Defending national champions, the Huskies men’s basketball team bowed out of gold medal contention Saturday night at the Halifax Metro Center after falling to the Carleton Ravens 95-83.
The loss now sends the Huskies to a bronze medal bout with the UBC Thunderbirds on Sunday. The game will be a rematch of last year’s gold medal game and this year’s Canada West final as the rivalry continues to build between these two teams.
Against Carleton, however, it was mostly a one-sided affair as the Ravens sunk their talons into the Huskies early on and held on throughout the game.
The only lead the Huskies laid claim to was a three-pointer nailed by Jamelle Barrett minutes into the first quarter that gave the Dogs a 3-0 advantage. CIS player of the year Tyson Hinz quickly responded for the Ravens by nailing back-to-back three-pointers. From that point forth it was undisputedly Carleton’s game — and Hinz’s too.
The 19-year old Hinz collected 32 points en route to his team’s gold medal berth and presented an endless problem that interim head coach Barry Rawlyk and the Huskies could just not solve.
“We had a lot of trouble containing him simply because each time he got the ball there was a whistle blowing so that really became a factor. Did we expect him to be a factor? Of course — he was just named the most outstanding player in the country,” commented Rawlyk.
“Having said that, I thought our guys didn’t have much a chance to defend him the way we game planned.”
Aside from Hinz dominating the Huskies throughout the game, the Dogs found issue once again with the officiating, though the humble nature of coach Rawlyk didn’t indicate this afterwards. A total of 62 fouls were called between both teams — a staggering 31 fouls apiece. Needless to say, it was also a physical game.
“There were a lot of whistles in the game and I’m not sure which way that may or may not have tilted the game,” said the coach. “Ultimately I have to give Carleton credit. They came out, had a good game plan and as they’re well coached, they’re disciplined and they stuck to their game plan.”
Michael Lieffers was another member of the Green and White contingent who didn’t blame the outcome on the officiating.
“Reffing can go either way every game. It’s just a matter of who can play with it and who plays through it actually. We struggled tonight — and it’s hard,” said Lieffers, as he tried to hold back his emotions.
A series of missed foul shots by Barrett, Rejean Chabot and Nolan Brudehl with the seconds trickling away in the final frame didn’t help the Huskies’ cause either.
Hinz and the Ravens now advance to face Trinity Western on Sunday at 5 p.m. with a gold medal and Canadian varsity basketball supremacy on the line. The bronze medal match between Saskatchewan and UBC unfolds at 1:15 p.m.
Interview with Coach Barry Rawlyk
Interview with Michael Lieffers
image: Nick Frost