Just call them the cardiac kids! For a second-straight day, the SAIT Trojans earned an overtime win, and this time, in means they've secured a berth in the ACAC championship game, as well as a berth in the CCAA national tournament. The Trojans (18-5) took the first semifinal of the Cora Breakfast and Lunch ACAC Men's Basketball Championship 80-79 over the NAIT Ooks (17-9) in a game that will be talked about for a long time.
The game saw multiple lead changes throughout. SAIT seemed in control in the first quarter as threes by Camille Kamba (first year, Academic Upgrading, Calgary) and Dylan Cline (second year, Business Administration Automotive Management, Calgary) gave the Trojans a 10-point lead. But a Brady MacKay (fifth year, Millwork and Carpentry, Regina) buzzer-beating three to end the first quarter signaled the drama that was to come as NAIT cut the SAIT lead to 23-18.
The Trojans continued to lead, with a 37-33 advantage at half, and going up by as many as nine points in the third. But the Ooks refused to go away, and stormed back to take the lead in the third as a Jackson Jacob (third year, Pre-employment Auto Body Repair, Nassau, Bahamas) three put the Edmonton side up 68-64 with just over three minutes to play. It looked like the Ooks might hang on, but the Trojans Murphy Beya (fifth year, New Media Production and Design, Ottawa) had other ideas, nailing a clutch three-pointer with just seven seconds left to tie the game at 71. NAIT had a last-second shot for the win, but after it dropped out this game was bound for overtime.
In the extra frame, a Charlie Connor (first year, Business Administration, Lacey, Wash.) lay-up and solid free throw shooting propelled the Trojans to a three point lead. NAIT had a shot for the tie at the buzzer but it was offline and SAIT escaped with the victory.
Connor had a team-high 20 points for the Trojans, while Gemi Muya-Ntalaja (first year, Journalism, Toronto) added 19 points and 18 rebounds. Jacob had a game-high 24 points for NAIT.
The Trojans play the winner of a semifinal between Concordia and Lakeland in the ACAC championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Ooks will play the Concordia Thunder in the bronze medal match at 4:30 p.m.
Players of the game:
NAIT Ooks - #6 Brady MacKay (16pts, 10reb, 5ast)
SAIT Trojans - #8 Gemi Muya-Ntalaja (19pts, 18reb)