- St. Francis Xavier guard Terry Thomas said his team took its loss to Acadia in the AUS final to heart.
"We lost Sunday, we all felt that loss," Thomas said after a 98-82 win over Concordia. "We haven't been playing our type of basketball for a long time. If we play X tempo, like we've been playing, we can control games."
- The X-Men were upset by the Axemen at the Metro Centre a week ago and coach Steve Konchalski said he reminded them of that before the game.
"We talked about the fact against Acadia last Sunday in the AUS championship game we didn't come out with energy. I guess the message was well-heard."
Thomas certainly got the message. He scored a career-high 39 points and was a key part of the X-Men's early run that buried the Stingers.
"He was all over the place," Konchalski said of Thomas. "Inside, outside, transition, defensively."
- The Carleton Ravens had no problem pre-scouting their first round opponents. The Acadia Axemen are full of Eastern Ontario connections and some of the players even practice with the Ravens players in the summer.
Anthony Ashe, Sean Stoqua and Lauchlan Gale all list Ottawa, or its suburbs, as their hometown. Owen Klassen, meanwhile, is from Kingston, Ont. Ashe began his university career with the Ravens before transferring.
"A lot of those kids are close to me," Ravens coach Dave Smart said after his team's 82-68 win. "Anthony, as much as he transferred, I think the world of him and I'm close to him and his family. I'm extremely happy to see that he's doing well. ... Sean played in my club program since he was in Grade 8. He's a kid we recruited as hard as anyone. It's hard because you know how much it means to them."
Smart also recruited Klassen and called him one of the best players for Canada at the Pan Am Games.
"It was a real special experience coaching him," Smart said.
- Coaches and players will be busy breaking down tape on Friday night and Saturday morning as they cram for their semifinal opponents.
Alberta coach Greg Francis said the goal for his team is not to get into a track meet with the talented X-Men. He said the Golden Bears will have to work to keep the game at their pace and run their offence.
Fraser Valley Cascades guard Sheldon Bjorgaard said he's looking forward to getting a shot at the top-ranked Carleton Ravens.
"Carleton is a great team, a really great team," he said. "They're probably the best team in the country. We're looking forward to compete against the best and prove ourselves."
- Jay Triano is in Halifax as the honorary chairman for the Final 8 tournament and gave a keynote address on Thursday night at the awards banquet.
The former head coach of the Toronto Raptors talked about his experiences as a player and a coach and related stories of winning a gold medal as a coach with the United States at the FIBA world championship.
Final 8 notebook: Friday's games
Peter James is in Halifax for the Final 8 and has kindly offered us a daily notebook. This is his third installment, focusing on various highlights from Friday. Be sure to check out his first two and his ongoing tournament work for Postmedia as well.