Ravens returning to CIS basketball championship

Brothers Philip and Thomas Scrubb of Richmond, B.C., combined for 34 points to power the Carleton Ravens offence as the defending national champions defeated the Fraser Valley Cascades 83-65 in a CIS men's basketball semifinal Saturday night.
Fans cheer as the Carleton University Ravens defeat the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 83-65 in CIS Final 8 men's semi-final basketball action in Halifax on Saturday. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

In the early semifinal game at the CIS men's basketball championship, top-seeded Carleton defeated the No. 5 Fraser Valley Cascades 83-65. Brothers Philip Scrubb (18 points) and Thomas Scrubb (16 points) of Richmond, B.C., led the defending champion Ravens.   

Carleton remains undefeated this season and has a chance to win the school's eighth national title since 2003.   

Joel Friesen of Abbotsford, B.C., had 13 points to lead the Cascades and Kyle Grewal of Surrey, B.C., contributed 11 points.   

"The defence kept us in the game," said Carleton coach Dave Smart. "We did a decent job defensively in keeping them off balance and gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game when we were struggling offensively."   

In the later semifinal, Daniel Ferguson scored 31 points to lift the Alberta Golden Bears to a 91-83 win over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men.   

Alberta, the tournament's second seed, earned a berth in Sunday's final against the top-ranked Carleton Ravens. Alberta is looking for its fourth national title and first since 2002.   

Golden Bears coach Greg Francis praised Ferguson for his calm under pressure.   

"He's been an incredible leader all year and he's been saving the best for last," said Francis. "He takes care of every huddle, he makes every play that we need and he leads these guys.   

Ferguson also had six rebounds and said Alberta's ability to match the physical play of St. FX was a key at both ends of the floor.   

"We kept going hard. We felt like we were bigger than them and stronger than them and over 40 minutes we didn't think they could keep that up," said Ferguson.   

Jordan Baker scored 20 points and added nine rebounds and seven assists for the Golden Bears.   

Terry Thomas led No. 6 St. FX with 22 points and 10 rebounds. But the forward, who scored 39 points in a quarter-final win against Concordia, was held to 12 points after the first quarter.   

"[Thomas] is a good player and he's sneaky," said Ferguson. "If he's not scoring the ball he's getting the offensive rebound.   

"We just talked about communicating the whole game and knowing where guys were, whether it was Terry or anyone else who was a threat."   

Alberta overcame a strong start by St. FX and built a 43-38 lead by halftime, led by Ferguson's 16 points.   

The X-Men took the lead briefly in the third quarter but could not maintain it. Alberta led by seven heading into the final 10 minutes.   

Consecutive three-pointers by Alberta forward Sahr Safa made it 76-66 with five minutes remaining and the Golden Bears were able to hold off St. FX the rest of the way.   

Safa finished with 18 points.   

"I thought Sahr stepped up in the third quarter and made some space and made some shots for us," said Francis.

St. FX and Fraser Valley will play for the bronze medal Sunday afternoon.   

"It's a very tough game to get up for because you don't come here to play for third place, you come to play for a championship," said X-Men coach Steve Konchalski. "We're going to have to muster up what we can and finish the season on the positive note."

In the consolation-round games earlier on Saturday, the Ryerson Rams defeated the Concordia Stingers 84-80 and the Acadia Axemen beat the Lakehead Thunderwolves 84-75.   

No. 7 Ryerson will play No. 8 Acadia in the consolation final Sunday.