By: Stan Temming
TORONTO - The No. 1 Carleton Ravens got the last laugh in the OUA Wilson Cup Men's Basketball Final Four against the No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees Friday night. The Ravens lost the two previous meetings in the regular season by a combined eight points but flipped the script inside Ryerson's Mattamy Athletic Centre with a 82-74 victory. Carleton advances to Saturday's final at 8:00 p.m.
Both teams took a little bit of time to heat up in this one. Up 39-29 at the half, Carleton's commitment to the defensive side of the ball held the Gee-Gees to just four points in the first five minutes of the third quarter. By that point, the Ravens had built their advantage up to 53-33 as the OUA's Player of the Year Mike L'Africain struggled from the floor for Ottawa.
A couple of three pointers by the Gee-Gees' Caleb Agada and two free throws late in the quarter brought them back within 16 points after thirty minutes of action. ThWooat spread proved to be too much to cover as the Ravens cruised to the win.
"Anybody that knows basketball knows you gotta make (shots) when it's in reach and that's when it counts," said Ottawa's head coach James Derouin following the game. "And for whatever reason we weren't able to do that. And that's when the gap became 20, 22, 23 (points) there in the third quarter. We just couldn't get a thing to fall."
Carleton finished 45.2% from the floor compared to 32.4% for the Gee-Gees. The main difference was Ottawa's struggles from beyond the arc. They went 11-for-37 (29.7%) from three point land while the Ravens were 5-for-15 (33.3%)
Connor Wood led Carleton offensively with 18 points in 25 minutes and was named the Porter Airlines Player of the Game while fifth-year Gavin Resch added 16 points for the Ravens.
"It definitely feels great... to beat them," said Wood. "They're our rivals so it always feels great to beat them and get that win."
Agada finished with a game-high 22 points as he found his shooting stroke down the stretch to make things interesting. L'Africain was held to only five points on 1-for-18 shooting from the floor.
"I feel like we did a good job of trying to make him take tough shots," said Wood. "As long as we keep doing that, we should be pretty good."
Carleton will look for their fourth Wilson Cup in the last five years against the winner of the second semifinal between Windsor and Ryerson at 8:00 p.m.