Tigers pull upset, knock off Gee-Gees at ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men’s basketball championship

Tigers pull upset, knock off Gee-Gees at ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men’s basketball championship

VANCOUVER (CIS) – The sixth-seeded Dalhousie Tigers outscored the third-seeded Ottawa Gee-Gees 25-13 in the final period to pull of the first upset of the quarter-final round at the 2016 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Men's Basketball Final 8.

The Tigers advanced to the semifinals with an 87-83 triumph over the two-time defending finalists Thursday at UBC's Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver.

Dalhousie's surge started late in the third quarter. Trailing 70-60 after Caleb Agada's layup with half a minute remaining, Ritchie Kaza Mata made a pair of free throws to make it 70-62.

Mata then opened the fourth with a layup, which was followed by a bucket from Cedric Sanogo. Then Kashrell Lawrence converted three field goals in a row, along with a free throw to put the Tigers ahead 73-70.

Kanza Mata's score to open the fourth accounted for two of his 10 final-period points. They included two circus buckets, which he got to fall on successive possessions after driving the hoop hard in the face of tough defence from Brandon Robinson. Kanza Mata, an AUS First Team All-Star then drew a foul on Agada using the same move to the right, hitting both free throws to put the Tigers in front for good, 85-81.

Brody Maracle was superb for the Garnet and Grey, shooting 7-for-9 from the field and leading the charge as Ottawa built a 10-point lead late in the third.

Reid converted a three-point shot early in the second quarter to give the Tigers their largest lead of the game, 32-25, but the Gee-Gees battled to go ahead 39-37 on Agada's basket and foul shot.

Consecutive three-point baskets by Matt Plunkett and Vikas Gill increased the gap to 52-45 in favour of Ottawa. But Dalhousie posted five straight points to go into the mid-game break down just 52-50.

Free throw shooting was a key advantage for the Tigers, who went to the line 24 times and converted 16 points there while the Gee-Gees made just four trips. Kanza Mata went 7-8 from the stripe and finished the game with 24 points. Dalhousie also got a 14-point performance from Lawrence and 13 points from Reid.

"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 defence was not great. The defence continued to struggle, especially on containment," explained Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.

"Their pressure defence 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 defence. 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 Dalhousie defence pressured Ottawa into 24 turnovers – a season high and 10 more than the team's average.

Matt Plunkett led the Gee-Gees with 17 points while CIS Player of the Year Mike L'Africain posted 16 points and seven assists. Agada also had seven helpers.

Dalhousie will face the Carleton Ravens in Saturday's first semifinal at 3 p.m. at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, a game that will also be broadcast live on Sportsnet 360 and www.CIS-SIC.tv. The Gee-Gees will continue the national tournament on the consolation side of the bracket, facing the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack on Friday at 5 p.m. (8 ET). The game will be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

STAT LEADERS

DAL29-21-12-25: 87
OTT25-27-18-13: 83

Dalhousie
Points: Ritchie Kanza Mata (24), Kashrell Lawrence (14)
Rebounds: Lawrence (6)
Assists: Kanza Mata (4)

Ottawa
Points: Matt Plunkett (17), Mike L'Africain (16)
Rebounds: Caleb Agada (7)
Assists:L'Africain (7), Agada (7)

SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times PACIFIC)

Thursday, March 17
13:00 Quarter-final 1: Carleton 91, Thompson Rivers 75
15:00 Quarter-final2: Dalhousie 87, Ottawa 83
18:00 Quarter-final 3: Calgary 72, McGill 69
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 8 UBC vs. No. 1 Ryerson(www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Friday, March 18
17:00 Consolation 1: Thompson Rivers vs. Ottawawww.CIS-SIC.tv)
19:00 Consolation 2: McGill vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, March 19
12:00 5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Semifinal 1: Carleton vs. Dalhousie(Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
17:30 Semifinal 2: Calgary vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

Sunday, March 20
14:00 Bronze (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
17:30 Final (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

* Webcast of the semifinals& final are on pay-per-view basis.