Final 8 notebook: How to beat Carleton (sort of) and take timeouts (or not)

Peter James is in Halifax for the Final 8 and has kindly offered us a daily notebook. This is the fifth installment (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4). Be sure to check out his ongoing work for Postmedia as well.

  • Alberta's Daniel Ferguson scored 31 points Saturday in a semifinal win over St. FX and teammate Jordan Baker added 20. In the quarter-finals against Lakehead it was Baker scoring 26 and Ferguson chipping in 23. All together, the two have scored 100 of the Bears' 172 points so far in Halifax.

    But Ferguson suggested another effort like that from the two Golden Bears stars wouldn't be enough to knock off the top-ranked Carleton Ravens in Sunday's final.

    "Everyone's got to be a threat," he said. "We can't beat them with Ferguson and Baker, that's not good enough. Carleton's too good for that.

    "It's got to be (Sahr) Saffa, Rob Dewar. We've all got to contribute and make plays for our teammates and get easy baskets."

  • St. Francis Xavier head coach Steve Konchalski has seen a lot during his 37 seasons in charge of the X-Men program. So he had some advice for Alberta as they try to knock off the Ravens on Sunday.

    "One game, anything can happen," he told reporters after his team lost 91-83 to Alberta in the semifinal. "They need big games out of the same guys that they got games out of today. They had a huge game out of Ferguson and Baker and the third man came in today, Saffa, and made the difference, I thought.

    "You got to hope Carleton just doesn't get hot from three-point range ... They're a great three-point team, to beat them you're going to have to hope they're going to miss a few of those."

  • Willy Manigat was the bellwether player for the Carleton Ravens on Saturday in their 83-65 win over the Fraser Valley Cascades.

    The fifth-year guard missed his first eight three-point attempts as the Ravens struggled with their shooting early on. He got hot the same time as his teammates, a few minutes into the third quarter, and finished the day with four treys and 15 points.

    "I wasn't upset with most of his shots," Ravens coach Dave Smart said. "When he missed the one where it was a good shot after a kick out, then he got it back and threw up an early one with no penetration ... it wasn't a friendly conversation."

  • Smart also had an interesting, unprompted talk about the value of not taking timeouts.

    He elected not to call for time when the Cascades tied the score 33-33 in the third quarter. He said sometimes when teams climb back into games, their defence can lapse a bit and it's worth not taking a timeout right away.

    "I would call a timeout after they get up four," he explained. "I'd want to see what happens when they tie the score."

    Smart also talked about what to do when his team crawls out of a big deficit, noting there can be a case to be made to call for time to calm the troops.

    "You don't want to call timeout because you don't want to break your momentum, but sometimes you need a timeout to re-start the game and get guys focused," he said. "It can go either way and it's really tough on coaches."

    He concluded his chat with a great line about his thought process and how he was trying to anticipate what Cascades coach Barnaby Craddock would do.

    "I knew because I wouldn't call a time out that he wouldn't call a time out, which is why I didn't call a time out."
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