Game recap by Kirk Jessome
(Ottawa, ON) – In their first appearance in a U SPORTS final in program history, the Dalhousie Tigers took on the Carleton Ravens for the title of National Champion. After holding a 12 point lead, the Tigers just couldn't hold on, as the Ravens took home the gold medal with a 74-65 win.
The Tigers started the game with a bang as Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, NS) found Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) down low for a two-handed slam to open the scoring.
The Tigers offensive rebounding kept continuous pressure on the attacking end, picking up 7 in the first quarter to help give them extra possessions and an early lead.
Isiah Osborne (Windsor, ON) was a one-man show in the first quarter for the Ravens, however, starting the game on a 6-point run by himself to hold off the early Tigers attack, but at the end of the first quarter, the Tigers held a 15-13 lead.
The deep shooting style of the Ravens was not paying off for them in the second quarter with their percentage dipping below 15% at 2-14, and the Tigers took advantage.
Sparked by another big alley-oop lob to Kappos, Keevan Veinot was able to knock down a tough pull-up jumper and a deep three to give his team an 8 point lead, and holding the Ravens to just 11 points in the quarter.
Both teams were cold from the field in the back end of the half, but with less than 3 seconds on the clock, Kappos crossed half and fired up a three from just inside the line that was perfect to beat the buzzer and give the Tigers a 36-24 lead at the break.
The Ravens started the second half with explosive energy, forcing each possession into the paint, and being rewarded for their aggression with tough baskets and trips to the line for Biniam Ghebrekidan (Aylmer, QC).
The Tigers offence was struggling with turnover issues in the third, but they were kept in it with timely threes from Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) to hang on to their gradually slipping lead.
Attempting just one three-pointer in the quarter, the Ravens shooting percentage drastically improved with their time spent at the rim and the Tigers lead was cut to just 4 at 54-50 at the end of the third quarter.
The pace quickened in the fourth to the liking of the Ravens offence, continuing to drive the ball in transition without much opposition at the rim.
As both teams traded buckets throughout the quarter, the Ravens finally managed to take a small lead that traded sides consistently into the final minutes where Munis Tutu (Windsor, ON) knocked down a huge three-pointer to take a lead of three with 1:17 left.
On a missed attempt from Kappos, Ghebrekidan was able to put home a tip-in on the rebound through contact on the other end for a dagger and-one play.
Forcing the Tigers to play the foul game, the Ravens were able to close it out with a 74-65 win the claim their 15th national championship title in the last 19 years.
Alex Carson finished with a game-high 20 points for the Tigers, 12 of them from deep, while Keevan Veinot supported with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists as both were named to the U SPORTS championship all-star team.
Biniam Ghebrekidan led the attack for the Ravens, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the double-double, but it was the points off the bench from Isiah Osborne and Alain Louis (Montreal, QC) with 13 and 12 points respectively to keep their team in the game in the first half when outside shots weren't falling.
The Tigers finish their season with a national silver medal, their best finish in program history.