The Winnipeg Wesmen men’s basketball team will enter the national championship tournament as the 7-seed, it was announced Sunday.

The Wesmen, finalists of the Canada West conference, will return to nationals for the first time since 1993-94 and take on the No. 2-seed, and OUA champions, Ottawa Gee-Gees in a quarter-final game Friday, March 10 at Noon Winnipeg time. The game will be broadcast online via CBC Sports and CBC Gem. 

The Wesmen and Gee-Gees met earlier this season in the final of the Wesmen Classic. 

Thirty years of waiting finally resulted in rewards for the Winnipeg Wesmen Saturday night.
Shawn Maranan scored 20 points and dished out a career-high 13 assists and the Wesmen men's basketball team booked its ticket to the national championship tournament with a 73-70 win over the Manitoba Bisons at the Investors Group Athletic Centre. 
It marks the first time the Wesmen will be in the eight-team field since 1993-94.
Not to be lost in the jubilance of qualifying for Halifax: The Wesmen have also qualified for the Canada West championship game for the first time in program history. They will travel to Victoria and take on the host Vikes Friday (9 p.m. CT). 
After splitting the season series with U of M, which included a win at IGAC earlier this month, the Wesmen survived one last shot from the Bisons.
After Donald Stewart made one of two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to put the Wesmen up three, the Bisons ran a sidelines out of bounds action to Simon Hildebrandt, who quickly pitched it to Elijah Lostracco for a potential game-tying three. That shot, however, missed left and the Wesmen grabbed the rebound before celebrating one of the biggest wins in program history. 
Wesmen head coach Mike Raimbault said he posed the question to the team in the final timeout of whether they wanted to foul up three. 
"And Shawn said, 'No'," Raimbault said. "So they all felt like they could get one more stop. They busted their tails to defend all night, and they got after loose balls and rebounds. So to close it out on a defensive stop is sort of fitting for our group."
The Wesmen held the Bisons to 2-for-28 from three, the team's worst three-point shooting night since an 0-for-9 outing against Calgary in 2014. Hildebrandt made both threes in the second quarter and the Bisons went 0-for-15 the rest of the way. 
Yet every time the Wesmen seemed poised to pull away, the Bisons seemingly had an answer. The Wesmen led by as many as 11 in the first half, but Manitoba surged late to tie the game at 39 going into the break. 
Then, in the third quarter, the Wesmen pushed the lead up to nine on a Ryan Luke three with 54 seconds left. The Bisons, however, rallied again and took a 65-63 lead on an Isaac Miller-Jose layup with 5:32 left in the game. 
With the game tied at 66, the Wesmen made their final decisive run and it came from a freshman: Alberto Gordo hit a three with 3:46 to play and then, with just under three minutes left, knocked down a 30-foot miracle heave that was rushed by the end of the shot clock. The Wesmen had pushed the advantage to six and the Bisons wouldn't get closer than two the rest of the way. 
Gordo, who was named to the conference's all-rookie team earlier in the week, finished with 17 points and seven rebounds while going 3-for-5 from three. Mikhail Mikhailov was the other Wesmen in double figures with 10 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. 
The Wesmen shot 9-for-23 from three and 44.8 per cent from the field. 
"I think the first thing that I'm excited about is two more weeks with this group of guys," Raimbault said. "I think people probably underestimate how much time and effort that they've spent preparing for this evening, going all the way back to spring and summer … They've invested a lot of time, so I'm extremely happy that we get a little bit more time together."
The Bisons, who were 18-2 in conference play, got 20 points on 17 shots form Hildebrandt, and Wyatt Tait scored 15 with eight rebounds as the only other Manitoba player in double figures.


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