FINAL — No. 6 Dalhousie 87, No. 3 Ottawa 83
Impact for/on the Tigers — With their No. 11 winning the point-guard battle against an all-Canadian, Dal dialed it up to 11 on the defensive end, reducing Ottawa to one shot per possession, which more often than not was a crooked-out-of-the-hand three. Ritchie Kanza Mata went for 24 to helm Dal's backcourt slow down all-Canadian Mike L'Africain., They also got some great wing defence from Sven Stammberger and important closeouts by Kashrell Lawrence to overcome an eight-point deficit. Dal outscored Ottawa 25-11 across the final 10 minutes.
The Tigers are through to Saturday against Carleton.
Impact for/on the Gee-Gees — End of an era for the James Derouin Gang, with L'Africain, Vikas Gill and Mehdi Tihani graduating. A cool-off from deep will do that, and one bad quarter spoils a splendid season and ends a three-year run of medals (2013 bronze, 2014 and '15 silver).
Nathan McCarthy was completely shut down, with three points in 14 minutes.
Entertainment value — A
"Mom, make Dad tell the story right! "That's what really happened ..."
- Ottawa ran hot early, with Matt Plunkett, who integrated into their first five last after apprenticing under fifth-year tri-captain Vikas Gill, canned a couple threes. Ottawa was up 11-2.
- Then again, Ottawa's the great shooting team that has been below par, whereas Dalhousie is one of the power eFG% teams still playing.
- Then the Tigers turned it into more of a track meet, as you would expect from the AUS team against an OUA team that has shifted away from its "organized chaos" of 2013. With the floor opening up, the relay team with rookie guard Jordan Aquino-Serjue, Jarred Reid and Ritchie Kanza Mata got a lot of runouts, combining to score for 17 on 7-of-11, 78.2% eFG.
- Ottawa took only 15 shots in the first quarter, had an 80 per cent eFG% (4-of-6 twos, 6-of-9 triples), but was down four.
- Brandon Robinson, who's getting more exposure in big games, had an expiring-clock baseline drive and a triple early in the second.
- 6:15 left in Quarter Two, Caleb Agada gets the baseline drive, bump, and the old-fashioned three-point play to give Ottawa their first lead (39-37) since very early.
- At 5:36, an officiating flub. Ottawa didn't hit the rim on a driving layup, but was given a fresh 14" when Plunkett ripped away the offensive rebound. It was corrected. Dal used a timeout and got a stop.
- Sven Stammberger had more ball than man whilst trying to stop Gill, but the blocking foul was called to get Dal in the penalty. The Dalhousie bench got teed up. Believers that 'ball don't lie' likely noticed Gill went 1-of-3.
- Gill has more than offset that with his rebounding and interior passing. Just made a sweet post-to-post pass to Brody Maracle. Gee-Gees by five at the two-minute.
- Gill hits from NBA range to put the Gees past half-a-hundred, 52-45.
- The Plunkett 'unsporting' foul (two in a game and you're done) came about from a missed read by Mackenzie Morrison, or so it looked like. The Gees got trapped, turned it over, and Plunkett had to wrap up to prevent a breakaway layup.
Off the midcourt inbound, Aquino-Serjue's triple cut the spread to two points. That five-point swing makes it more of a game, but if Ottawa wants to win a championship, they won't let it bother them.
- Ottawa is a shooting an effective 75 per cent, 9-of-15 on twos, 10-of-17 on threes. Ten turnovers and 4-of-9 at the line are why it is up only two at recess.
- Dalhousie, with a 49.4% reg-season eFG, had a half at 56.6% eFG (14-30 twos, 5-of-8 threes). Whether that endures, we will see, but they exploited a first-step mismatch and drove the ball, with Jarred Reid getting 11 in 14 on 75% eFG.
- L'Africain, against a very fast backcourt, was 12-6-2 in points/assists/steals whilst going a full 20. Only two turnovers.
- Matt (Kerr) Plunkett is 4-for-4 on triples for 12 in 12 minutes.
AND WE'RE BACK ...
- Auspicious? Plunkett and L'Africain having cooling-off misses on the first possession. Forty-six seconds into quarter, Plunkett is forced to take his third foul.
- Each team cold early in the quarter.
- How cold are they? Ottawa, up 59-56, just had three missed threes in a single trip.
- How quiet is it for the Eastern Ontario vs. Eastern Canada game? When Brody Maracle made a tough catch on a low pass, I swear I heard his fingernails scrape the ball. And the play was at the other end.
- Dal's depth getting compromised in the backcourt, with Aquino-Serjue and Kanza Mata now each with three fouls.
- Ottawa opted not to play 'last shot' after a steal with about 25 seconds left in the quarter. That meant that after Agada drove for a layin, there was time for another possession. Plunkett ended up getting his fourth foul, costing Ottawa someone who is 5-of-9 on triples for 15 points.
- Suddenly it seems like Dal has mastered tele-porting, since someone keeps popping up for deflects. They get it to two, but a Brandon Robinson block, then tough D to force a late-clock cough-up, keep them in front.
- Kashrell Lawrence gets to the rim, back to back, and now it's Dal by threee with 6:09 left. That is an 11-0 run this quarter.
- The run finally ends, as Mehdi Tihani back-cuts for a three-point-play while getting the third foul on Lawrence.
Dal responds to restore a two-point lead. They have traded baskets for the last two minutes, but Ottawa's never been able to get level since that 11-0 run.
- Ottawa goes out on an 11-point fourth quarter. They needed a three to tie in the final seconds. Gill, the fifth-year, was well off the mark.