Vancouver, BC – The Langara Falcons men’s basketball team won their first Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national championship since consecutive titles in 1998 and 1999. The Falcons defeated the Red Deer College Kings 88-86 in a thrilling game, hosted by Quest University in Squamish. It was the second consecutive title for a PACWEST team; the Vancouver Island University Mariners were crowned champions last season.
Langara guard Brody Greig, hit 12/14 free throws – including 7/8 in the final minutes of the game – to finish with 24 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds. Greig was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament. Forward Jitinder Lohcham added 20 points and eight rebounds, and forward Elliot Mason added 17 points. Lohcham was named to the first All-Star team, and Mason was named as a second team All-Star. The Falcons finished an uncharacteristic 3/20 from three-point range, but dominated the rebounding battle 55-39.
With the Red Deer Kings trailing 81-74 with less than a minute to play, Kings guard Lloyd Strickland hit three-pointers on four consecutive possessions. Each time, the Kings immediately fouled Greig who coolly drained his free throws at the other end, barely keeping the Falcons ahead. Following Greig’s last attempt, which fell short, Red Deer failed to get a shot off to force overtime.
The Falcons 29-23 first quarter lead was trimmed to 45-41 at halftime. The highest scoring offence in the country managed just 10 points in the third quarter against a stifling Kings defence, forcing multiple Langara turnovers. Trailing 61-55 after the third quarter, the Falcons overcame a late deficit to steal the win.
Langara reached the final after an equally dramatic overtime win in the semi-final versus the Vanier College Cheetahs. Trailing by 10 points with under two minutes to play, Elliot Mason hit three three-pointers to lead the comeback. The Falcons forced overtime before winning 103-102 on a last second layup by Greig.
The Falcons were seeded as the top team going into the tournament after finishing the season 20-1 and winning the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) playoffs. In last year’s CCAA national championship, the Falcons were upset in the semi-finals and finished with a bronze medal.
Photo courtesy of CCAA and Vancouver Sports Pictures.
Watch Lloyd Strickland's four 3-pointers: http://youtu.be/-EjuhsDMxZU