That’s how long it took the top offensive men’s basketball team in the regular season, the #1-seeded CMU Blazers to crack double digits in Saturday’s MCAC Championship Final.
Behind the tough start? A hard-nosed, impressive defensive performance by the now four-time defending champion Red River Rebels. They carried that defense and overbearing strength all the way through 40 minutes, and did what many thought improbable, upsetting the Blazers 78-59 in the Men’s Championship final.
The game was chippy to say the least, and proved entertaining despite seven players fouling out before the game was through. Regular season MVP Wyatt Anders of CMU saw four different Rebels defenders, who crashed on him and frustrated him, as he would score just 10 points on the night.
Leading the way for the Rebels was Player of the Game Jason Malcolm, a shooting guard who did exactly what was needed from him, making countless clutch shots. He scored 25, while Tournament MVP Matt Loewen chipped in with 16.
The struggles shooting the ball started early for the Blazers, but a lull for the Rebels opened the door in the second quarter. CMU’s offense eventually came alive in the third, as they dropped 27 quarter points on Red River. It turned out to be too little, too late however, with forwards Sean Baergen and Wyatt Anders fouling out late to allow the Rebels front line of Corey Neufeld and Mike Hebert more room to score.
Other Saturday action saw the men’s bronze game. After being upset by the now-champion Rebels on Friday, the #2-seeded College Wesmen came out on Saturday firing on all cylinders. They dropped eleven three-pointers in a 102-73 win over #4 Providence.
– John Gaudes