Lancers advance to Consolation Finals against Huskies

Lancers advance to Consolation Finals against Huskies

(Photo by Michael P. Hall)

TORONTO (CIS) – The second-seeded Windsor Lancers had seven players score in double figures as they withstood a late rally to defeat the No. 6 Bishop's Gaiters 91-80 in their ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Men's Basketball Championship consolation game, Friday afternoon at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Inserted into the starting lineup following their 82-68 quarter-final defeat to host Ryerson Thursday night, Mike Rocca gave the Lancers a strong all-round effort, registering 10 points, a team-high seven rebounds and four assists in the win. The Sarnia native was three of five from three-point range, with the Lancers knocking down 13 of their 27 overall attempts from beyond the arc.
 
Windsor head coach Chris Oliver praised Rocca's overall play, saying he plays much bigger than his 5-10 frame might suggest.
 
"Mike's a competitive guy. For him to compete on the boards with his size is tremendous," Oliver said. "You got to be real good at that size to play at this level. He could always shoot it, he was a good scorer in high school, but his rebounding is something he brings to the table as well."
 
Rocca and Rotimi Osuntola got the OUA finalists off to a fast start, each making three pointers to give them a 9-2 lead within the first two minutes of the game. Bishop's, as they showed in Thursday night's tough overtime quarterfinal defeat to the Ottawa Gee-Gees, fought back, soon tying the game up at nine and staying in the game through centre, Mike Andrews and guard, David Belanger, who combined for 13 of the 18 first quarter points as they trailed by five.
 
They would trail by eight at the half, however, thanks to three pointers by Windsor's Marko Kovac, Khalid Abdel-Gadar and Bradford Parker as Windsor continued to spread the floor throughout.
 
The lead became 13 in the third thanks to a corner three by Rocca quarter to make it 59-46 with 4:56 remaining. But Andrews would will Bishop's back, scoring 10 of his game-high 29 points in the quarter to cut Windsor's lead back down to eight. 
 
The Gaiters comeback continued in the final period through a pair of Jana Bermillo three pointers, before his bank shot tied the game at 76 with 4:53 to play.
 
But Lancers guard and leading scorer on the season, Rotimi Osuntola Jr. helped put the game to bed with a dunk, then a layup to give his team an 82-78 lead before backcourt mate, Alex Campbell made a jumper, followed by a three point play to put the game out of reach for the Gaiters.
 
"I was pleased that our guys pushed back and tried to get back in the game," Bishop's coach, Rod Gilpin said. "But after last night, losing today doesn't hurt. Losing last night still hurts and I'm sure it does for the Windsor guys too."
 
As for Rocca, who was named player of the game, he insists the team will fight to end their season on a high in Saturday's fifth-place final vs. the Saskatchewan Huskies despite still feeling the disappointment of not being able to compete for the national championship.
 
"As competitors, every game we want to win. That's the way it is when you're an athlete,|" he said. "We're going to fight. We're all competitors, we've all got big hearts. We're ready to play."
 
Windsor closes out its season Saturday at 2 p.m. against Saskatchewan in the fifth-place contest.

Source: CIS