Photo credit Freestyle Photography / Courtesy of
Carleton University sports information office
OTTAWA (CIS) – The fifth-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies shocked the CIS men’s basketball world Saturday night with an 86-82 upset win over the top-ranked and defending champion Carleton Ravens in the second semifinal of the 2010 national tournament, at Scotiabank Place.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb
One week after winning the first Canada West title in team history, the Huskies qualified for the national final for the first time in their fifth appearance at the CIS championship.
Saskatchewan will face the No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., live on TSN2. The Huskies beat UBC 104-87 in overtime in the Canada West semis on March 5.
Carleton was hoping for a second straight W.P. McGee trophy, and a seventh CIS banner in eight years.
“It was two very good teams. We took a swing. They swung back. It was a back and forth game. We just had the final punch,” said 12-year Saskatchewan head coach Greg Jockims. “The keys were rebounding and defending. When you get into these battles you can’t win them all. It was a hostile environment out there but we stuck together.”
“We chose not to double [Kevin] McCleery. We decided we
weren’t getting beat by the 3-ball tonight. We were
definitely not letting them beat us that way tonight. I thought we
rebounded well and when we were stopped on the drive we kicked it
back out to the perimeter.”
Fifth-year senior Michael Linklater of Saskatoon was sensational for the Huskies scoring a game-high 25 points, including 18 on 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. He added seven rebounds on his way to Saskatchewan player-of-the-game honours.
Showron Glover, a fourth-year guard from California who led the nation in scoring with 28.1 points per outing in the regular season, added 18 points for the winners, while Saskatoon native Michael Lieffers contributed with a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Troy Gottselig of Findlater, Sask., also a veteran of five seasons, also scored 13 in the win.
Carleton game MVP Elliot Thompson of Fredericton rivalled Linklater’s statistics with 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting and nine boards.
In his final university game, second-team all-Canadian forward Kevin McCleery of Ottawa tallied 20 points and eight rebounds. Cole Hobin of Ashton, Ont., with 20, and Mike Kenny of Ottawa, with 12, also scored in double figures for the Ravens in the losing cause.
The story of the game was three-point shooting. Saskatchewan finished 12-for-31 from beyond the arc (38.7%), while Carleton hit on only two of 17 attempts from long distance (11.8%).
The battle for rebounds ended in a 36-36 tie.
“We were trying to keep them out of the paint but we struggled with it. We didn’t physically get to a lot of loose balls and they got some opportunities,” said 11-year Carleton sideline boss Dave Smart. “We went 2 for 17 from the three for a team who usually shoots well. That’s a credit to the way they defend. They didn’t double Kevin which took away the easy three we usually get. They’re a great basketball team. You have to play well to beat a team like that.”
“I’m extremely proud of what he’s (Kevin McCleery) been able to accomplish over the last five years. He’s a good player, but he’s an even better person. One of my proudest moments is that our guys have just lost a chance at the national championship and 13 guys are picking the cups up off the floor... they’re great kids. I couldn’t be prouder of this team but we’re obviously disappointed about the loss.”
Saskatchewan led 25-24 at the end of an entertaining opening quarter thanks in large part to spectacular three-point shooting. The Huskies went 5-for-10 while the Ravens missed their four attempts.
It was more of the same in the second period, when the Linklater Show got underway. The 5-foot-11 guard made it 41-35 Huskies with his second three-pointer of the night, and 46-37 going into the halftime break with his third three of the contest.
After 20 minutes of play, Carleton was shooting 44.4% from the field and Saskatchewan 42.1%, but the Huskies were 8-for-17 from long range compared to 1-for-8 for their OUA rivals.
Linklater was back at it in the third quarter. His fourth three-pointer of the game made it 56-47 Saskatchewan and his fifth, on his seventh attempt from beyond the arc, put his team ahead 60-47 with 5:24 left in the period, which ended 69-57.
The Ravens opened the fourth on a 6-0 run to get back to within six points, and a bucket by McCleery cut the margin to three, at 72-69, with seven minutes remaining.
Carleton was once again within three with 2:35 left on the clock following a pair of Thompson free throws, found itself within one, at 78-77, with 1:40 to go, after Kyle Smendziuk hit two foul shots of his own.
After Lieffers restored Saskatchewan’s three-point cushion with a basket inside and Carleton failed to score on its ensuing possession, Linklater all but sealed the victory with his sixth three of the match, which made it 83-77 Saskatchewan with 38 seconds left.
McCleery muscled his way under the Huskies basket to add two points for Carleton. The Ravens then fouled Glover with 19 seconds remaining, but the all-star guard made no mistake and went 2-for-2 from the line.
Linklater put the icing on the cake grabbing a huge defensive rebound on Carleton’s next possession. He was fouled, and made one of two free throws.
GAME NOTES: UBC beat Calgary 77-63 in Saturday’s early semifinal... UBC defeated Saskatchewan 90-83 in Vancouver on Nov. 13 in the only regular season meeting between the two teams... UBC and Saskatchewan have never met at the CIS championship... The last Canada West team to win the CIS was Alberta in 2002 thanks to a 76-71 gold-medal victory over Western Ontario... Brandon beat Alberta 79-72 in 1996 in the last all-Canada West national final...
Scoring by Quarter
SAS 25-21-23-17: 86
CAR 24-13-20-25: 82
Points: Michael Linklater (25), Showron Glover (18), Troy Gottselig (13), Michael Lieffers (13)
Rebounds: Michael Lieffers (11), Michael Linklater (7), Nolan Brudehl (7)
Assists: Showron Glover (7)
Milk player of the game: Michael Linklater
Points: Elliot Thompson (23), Kevin McCleery (20), Cole Hobin (19), Michael Kenny (12)
Rebounds: Elliot Thompson (9), Kevin McCleery (8), Kyle Smendziuk (7)
Assists: 3 players with 1
Milk player of the game: Elliot Thompson
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
Semifinal #2: Saskatchewan 86, Carleton 82
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. No. 5 Saskatchewan (TSN2)