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CIS Final 8: No. 6 Dalhousie Tigers send No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees Packing

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Photo: Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

Vancouver, BC –  Coming into the 2016 CIS Men’s Final 8 there was a great debate over just how the Ottawa Gee-Gees, a wild card team managed to be awarded a No. 3 seed over other conference champions. Notably, one of those teams who felt they deserved a higher seed was the Atlantic University Conference (AUS) champions Dalhousie Tigers who earned their way to back-to-back Final 8 appearances by becoming the first team since 2002 to repeat as AUS conference champions.

Luckily for the No. 6 Dalhousie Tigers, the luck of the draw saw them paired in a Quarter-Finals tilt against a Gee-Gees team that came in limping into the National tournament, setting the stage for a potential upset and their very first quarter-finals win in 7 appearances dating back to 1983.

Much like their AUS championship run, the Dalhousie fell behind early in the first-quarter 17-10, trailed for most of the game and methodically climbed their way back using game changing runs. And when adversity starred them in the eye trailing the Gee-Gees 70-62 with a quarter to play, Dalhousie turned to their conference all-star point guard Rich Kaza Mata who scored 10 of his game-high 24 points to propel his team to the CIS Final 8 their first Semi-Final with gutsy 87-83 win over the Gee-Gees.

Kaza Mata took-over down the stretch scoring eight straight points in the late stages and finished 8-of-12 from the floor including 7-of-8 from the charity line.

Richie- Kaza-Mata-Dalhousie-Tigers-CIS-Fina8

Dalhousie Tigers Richie Kaza Mata vs. Ottawa Gee-Gees. Photo: Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

Kashrell Lawrence added 14 points, six rebounds and four steals for the AUS champs who forced Ottawa into a season high 24 turnovers, converting them into 31 points. Dalhousie pounded the ball inside for a 50-36 points in the paint advantage and went to the line 24 times compared to 10 attempts by the trigger happy Gee-Gees.

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We shot the lights out in the first half and I think that gave us a little bit of a false sense of success despite the fact that our defense was not great. The defense continued to struggle, especially on containment,” opened-up Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.

“Their pressure defense gave us all kinds of fits. We knew that was coming. We prepared for it, we worked for it. But credit to them, especially Ritchie. He put his shoulder down and jumped into the defense. As aggressive as they played defensively, we shot ten free throws. That’s a sign to me that we weren’t low and we weren’t trying to counter their aggression with aggression. We didn’t handle it like the veteran group that we have and like we should have.”

The stage is now set for the Dalhousie Tigers (27-8) to face No. 2 ranked, eleven-time and six-time defending CIS champions Carleton Ravens, in what should be another high octane, pressure game which the Tigers have shown capable of winning under the tutelage of third-year head coach Rick Plato.

A closer look at the Tigers past three wins reveals a combined 7 points difference, earning wins over St. Marys 75-74 (AUS Semifinal), 87-85 over UPEI (AUS championship) and a slim 87-83 win over a Gee-Gees that was ranked in the top spot for over five weeks.

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Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada

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Alabama Crimson Tide Avery Johnson Return To Canada

The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.

The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).

The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.

Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.

Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the  2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.

Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.

Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.

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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

Calgary Dinos senior guard Thomas Cooper had himself and impressive CIS/Usports career to say the least. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native, a 6-5, 200 lbs guard earned himself two first team All-Canadian awards while leading Dinos back to the championship game for the first time since 1966.

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No. 1 Carleton Ravens 81-40 lock-up rivals No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees

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Eddie Ekiyor Carleton Ravens Vs.Ottawa Gee Gees USports Basketball
Photo - Valerie Wutti

Ottawa, ON – The twelve-time defending CIS/USports National Basketball Champions and No.1 Carleton Ravens went into Monpetit Hall and completely dominated the No. 2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, locking up their Bytown rivals with a blistering 81-40 win.

The Ravens, the top defensive unit in the country, allowing an incredible low of only 60 points to opponents, dominated every aspect of the much anticipated game holding Ottawa to four points in the first-quarter and thirteen in the second for a grand total of seventeen first-half points and 35-17 half-time lead.

The first-quarter ended with Ravens leading 11-4 as both teams slugged it out in front of a jam packed standing room only Monpetit Hall which hasn’t seen the Gee-Gees get dismantled like this on their home floor in 32-game OUA conference games – snapping home winning streak which dated back to 2012.

Fifth-year senior Guard Connor Wood caught fire in the second-quarter after a cold start scoring all but 14 of the teams 24 points in the quarter and finished with 16 in the half and game-high 19 points. Starting point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane added 10 points, six rebounds in just 19 minutes.

The Gee-Gees were limited to 6-of-32 (18.8%) shooting, 3-of-17 from the outside in the opening 20 minutes and managed to only connect on 12-56 (21.4%) of their field goal attempts for the entire game and only 6-of-26 from the outside.

Carleton shot 50% in the second-half and finished 31-68 from the floor and 13-of-28 from downtown while turning the ball over 9 times compared to the Gee-Gees 18.

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The 40 points allowed by the Ravens is their lowest against the Gee-Gees since a 74-34 smack-down in January 18th, 2012 at the Sixth Annual Capital Hoops Classic.

Carleton Ravens 6’10” freshman Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) and senior forward Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) finished one point shy of double-doubles with 9 points and 8 rebounds respectively, and shutdown the Gee-Gees dynamic duo of Caleb Agada (12 points, 4 rebounds) and former Ravens Jean Emmanuel Pierre (7 points, 6 rebounds). Gee-Gees Guard Brandon Robinson had a team-high 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-4 triples.

Carleton’s record  stays unblemished at a perfect 10-0, 16-0 against Canadian competition and 22-2 overall with the only losses coming from two NCAA opponents on the road in Rhode Island – Providence Friars 87-69 and in Philadelphia against LaSalle Explorers 79-73.

Both teams will meet again in just over two weeks (Feb 3rd) at the 2017 Capital Hoops Classic at the ScotiaBank Centre.

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