Fourth-seeded Victoria rallied in the fourth quarter but was unable to close the gap in an 83-74 loss to the top-seeded Carlton Ravens at the CIS men's basketball championship.
The Ravens, gunning for their fifth straight national title, scored the first five points of the game and raced to a 19-5 lead. That stretched into a 27-point advantage in the third quarter.
A smothering Carleton defence and the Ravens' unlimited energy under the Victoria basket made for some tough going.
Vikes point guard Marcus Tibbs had 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to help narrow the gap. Victoria outscored the Ravens 42-35 in the second half (24-16 in the final quarter).
"I was proud we didn't quit and I knew that they wouldn't," said Victoria coach Craig Beaucamp. "We just got off to a slow start. And the one thing Carleton does better than any team in the country is come out of the gate running, They came out swinging. We gave up a couple of loose balls, a couple of rebounds, a couple of poor rotations early on. And when we made mistakes early, they capitalized and hit shots like good teams do."
Victoria will play either No. 3 Ottawa or No. 7 Ryerson for third place Sunday.
The Vikes also got off to a slow start when they played Carleton in October, down 23-9 in a game they ended up losing 80-64.
"It's hard to replicate their intensity. You don't play teams like that every night," said Beaucamp. "They do a very good job of getting the first punch and coming out competing. It takes the guys it seems like a time to adjust to the level of intensity of rebounding. They were just quicker to the ball than us in the first five or six minutes of the game and then I thought we kind of got our feet underneath of us and we responded in kind."
Victoria's Rainer Theil finished with 16 points and drew praise from his coach for his defence.
"I thought Rainer was an absolute stud," Beaucamp said.
Tibbs also credited Theil's aggressive play early for showing the way.
Big men Chris McLaughlin and Grant Sitton had 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The Vikes went 15-5 in the regular season, defeating Saskatchewan to take the Canada West title.
Victoria edged No. 5 Dalhousie 57-56 in Thursday's quarter-final.
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