater, Sask., had 10.
 
Fourth-year forward Isaac Kuon of Mississauga, Ont., scored a game-high 17 points in the loss and was chosen Windsor MVP. Smyth, a native of Windsor, finished with 16 points, while freshman Enrico Diloreto of London, Ont., tallied 13.
 
Both teams not having made it to the CIS championship last year started the first quarter off rusty and unable to make perimeter shots. They quickly realized that shots weren’t falling and took their chance in the paint, attacking the basket hard and attracting foul calls early.
 
Glover got his first two fouls of the game early, giving the Huskies no option but to bench him. The Huskies continued to be an offensive threat without Glover and started pulling away from the Lancers.

The Lancers struggled to make baskets drop, missing everything from long threes to easy bunnies. Kuon was not looking his best, missing all his shots in the first quarter and looking gassed early in the game.

The excitement picked up halfway through the quarter as both teams started to hit some shots from beyond the arc. For the Lancers, it was rookie Lien Phillip of St. Mark’s, Grenada, who put up some points from within the paint with a couple of nice hook shots.

With 16 seconds remaining in the quarter, the ball in Husky territory and Jockims yelling at his team to keep the ball for one last shot, the Huskies managed to get a nice drive and dish play by veteran Linklater for an easy bucket. On the baseline inbounds play, Glover stole the ball from the Lancers and put up an easy layup to allow the Huskies to double Windsor in points going into the second quarter.

The second quarter started with the momentum in the Huskies’ favour and would continue to the halftime buzzer. The Lancers initially played sloppy on the offensive and defensive end, creating turnovers and giving the Huskies transition opportunities while at the same time unable to put a dent in the Huskies’ lead.

As the quarter was winding down the Lancers developed a chip on their shoulders, stepping up defensive play and not letting the Huskies get any uncontested looks. But at the end of the quarter it would again be the Huskies on top, outscoring the Lancers 20-15 and finishing the first half of play with a 44-27 lead.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Lancers had a chance to regroup, fighting the Huskies shot for shot in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Kuon came out strong hitting back-to-back threes, but the Huskies exploited his over aggressiveness on defence getting him in foul trouble. With only minutes into the quarter Kuon, the only player to be able to make anything happen for the Lancers, sat down with four fouls. But Smyth took his spot and hit back-to-back threes to get the Lancers within 15 points before the Huskies took a time out. Windsor picked up the pace on the offensive end showing a slight momentum shift. The Lancers were not ready to hang up their hats and call it a game, slowly chipping away at Saskatchewan’s lead.

The fourth quarter started with a momentum shift in the Lancers’ favour. With Kuon back on the floor the Lancers picked up the pace and ran the floor in transition. Windsor was less tentative, jumping on every loose ball and fighting in desperation. Despite missing shots, the Lancers were persistent on the offensive glass getting second and third opportunities and bringing it to within five points with half a quarter left to play.

Windsor’s hustle was rewarded as they closed the gap to within one point in the last two minutes of play. Saskatchewan on the other hand could not make shots drop all quarter but would hit a clutch shot to increase the lead to three with 14 seconds remaining in the game.

Saskatchewan played a more consistent game than the Lancers did giving them the early advantage. The momentum shift in the fourth quarter was too late as the Huskies had built up a lead too significant to catch up to. Kuon’s return in the fourth was the difference-maker for the Lancers.
 
NOTES: Saskatchewan extended its winning streak to 11 straight games and has won 15 of 16 since early January... Three Canada West teams will play in the semifinals of the championship for the sixth time in history (2010, 1996, 1994, 1989, 1987, 1980) and for the first time since 1996 when Brandon, Alberta and UBC reached the Final Four, along with Toronto... The OUA had sent at least two teams to the semis each of the past three years...
 
STAT LEADERS
 
Saskatchewan
Points: Showron Glover (16), Michael Linklater (11), Nolan Brudehl (11), Troy Gottselig (10)
Rebounds: Michael Linklater (8), Troy Gottselig (8)
Assists: Michael Linklater (4)
 
Milk player of the game: Michael Linklater
 
Windsor
Points: Isaac Kuon (17), Andre Smyth (14), Enrico Diloreto (13)
Rebounds: Lien Phillip (13), Isaac Kuon (8)
Assists: Josh Collins (5)
 
Milk player of the game: Isaac Kuon
 
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
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: No. 4 Windsor vs. Loser QF #4 (SSN Canada)
17:00 Semifinal #1: No. 7 Calgary vs. No. 3 UBC (TSN2)
19:00 Semifinal #2: No. 5 Saskatchewan vs. Winner QF #4 (TSN2)
 
Sunday, March 21
16:00 Consolation final (5th place) (SSN Canada)
18:30 Championship final (TSN2)
 
 
-CIS- 

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