HALIFAX (U SPORTS) – Aiden Warnholtz led the No. 3-seeded Carleton Ravens to a tight 73-71 win over the No. 6 UQAM Citadins on Friday in the first quarterfinal game at the 2023 U SPORTS Men‘s Final 8 at the Scotiabank Centre.
Carleton got into trouble early, sending the Citadins to the free throw line four times in the opening frame. They managed to find a way back and were up 18-17 at the end of the first.
Ravens Aiden Warnholtz and Grant Shepard were a one-two punch for Carleton, ending the first half with 13 and 10 points, respectively, and each pulling in three rebounds. The Citadins kept it close in the first half thanks to a balanced offence led by Kevin Civil. The underdogs headed into the locker room with a 36-34 lead over the Ravens.
Both teams started off the second half slow. Elie Karojo came alive in the third quarter for the Citadins and was on his way to a double-double. He recorded eight points and four rebounds in the third, making all of his free throws. A supporting cast of Civil and Bahaide Haidara helped the Citadins to extend their lead to 57-53 at the end of the third.
With a spot in the semifinals up for grabs, Warnholtz put the Ravens team on his back in the fourth quarter. The Citadins did not help their cause, sending Warnholtz to the line several times. He made seven of his eight shots on the way to his game-high 29 points, earning himself Nike Top Performer honours. Civil ended the game with a team-high 19 points, but it was Karojo‘s 18 points and 12 rebounds that was what kept the game close.
With the win, Carleton will take on the winner of the Winnipeg-Ottawa game on Saturday at 6 p.m. (all times Atlantic) in one semifinal. UQAM will face the Winnipeg-Ottawa loser in a consolation game on Saturday at noon.
Nike Top Performers
Carleton: Aiden Warnholtz
UQAM: Elie Karojo