Men's Basketball: Signature win for Smart, Ravens

Carleton 82, Trinity Western 59

HALIFAX — Upon seeing the Carleton Ravens have won their seventh CIS men's basketball title in nine seasons, many will groan and say, 'Oh, it's just another win for Carleton.' After all, the team wins with such monotony that even casual observers of CIS basketball know which program is Canada's King.

But this was not just a formality; this was a clinic. Dave Smart's Ravens showed why they're the best program in the country, putting together textbook offensive execution and a stingy defensive focus to beat the Trinity Western Spartans 82-59 and become CIS Champions.

The Ravens hit 10 three-pointers before halftime to beat the massive Spartan lineup, penetrating the paint and moving the ball to the perimeter with stunning precision. It was no matter that Player of the Year Tyson Hinz was limited to just 13 points by Trinity's versatile bigs; Carleton picked apart the Spartan defence with crisp, precise passes and made it rain from beyond the arc.

Carleton finished 16-for-38 from three-point range and racked up 19 assists. And while they were firing on all cylinders offensively, the Ravens also managed to hold Trinity Western to 35.4 per cent shooting and forced 18 turnovers with excellent rotations and quick, nabbing hands.

It's a signature win for Smart given the youth and experience of this Carleton team; many, including Smart himself, labelled this a 'rebuilding' year following the recent departure of stars Aaron Doornekamp, Stu Turnbull and Kevin McCleery. But the Ravens, led by Hinz and super rookie Phil Scrubb, showed there may be a new Carleton dynasty on the way.

Here's what the players and coaches from each team had to say following the win:

Ravens coach Smart:

- On the gameplan and execution: "We had to attack them off the perimeter. Friday we didn't make shots, but Saturday and Sunday we did."

- On having won a title in a potential off-year: "I don't want to downplay how proud I am of this group. I love this group. It's a young group and they've worked really hard... Every time I've been standing here I've had a special feeling about them."

- On the potential start of a new Carleton dynasty: "It's hard to win. A lot of things went our way this year. Do we hope to put ourselves in a position to win again? Yes. But it's hard to win."

Senior guard and maritime native Elliot Thompson, who was named Player of the Game:

- On winning in front of friends and family: "It feels amazing. Any time you can win a national championship it's the best feeling in the world.... It feels great hearing the support; I try to block it out, but it's definitely there and it's awesome.

- On his performance in the final (Thompson had 19 points, including four threes): You just have to keep shooting the ball. Friday and Saturday I shot a lot of threes and some of them weren't going on, but you just have to trust your body and keep shooting. The main thing going into this tournament was to keep attacking, never quit and play for 40 minutes and I think that's why we won this tournament."

- On being a leader of the team and having young players like Hinz and Scrubb playing so well under pressure: "That's the thing with those guys; you don't really need to tell them much. They're guys that are getting it done and are gonna have great careers in the future... it's not hard to lead when you have great followers."

Ravens guard Willy Manigat:

- On winning his second CIS banner: "I can't even put it into words. Everyone in our locker room from our coaching staff to our managers and players and anyone that helps with our program, they always believe in us, and we work hard every single day at practice you know [coach Smart] demands a lot from us."

- On winning in what was potentially a rebuilding year: "To us, it's never really a rebuilding program. We lost a big piece in [McCleery] last year and part of the mission was to get what he couldn't get last year."

- On rebounding from last week's Wilson Cup loss to Lakehead: "I feel like the Lakehead loss, even after it happened, never really brought me down because we went undefeated for the year and won our first playoff game by a fair amount and we needed something that could bring us back to earth so that we could win this. This is what we wanted. Last year we won an OUA title, but when we lost [in the semi-finals] it didn't make me feel any better. We knew that the ultimate goal was to come here and just fight."

- On Smart's coaching philosophy: "Our coach always says we don't need to worry about the score; it's just about the process of winning. If we fight and do everything that we need to do then things will happen."

CIS Rookie of the Year Scrubb:

- On Player of the Year Hinz' impact: "He's basically our whole offence. He gets other guys shots. He's tough to cover one-on-one and most teams have to [double-team him] and when they do, we'll get shots."

- On coming to Carleton as a 17-year old and winning a championship: "When I talked to coach Smart, he basically said I was going to improve here. I just wanted to improve every minute and every second and to win. The main reason I came here was to win a national championship, and I look forward to doing that in the future as well."

- On the potential for a new Carleton dynasty: "Hopefully. That's the plan. Next year, we're going to work just as hard - maybe harder."

For Trinity Western, the loss is painful as fifth-year players Jacob Doerksen, Tyrell Mara and Daniel Horner came up agonizingly short in their final CIS games. With a starting five composed entirely of transfer players, it was a team built for a championship; one they were one game short of winning.

Spartans forward Kyle Coston:

- On Carleton's execution: "We knew that they were going to come out strong and they were going to be fluid. In the first half I think they competed a little harder than us, to be honest. You can't do that in a national championship and think you're going to win."

Spartans forward Doerksen:

- On the run his team made to the tournament: "It's been great for Trinity Western. Just a few years ago they had losing records year after year. To build the program up the last three years with [head coach] Scott Allen and to make the final was an accomplishment. It was awesome. Just too bad we couldn't win it."

- On prospects of continuing his career professionally: "I definitely want to play. I was just waiting for the season to end and to get a good look at maybe playing overseas."

Spartans coach Allen:

- On focusing his team after yesterday's dramatic win over UBC: "I think the guys were focused and we had a plan. I just think we underestimated how aggressive they were on defence... we couldn't get into our looks."

- On Carleton's offensive execution: "They're so good in the post, what are you gonna do? Are you going to double team them or let them go one-on-one... you have to pick your poisons and kind of mix it up. They're a full-merit team and they're a machine."

- On Trinity Western's first Final 8 appearance: "It's a young program. I told them right after the game I was proud of them and that what they've done now is established a tradition that we want to continue."


UBC 111, Saskatchewan 95

Earlier in the night, the UBC Thunderbirds and Saskatchewan Huskies ran a glorified track meet, with UBC winning the Bronze medal game 111-95 in a low-intensity, high-scoring affair. Alex Murphy torched the Huskies with a career-high 36 points in the final game of his CIS career. The Thunderbirds took an 18-point lead at halftime and never let their lead get any smaller than 10, cruising to their third straight Final 8 medal.

Jamelle Barrett scored 28 points and dished out 10 assists for the Huskies, but it wasn't enough to produce a victory. Fellow backcourt teammate Rejean Chabot score just 10 points in 22 minutes as both teams went deep to their benches early and often.

UBC played without former Player of the Year Josh Whyte, who had been playing with a stress fracture in his foot all weekend and took shots to let him play in the quarter- and semi-finals.

UBC coach Kevin Hanson:

- On Murphy's career game: "I thought Alex Murphy, for a fifth-year senior guy, that'll be a memory for life scoring 36 in his last game as a UBC Thunderbird... he held us together like glue."

- On Whyte playing through the stress fracture: "He put in everything in his heart for this team., sacrificing personal injury like that to play."

- On the relaxed atmosphere of the game: "These toilet bowl games always seem to be high scoring-scoring affairs... it's an opportunity to have a little bit of fun."

Player of the Game Murphy:

- On playing for the Bronze medal: "I'm proud of the guys. It's such a tough game to get up and play for. Nobody wants to play that game."

- On scoring a career high in his final game: "That was good. I know I can shoot like that. It was good to prove it to myself.

- On where he goes next in basketball: "I'm going to try to play pro somewhere in Europe... it's going to be a long, arduous summer. I'll work hard at it."


Jack Donohue Trophy (Tournament MVP):

Tyson Hinz, Carleton

Tournament All-Star Team:

Jamelle Barrett, Saskatchewan
Tyson Hinz, Carleton
Kyle Coston, Trinity Western
Jacob Doerksen, Trinity Western
Elliot Thompson, Carleton

R.W Pugh Fair Play Award:

Simon Farine, Dalhousie


Just a note: Thanks to all the readers who followed the liveblogs, checked in with our game reports and offered comments. It's been a great weekend of hoops and it wouldn't be possible without readers like yourselves.
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  1. Tyson Hinz (NOT Heinz, Hali PA announcer) had an extraordinary amount of pressure on him this past weekend.
    Winning the Moser as a 19 year old raised some eyebrows in some circles.
    Most fans, I suspect, expected Barrett to be a lock for the POY, considering his incredible stats and obvious importance to the Huskies.
    I talked to a couple of Sask fans who were dumbfounded by Hinz's selection.
    They couldn't believe this skinny kid beat out their super star and Barrett and his mates were going to school Carleton...didn't turn out that way.
    Coming off three consecutive poor performances, the Ravens stepped up and delivered against a team they waited a full year to meet again.
    Barrett was great...Chabot was very good...but Hinz trumped them both.
    Dealing with scrutiny that would have caved in many veteran players, Hinz delivered the finest performance of his still budding career.
    The backbone of the Ravens is Hinz and 18 year old Phil Smart ample opportunity to surpass Ken Shields in the record book

  2. The scary part is that, not only was Carleton clearly the best team in the nation this year but, among all the contenders from this season, they will have the most returning talent next season.

    Add to that an amazing recruiting class that already includes Justin Shaver; will soon include Ben Shaver; and might eventually include Jean Pierre-Charles, Vince Dufort, and Chris Joseph, and you have the potential makings of another long run of championships.

  3. Oops, brain fart. Ben Shaver should read Ben Felix.