The greatest story ever hooped

There are probably about a million stories behind Acadia beating Carleton 82-80 tonight to end the Ravens' strings of CIS basketball titles; colleague Chris Stevenson, who was under tight, tight deadlines, has one of them.

The immediate question is, was it the greatest game in CIS history? Carleton shot in the 30s and, let's be honest, the officiating you could take issue with, so greatest game might be a stretch, but it was tense, that's for sure, and no one could remember off-hand a game that tiops it. There isn't the fan culture (or readily available Wikipedia entries) around university sports in Canada that there is in the States, so it's an impossible question to answer at 3:30 a.m. The frame of reference isn't quite the same.

What is known is that the Axemen and Ravens went two overtimes. The game seemed to have about a hundred climaxes. A 31-0 team's streak of five straight titles ended in front of a hometown crowd of 9,316 that they had hoped to continuing winning in front of straight through this year, 2009 and 2010, when they would have been poised to break Victoria's record of seven straight championships. (Ken Shields' record is safe for a good long time now.)

The parallels here are odd. Acadia also ended Victoria's run, also in a semi-final game, in 1987. Those Axemen lost the final to Brandon, and these guys will play another BU, Brock, in the final.

UCLA and John Wooden's seven-year streak also ended with a double-overtime defeat in a national semi-final vs. N.C. State in 1974. N.C. State, of course, is the Wolfpack; Acadia is in Wolfville. Weird. That year marked the last NCAA Tournament that only included conference champions. Now we're about to have a championship game between a 5 and a 7 seed which didn't win their conferences, which should fuel debate over whether it's time to go to 16 teams, or how much stock should be put in winning the league when it's time to do the seedings.

For the greatest game debate, among all sports, the 1994 Vanier Cup, Western over Saskatchewan in overtime, always bears mentioning. Hockey has Trois-Rivieres' double-overtime win in the 2001 final over St. Francis Xavier that denied that school the chances to rule hoops and hockey in the same season. (The basketball X-Men, a week earlier, beat Brandon in, wait for it, overtime.) Then there's all sorts of regular-season games that were big in their own way, like the 2003 McMaster-Queen's football game where the Gaels went up in the last minute on a 99-yard Tom Denison-to-Craig Spear scoring pass, only to have Jesse Lumsden run the ensuing kickoff all the way back to take it to overtime, where the Marauders won.

There's more drivel at Out of Left Field; a post was kind of demanded. The paper has a recap of Brock beating Western and a notebook; the Citizen's gamer is excellent, considering all the material and how late the game went.
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  1. Funny how every one of your CIS greatest moments, other than the T.R. and St.Fx hockey game, has an OUA angle to it. Why do you think that is?

  2. It's certainly one of the greatest CIS games ever: I don't know enough about early CIS history to definitively label it as that, though. I do know I'm very glad I saw that amazing game, though. Nice work on the posts here and at OOLF.

  3. @ Vic: Hey, feel free to mention a few more.

    Saint Mary's Atlantic Bowl win over Western in 1990 would have to rate up there; Larry Haylor opts to kick the field for a five-point lead and Chris Flynn takes them all the way down for the winning TD.

  4. Yes Neate, you're correct that you guys are blinded by the OUA. Otherwise, someone may have considered the 2005 Mitchell Bowl.

  5. By no means was it meant to be a list of "CIS greatest moments." The point was prefaced by saying that in Canada -- that whole not enough history and too much geography thing again -- we don't have that shared sports consciousness that the Americans do.

    The '05 Mitchell? Sure, ranks right up there, fantastic game. The Regina Rams' playoff run in 2000, particularly the comeback they made to beat SMU in the Atlantic Bowl, Neal Hughes breaking the two big kick returns, is probably a personal fave for a lot of people. Didn't they come from 14 points down in the first playoff game?