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The Streak Is Over: CMU Claims 2017 MCAC Men’s Basketball Championship

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CMU outscored the eight-time defending MCAC Champions 21-10 in the fourth quarter to come from behind and capture their first MCAC Championship in Men's Basketball since 2008, upsetting the Final Four #1 seed Red River Rebels, 77-68.

From the tip-off it was all CMU.  The Blazers jumped out to a 25-20 lead in the first quarter. Championship Most Valuable Player, Sam Kinsley had 9 early points and collected 10 rebounds in the first half alone, but it was his team's ability to share the basketball that gave CMU the edge.

Taylor Brown led a Rebels charge in the second quarter to bring the defending Champions within two at the break, shooting 4 of 7 from the 3-point line for 12 of his game-high 18 points. The fifth-year forward would finish with 22 points to lead all scorers.

CMU's offense began to sour in the second quarter and minutes after the players took the court to start the second half, the Rebels went out in front and grabbed their first lead. Momentum began to shift back to the Blazers when the third quarter buzzer sounded and rookie forward Evan Klassen heaved up a three-point prayer at the horn that was answered. The shot kickstarted his team and sparked CMU for the final 10 minutes.

"We knew it was going to be a battle with both teams throwing punches by making their runs," said Kinsley, "I knew we were going to win today! We are peaking at the right time and we all have each others backs. I knew it was going to be the best game we've played all season."

If "punches" were measured in basketball by rebounds, Kinsley was the Heavyweight Champ. The 6'5 second-year Hapnot Collegiate product, posted a game-high 20 and added 2 blocked shots and 2 steals to go with his 15 points on 6 of 14 shooting.

Rookie guard Jaden Harms led CMU in scoring with 16 and added a respectable 13 boards to his stat-line along with 3 blocked shots. The product of Winnipeg's Fort Richmond Collegiate was also instrumental on the defensive end, helping shutdown the MCAC's Regular Season scoring leader, Jonathan Wilner to a mere 13 points on 5 of 15 shooting from the field.

The Championship is the first for Men's Basketball in the MCAC, which changed names in 2008 a few short months after the Blazers won the 2008 Central Plains Athletic Conference Championship (CPAC).

Though the MCAC schedule is officially closed on the basketball court, the Blazers will travel to Bemidji, Minnesota on Wednesday evening to prepare for Thursday afternoon's tipoff in the Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the Cankdeska Cikana Wolves. The NIAC tournament will be hosted at Oak Hills Christian College from February 16-18.

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