Courtesy: Jodee Brown, organizing committee / Photo credit Michael P. Hall
TORONTO (CIS) – Dadrian Collins ensured his eighth-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies finished their season strong as his three-pointer with 38 seconds left helped them see through a 99-94 victory over the No. 2 Windsor Lancers in their 2015 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Men's Basketball Championship consolation final Saturday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Collins's team-high 29 points – including 18 from beyond the arc - to go with eight rebounds were a key factor in the Huskies win as they finish the season with two straight wins to take fifth place in the country, following their 40-point quarter-final loss to the four-time defending CIS champion Carleton Ravens on Thursday.
For Barry Rawlyk, head coach of the Canada West finalists, it was a good way to end their season after such a crushing defeat.
"We were very, very disappointed with our performance against Carleton," he said. "We really thought we didn't represent ourselves very well, so it was important for us to come out and be able to advance here. For us to be able to come out of today with the win is nice."
It did not start so well for his team though as the first half of the opening quarter saw Windsor crash the boards, earning several early offensive rebounds and capitalizing, taking an early 8-2 lead on threes by Alex Campbell and Khalid Abdel-Gabar. Saskatchewan's leading scorer took a while to get going, but would get the Huskies back in the game with a pair of threes and a layup to help his team cut the Lancers lead to 17-14 after the opening period.
One of the highlight plays of the first half came nearly four minutes into the second half when Mississauga guard, Khalid Abdel-Gabar made a no look pass to Rotimi Osuntola Jr. for a slam dunk to equal scores at 24. From there, however, Windsor's ability to space the floor, as shown during Friday's victory against Bishop's, was suppressed by the Huskies active movement on defense, holding them to 10 points the rest of the half. Matthew Forbes powered his way to a pair of makes to help put Saskatchewan up six before Ben Baker and Evan Severinski upped the lead to 12, each hitting corner threes.
Forbes opened second half scoring showing his ability from outside with a three before Collins re-asserted himself in a variety of ways, making a layup, a long two and a bank shot from beyond the arc to help them maintain their 12-point advantage. However, Windsor soon turned up the defense, forcing three steals in the quarter, leading to makes by Abdel-Gabar and Tyler Persaud, whose buzzer-beating corner three cut the Huskies lead to 82-79 heading into the final frame.
Collins again got back into the act as the Virginia native and the star of Friday's win against the Dalhousie Tigers, Ryan Ostertag each hit a pair of jumpers to push the lead up to eight with 7:07 to play. Windsor then turned up the defense yet again, forcing four more steals which led to them cutting the Huskies advantage to two through Matthews, whose post move led to Forbes fouling out with 1:50 left.
Windsor then took their first lead since 26-24 midway through the second quarter through an Alex Campbell three pointer before Ben Baker's layup switched things back in their favour. Collins, who forced an offensive foul shortly thereafter, hit his sixth three pointer of the game to put them up 94-90 before he and Mike Scott, who scored eight of his ten points in the fourth, each made a pair of free throws to ice the game.
"He (Collins) really struggled early in the game, but that's kind of been Dadrian all year," coach Rawlyk said. "We've been patient with him and eventually he comes around. He's hit some big, big shots for us this year and again today."
Later on Saturday, the CIS final four will be cut to two when the two winningest programs in the competition's history, the Carleton Ravens and Victoria Vikes face each other at 6:00 p.m., followed by the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Final 8 hosts, the Ryerson Rams at 8:30 p.m., both on Sportsnet.
SSK 14-32-25-28: 99
WIN 17-17-34-26: 94
Points: Dadrian Collins (29), Ben Baker (19), Matthew Forbes (16)
Rebounds: Matthew Forbes (12), Ben Baker (10)
Assists: Ben Baker (9)
Player of the game: Dadrian Collins
Points: Khalib Abdel-Gabar (21), Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (18), Alex Campbell (16)
Rebounds: Evan Matthews (13), Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (10)
Assists: Khalib Abdel-Gabar (8)
Player of the game: Rotomi Osuntola Jr.
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Thursday, March 12
11:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 1 Carleton 90, No. 8 Saskatchewan 50
13:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 4 Victoria 57, No. 5 Dalhousie 56
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 7 Ryerson 82, No. 2 Windsor 68
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 3 Ottawa 91, No. 6 Bishop's 85 (OT)
Friday, March 13
14:00 Consolation 1: Saskatchewan 90, Dalhousie 79
16:00 Consolation 2: Windsor 91, Bishop's 80
Saturday, March 14
14:00 5th-place game: Saskatchewan 99, Windsor 94
18:00 Semifinal 1: Carleton vs. Victoria (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **
20:30 Semifinal 2: Ryerson vs. Ottawa (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **
Sunday, March 15
11:30 Bronze (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
15:00 Final (Sportsnet 360 & ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **
* Rogers TV, Rogers TV Sports +, Super Sports Pak.
** The webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.