Carleton downs StFX in dual thriller to win 4th straight men’s basketball national title

The Carleton Ravens won their 17th WP McGee Trophy since 2003 with a thrilling 109-104 double overtime victory over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in the final game of the U Sports 2023 Final 8 Men’s Basketball Championship on Sunday in Halifax.

The victory came in front of more than 9,000 fans at the Scotiabank Centre, part of a tournament-record total of 40,092 over the three-day event.

With 213 total points, Sunday’s game was the highest-scoring Final 8 game of all time, surpassing the previous record of 210 set in 2016 when Ryerson (as it was then) defeated UBC 109-101 in overtime.

The Ravens made it a double championship day as their women’s team also won the U Sports banner 71-59 over Queen’s, marking the first time the same school has won both basketball banners since Victoria accomplished the feat in 1985.

X-Men guard Avan Nava had four of the first six points for his team and the Nova Scotians led by one point after the first three minutes. Both teams came out to play and the strong Halifax crowd helped push the action in favor of the X-Men. The Ravens went 4-10 on 3-pointers in the first quarter, while StFX was solid on defense, producing 10 points on turnovers to take a 27-17 lead after the first 10 minutes.

Dondre Reddick gave the home crowd a big buzzer-beater off a steal early in the second quarter, sparking an impressive run for the hosts, who took a 23-point lead – their largest of the night – with 3:22 left. in half. Carleton, which has never lost a national championship game, did not fold under the pressure, however, and cut the lead to 13 points at 48-35 as the half ended on a last-second 3-pointer by Wazir Latiff.

WATCHES | Ravens win the instant classic:

Carleton clinches 4th straight national basketball title with double overtime victory

Carleton Ravens defeated St. Francis Xavier X-Men 109-104 in double overtime to claim their fourth straight men’s basketball national title.

The Ravens went on an impressive 11-1 run early in the third quarter, cutting the X-Men’s lead to three points in the first four minutes. Defensive player of the year and second-team All-Canadian David Muenkat had a big dunk on an alley-oop from Nava that brought the crowd back to life. On the other end, Aiden Warnholtz made a jumper to put Carleton up 56-55 with 3:04 left in the third, their first lead since trailing 5-2 early in the game.

STFX started the fourth quarter with a 60-58 lead and extended it to six in the first four minutes. Warnholtz hit a pair of free throws with 3:36 left to tie the game at 72 one. The teams traded scores late, and the tie remained until the final minute, with Nava’s layup giving the home team an 80-78 lead with 41 seconds left.

A missed X-Men foul put Warnholtz at the line for a shot, which he made to cut the lead to 80-79. After Nava drained a pair of free throws to put the X-Men up 82-79 with 22 seconds left, it was Warnholtz, the first-team All-Canadian and player of the game for the Ravens, who had the final say. setup as he hit a clutch 3-pointer with just three seconds left.

The Ravens went up by five in the first minute of the extra session, but the X-Men cut the margin to 1 at 90-89 with two minutes remaining. With the Ravens leading 93-91 and ten seconds left, Warnholtz had a chance to put the game away, but made only one of his two free throws. Seven seconds later, Nava nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 94-94, sending the U Sports championship game into double overtime for the first time.

Three-pointers by Warnholtz and Vreeken put Carleton up 103-99 with a minute left in the second overtime, and Vreeken made three free throws in the final minute to tie the game.

For the X-Men, Muenkat finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Nava had 30 points. Reddick scored 14 and Michael Utsale added 10.

All five Carleton starters were in double figures, with Warnholtz, Vreeken and Wazir Latiff each scoring 23, while Elliot Bailey had 21 and Grant Shephard had 17. Sheppard finished with a double-double, grabbing 12 rebounds, while Warnholtz had also a double-double as he dished out 11 assists.

For StFX, this is their first national medal since 2012 when they won bronze. They last won silverware in 2004, when they also lost to Carleton in Halifax.

For Carleton, this marks their fourth straight title and 12th in the last 13 tournaments. Only the Calgary Dinos in 2018 and COVID-19 in 2021 have broken Carleton’s dominance since 2011.

The 2024 Men’s Final 8 will be held in Quebec City, with Universite Laval acting as the tournament host.

WATCHES | U Sports Men’s Basketball National Championship Final Replay:

U Sports Men’s Basketball Gold National Championship: StFX vs. Carleton

Attend the University of St. Francis Xavier to face Carleton University in the men’s basketball national championship final.

Leave a Comment