Team Advances To Semifinals On Friday At 9:30pm, Montreal Time

Report by Denis Lafontaine

The first matchup of the 2014 CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship featured the fourth-ranked RSEQ champion Vanier Cheetahs taking on the fifth-ranked ACAA champion Holland Hurricanes from PEI.

Our Cheetahs had experienced recent success in the national tournament, taking home gold in 2011 after a 102-87 rout over the Lethbridge Kodiaks, while the Hurricanes were looking to avenge a tough 77-70 loss to the VIU Mariners in last year’s gold medal final. Holland came into this edition of nationals after wrapping up a 17-4 record in the ACAA regular season that culminated with an 88-74 win over the Crandall Chargers in their provincial tournament.
Vanier finished with a 16-2 record in the RSEQ regular season, and beat long-time rival Dawson College 77-67 in the finals of the provincial tournament. Tevonn Walker, a third-year guard, finished 14th in the nation in scoring with 20.8 points per game. Walker was awarded MVP honours for bith the RSEQ regular season and the provincial playoffs as well. He was also recently named a CCAA All-Canadian at Wednesday’s Awards Banquet. See press release.

“We played Holland in a preseason tournament last year and they spanked us pretty good,” said Vanier head coach Andrew Hertzog. “But we’re a different team this year and we pretty feel good about it.”

“We match up against them pretty well,” Hertzog added. “There’s no one here who scares us. Holland is a very good team, we respect them and we know that it’s going to be a tough game, but we feel that if we play our best, that we can get the job done.”

The quarterfinal match certainly held no shortage of drama. The Vanier Cheetahs used a huge third quarter to claw their way back from a double-digit deficit in the first half and eventually eke out a 115-102 win over the Holland Hurricanes in overtime.

In fact, Vanier had such a strong second half that they actually held a six-point lead with just over 50 seconds left in regulation. However, Holland, battered with foul trouble, capitalized on successive Cheetah breakdowns in that final minute of the fourth quarter to force the OT.

But in overtime, the Cheetahs took control in all ways possible, outscoring the Hurricanes 21-8 in the extra frame. Vanier’s dominance in OT was so complete that Holland failed to score a single field goal in overtime, as all of their eight points came by way of the free-throw line.

All-Canadian Tevonn Walker led Vanier in scoring with 28 points and added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Big man Justin Kinnear notched a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, while guard Max Joseph recorded a near triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Click for full game scoring statistics.

If you missed it, the game can be seen in the CCAA Nationals video archive.

The Cheetahs will have their work cut out for them as they next face the #1 ranked team in the country, the Langara Falcons in the CCAA Nationals Semifinals on Friday, March 14th. The game start is 6:30pm PT (9:30pm Montreal time) and the match can be viewed live via web streaming. Click here for the link.

The only possible future games in which we may be playing after the semifinals are Games #9, 12 and 13 depending on the outcomes. See all scenarios below. (all times listed are PT. Add 3 hours for Montreal time.)

Saturday March 15
If we win in the semi-finals Game #7 on Friday, we play in Game #13, the Gold Medal Match at 8:30pm (11:30pm Montreal time).
If we lose in the semi-finals Game #7 on Friday, we will play in Game #9 at 10:00am (1:00pm Montreal time).
If we win Game #9, we then play in Game #12, the Bronze Medal Match at 6:30pm (9:30pm Montreal time).

Go Cheetahs!

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