By Brandon Buechler
Ben Baker scored 19 points in support of Dadrian Collins’ 29 as the University of Saskatchewan Huskies defeated the University of Windsor Lancers in a tight 99-94 victory at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Final 8 tournament.
The teams, ranked 6th and 5th respectively, were competing in the consolation final game, vying for fifth place at the annual national competition.
“At the end of the day, I think we were just a little bit [more] veteran than they were,” said Huskies head coach Barry Rawlyk. “They gave us a good run, especially at the end of the third quarter which really allowed them to get back in the game.”
The game started off rough for the Huskies, as the Lancers burst out of the gate to take an early 8-2 lead courtesy of Khalid Abdel-Gabar and Alex Campbell. By the end of the quarter however, Collins, who won player of the game, had cut into the Lancer’s lead, 17-14.
By the second quarter though, the Huskies had clearly figured things out as they began to dominate the young Windsor squad. Saskatchewan exploded for 32 points using well-coordinated plays and a 30 per cent three-point completion rate.
The third quarter saw the Lancers fire back for 34 points as Windsor’s player of the game Rotimi Osuntola Jr. and Abdel-Gabar combined for a 50 per cent completion rate.
That momentum continued for the Lancers as the score began to narrow and Windsor forced five steals (nine total) in the back half of the game, before Saskatchewan was able to fend off their last-minute pushes in the fourth quarter.
For Rawlyk, it was a nice way to finish the season, despite the thought that it was a meaningless game.
“For anyone who’s ever put on a uniform and competed you know that each time you put on that shirt, that game means something,” he said.
He also felt it was a chance at redemption for the heartbreak loss in the teams opening game against the Carleton Ravens.
“We were very, very disappointed with our performance against Carleton,” he said. “We really thought we didn’t represent ourselves very well, so it was important for us to come out and be able to advance here. For us to be able to come out of today with the win is nice.”