Stuart Turnbull scored 22 points as the top-ranked Carleton Ravens defeated the No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds 87-77 Sunday to capture the 2009 Canadian interuniversity sport men’s basketball title.
Turnbull earned tournament MVP honours while Chris Dyck topped UBC with 21 points.
Dyck was named game MVP for UBC, while Rob Saunders collected the award for Carleton, largely for his play in defending Dyck.
“I just tried to be there every time he caught it, and when I wasn’t, my teammates were,” said Saunders. “They stepped in, took charges, made him pass to his other teammates and just made it tough for him.”
For his part, Dyck was disappointed in the loss but proud that the Thunderbirds had done better than most expected.
“No one expected us to be here. Everyone expected us to exit in the first round,” said Dyck. “We’re proud of what we were able to do this weekend. It’s an honour to be able to play in the national finals in your fifth year, and I’m just proud of my teammates.”
The Ravens, making their sixth appearance in the final in the past seven years, captured their sixth national championship in front of a sea of red and black at Scotiabank Place.
For Ravens’ coach Dave Smart, there was some satisfaction in showing that the Ravens could win with the players they had.
“It’s a great bunch of guys,” said Smart. “I mean they’ve lost two games in two years and last year we lost a double-overtime game. Everybody seemed to question if we could win it without Os (Osvaldo Jeanty). I’m thrilled for Rob (Saunders), Aaron (Doornekamp) and Stu (Turnbull) because they got it done.”
Dyck scored 17 first-half points for the second straight day. He was 6-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes, and scored the T-Birds’ last 12 points of the half as UBC held off the Ravens’ comeback.
Dyck’s fourth three-pointer of the half sent UBC ahead 37-32 with 90 seconds left on the clock but Carleton made it a one-point affair at the intermission thanks to a bucket and a free throw by Thompson and Kyle Smendziuk’s 1-for-2 effort from the foul-line.
Saunders was the Ravens’ leading scorer at the break with 12 points.
McCleery gave the locals their first lead of the afternoon on the Ravens’ first possession of the second half, part of an 8-0 Carleton run to open the third quarter.
The Ravens, who held Dyck scoreless in the third, remained ahead the entire quarter and took a 55-48 lead into the final frame thanks to a Turnbull three-pointer with five seconds left.
Thompson hit a three-pointer of his own to start the fourth, opening a 10-point cushion for the hosts. He struck again from beyond the arc one minute later and all of a sudden Carleton enjoyed a 13-point advantage, at 63-50, with eight minutes remaining in regulation.
Whyte brought UBC back to within seven with a basket and a foul shot with 3:08 left, at 73-66, but the ‘Birds wouldn’t get any closer.
The Ravens almost didn’t make it into the final, needing a shot at the buzzer to edge Western Ontario Mustangs 66-65 in a thrilling semifinal Saturday.
The Thunderbirds advanced to the final after defeating No. 2-ranked University of Calgary 79-74.
UBC was making its 17th appearance in the final. Their last title was in 1972.
Coach Kevin Hanson said following the game that getting an early lead on Carleton seems to be virtually “the kiss of death.”
“These games always come down to the fourth quarter and being mentally tough,” said Hanson. “Their defence picked up and we just couldn’t match their intensity, they got loose balls.
“It’s a great game for us to play. You wish you could play more of these along the way to make you better to see what it takes to play at this level, to win the national title.”
Earlier Sunday, Dax Dessureault had 22 points and 13 rebounds in his final university game as No. 5-seeded Ottawa beat No. 7 Concordia 83-76 in the consolation final. Damian Buckley had 17 points and three assists for the Stingers.
Attendance for the three-day tournament was announced as 73,126. This was the second of three consecutive years in which Carleton University will be hosting the tournament.
– The Canadian Press