Improbable, Incredible, stunning…whatever word you want to use it suits the comeback by the VIU Mariners in Friday night’s semi-final and an 85-83 victory.
The PACWEST champs were down 19 points in the third quarter against the RSEQ champion and previously undefeated Vanier Cheetahs but found a way to come back and win. They outscored the Cheetahs 26-14 in the final frame to secure a berth in the CCAA gold medal game on Saturday.
As a team the Mariners shot 39% from the floor and 29% from downtown. Cameron Gay knockdown one of his three-three points at critical time with a one point lead in the fourth quarter and gave the Mariners the breathing room they needed for the win.
For the second straight game Landon Radliff was named the Player of the Game drilling 29 points highlighted by five-three pointers to go along with his eight rebounds, seven steals and two blocks. Tyus Barfoot was also a major factor with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Gay also finished with 16 points and snagged eight boards.
The Mariners will now play for the national gold medal for the first time since 2015 on Saturday night when they face the Sheridan Bruins. The Ontario champs are making their second appearance in this gold medal game in three years. In 2017 they fell to the Normades de Montmorency and won silver.
The Bruins punched their ticket to the gold medal game after beating the Holland Hurricanes 107-96 on Friday night shooting an outstanding 57% from the field. With the score tied at 73 heading into the fourth quarter the Bruins outscored them 34-23 to claim the win. Nick Campbell led all scorers with 32 points and hit six-three pointers while Kahleek Bakarl-Whyte had 30. This dynamic duo also led the Bruins on Thursday night in their 105-83 victory over Montmorency. They scored 28 and 27 respectively. The Bruins are the only team to hit the century mark in both their games this tournament.
These two schools met in 2013 in the semi-final that the Mariners won 80-76 on route to their last gold medal victory. The Bruins finished fourth that season.
Saturday night these two teams will tip off at 7:30pm for all the marbles.