A sharp-shooting, #3-seeded CMU team had clawed their way back into the game in the third quarter, bursting out on a 10-0 run to get within two of the #2-seeded College Wesmen.
This momentary threat was calmly dismissed, by three flicks of Mike Villanueva’s wrist.
The College Wesmen guard put in three straight 3’s, a one-man 9-0 run, to extend his team’s lead to 11 and put CMU in a stranglehold the rest of the way.
With a 69-50 win, Winnipeg wins their basketball semifinal and moves on to the men’s final.
Villanueva had a total of seven three pointers in the game, on his way to a tournament-high 23 points. As a team, the College Wesmen hit 13 behind the arc – proving too much for a CMU team that struggled from deep, shooting 7-for-30 on three-point attempts.
CMU’s spotty success from behind the arc was offset by a great night inside from forward Stephen Jones, who did it all with 14 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. Unfortunately, every run his team made seemed to spark a Villanueva three, as the College Wesmen made timely runs throughout the game to lead after every quarter.
In the earlier semifinal, undefeated #1-seed Red River thoroughly dominated a short bench from #4-seeded Providence, winning 97-37.
The Freemen played solid down low early in the game, thanks to the scrappy play of forward Robert Kilmartin. Kilmartin finished with just five points, but had 12 rebounds, eight of them on the offensive end. All-Conference Freemen guard Johnathan Thompson struggled from the field, going 5-for-30 for 17 points.
The Rebels, meanwhile, played their entire squad and got points from everyone. Leading the way was guard Chris Benevides with 15, while Jaharqa Martaxes played heavy minutes on his way to 14 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
The Rebels will now take on the College Wesmen in pursuit of their fifth straight men’s championship. The title bout tips at 4 p.m. on March 2.
The Basketball Final 4’s take place at The University of Winnipeg’s Duckworth Centre, in the Dr. David F. Anderson Gym. $5 gets you in for both women’s and men’s championship matches on Feb. 23.
For full Stat Tracker stats, including box scores and individual/team numbers, visit the MCAC Basketball Final 4’s stats page here.
Check out pictures from Friday’s basketball semifinals on our Facebook page.