By John DeCoste
The bad news was, the Acadia basketball Axemen had to settle for fourth place at the CIS Final Eight in Ottawa. The good news is, that was one better than last year’s fifth-place finish.
The only difference was that last year, the Axemen won the last game they played. They weren’t as fortunate this time around, dropping a hard-fought 92-85 overtime decision to the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the bronze medal game.
Acadia led 28-20 after one quarter and clung to a 37-35 half-time lead after Ottawa won the second quarter 15-9.
The Gee-Gees took the third quarter 30-21 for a 65-58 lead after 30 minutes, but Acadia roared back, winning the fourth quarter 19-12 and forcing overtime on a pair of Tyler Scott free throws with 46 seconds on the clock. The Axemen then forced a turnover, but Scott’s three-point attempt at the buzzer fell short.
In overtime, Acadia, already missing Owen Klassen, who had fouled out in the fourth quarter, also lost Brad States and Anthony Ashe to fouls. Ramping up the intensity on defence, Ottawa won the overtime 15-8 to prevail by seven points.
Klassen, who was named to the tournament all-star team, fouled out with 20 points and six rebounds. Scott added 18, 16 of which came in the second half, including four threes. Ashe finished with 15 points, Anthony Sears 11 and Sean Stoqua 10.
Acadia shot 45.6 per cent from the floor, but made only six of 20 three-pointers and just 27 of 40 free throws. Ottawa, despite shooting just 41.2 per cent, made 15 of 37 threes and was 21-26 from the foul line.
Acadia opened the tournament with an 89-80 quarterfinal win over the UBC Thunderbirds, propelling the Axemen into a semi-final match-up with the #1 ranked Carleton Ravens. It marked the fourth time in Acadia’s last five Final Eight appearances they met up with Carleton, which has now won three of the four.
The final score was 84-69 for the Ravens, who ended up winning against Lakehead 92-42 in the championship game.