It was a heart filled contest on Saturday night when the uOttawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens engaged in a battle for the Wilson Cup under the roof of the former Maple Leaf Gardens.
Despite making a late push, Ottawa’s quest for their first Wilson Cup in 20 years came to an abrupt end as they fell just short 72-69 to the Carleton Ravens. With 4.7 seconds remaining, Warren Ward had a chance to tie the game with a long three-pointer but the shot fell just off the mark. The victory marks Carleton’s eighth Wilson Cup in 11 years.
“We had a tough weekend on the glass and that kills us because that gives the other team so many more possessions and more opportunities to score. In the end you just can't turn the ball over and give up so many rebounds to a team of this calibre,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.
"Carleton is such a strong defensive team that it really took us out of our usual game play. It’s disappointing because if we could have gotten into a bit of a rhythm a bit early the outcome of the game might have been much different," Derouin said. “Even though we lost tonight, the weekend was a success because we did what we came here to do and that is to qualify for nationals.”
After a toe-to-toe first quarter, the Ravens picked it up in the second as they jumped ahead to an eight point lead with 7:31 remaining in the frame. After spending most of the first quarter on the bench because of foul trouble, Warren Ward appeared to spark his team when he re-entered in the second quarter and Ottawa narrowed the gap to three points.
However the Ravens responded by hitting clutch threes coming from the hands of Phillip Scrubb who had ten points at halftime. The Ravens also managed to take a commanding 10 point lead into the halftime break. The Gee-Gees struggled with ball control in the first half as they turned the ball over nine times.
Ottawa was able to get into a rhythm after halftime as they came to within five points of the Ravens. However, they were out-rebounded 14-7 in the third quarter which allowed Carleton to rebuild their lead in no time.
They continued to battle in the fourth quarter as Ottawa hit shots in the final two minutes which brought them to within five points of Carleton once more with 26.9 seconds remaining in the game. Ottawa gave their best effort in the final minute as Warren Ward hit a seemingly impossible three pointer with two defenders in his face to bring them to within three points with 4.7 seconds remaining.
On the following play, the Gee-Gees' tight defence and determination forced the Ravens to commit a five second inbound violation to regain possession of the ball. On the following play Ward was not able to hit the game tying shot from long range. As a result, the Ravens took a narrow three point victory and once again hoisted the Wilson Cup.
In the end, the Ravens were able to control the tempo of the game which took the garnet and grey out of their element and forced them to make uncharacteristic mistakes. Ottawa turned the ball over 13 times while being out-rebounded 40-to-28.
“The fact that I picked up two fouls early on really put us in a bind because I should have been on the floor a lot more than I was. The other problem was our rebounding, it was simply atrocious and we will need to be much better at nationals,” said Gee-Gees forward Warren Ward.
Ward recorded a double-double for Ottawa with a game high 27 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Third year centre Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue added 14 points of his own and pulled down seven rebounds while playing in all but two minutes.
Despite the loss, the Gee-Gees were recipients of the silver medal and will compete in next weekend’s CIS Final Eight championship in Ottawa at Scotiabank Place.
During the regular season, Carleton won both contests in the all Ottawa rivalry. However, the Gee-Gees limited the Ravens to a season low 63 points at Scotiabank Place in the Capital Hoops Classic. In their second meeting at Montpetit hall the Gee-Gees forced the Ravens to three overtime periods but ultimately fell 111-107.
The Gee-Gees will now shift their attention to next weekend when they will take part in the CIS Final Eight championship at Scotiabank Place. The seedings for the championship will be announced by the CIS on Sunday evening.
Score by period