Contributed by: Tyler Bennett / College Court Report Canada (@CCR_Canada)
The postseason is just around the corner, and teams across the league are starting to hit their stride.
Across the conference, teams are putting together lengthy winning streaks and building positive momentum with the hopes of making a run at the Wilson Cup. The Laurier Golden Hawks sit atop the West Division standings thanks in part to a seven-game winning streak and not far behind, the Brock Badgers have won four-straight to sit just one game back in the race for the division title.
In the East Division, the Ryerson Rams and the Carleton Ravens are tied atop the division with identical 18-1 records. The two teams split their season series, most recently with the Rams knocking off the Ravens to end their bid at a perfect season. Ryerson is currently on a nine-game winning streak, while the Ravens bounced back from their loss to the Rams in a big way with another double-digit win over their crosstown rivals, the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
There were a handful of storylines from the past week, but here’s what you need to know from the last seven days in the latest edition of Courtside Seats.
Queen’s drops 111 points on York in rout
The Queen’s Gaels have seen their share of ups and downs this season and have yet to reach their full potential to this point. Friday’s offensive outburst, however, showed just what the team is capable of when they’re firing on all cylinders, and that should put the rest of the league on notice.
Coming into their home game against the York Lions, the Gaels were sitting at .500 for the year with a record of 9-9 overall. They have struggled to maintain any level of consistency throughout the season so far, but the potential is there for Queen’s to turn some heads down the stretch. Their talent is too great to ignore, and while they may not draw the number of eyeballs that the likes of the Ryerson Rams and Carleton Ravens do in the East Division, the Gaels aren’t a team you can sleep on.
On Friday night, they opened a lot of eyes with their biggest offensive showing of the season in front of their home fans.
Coming off a loss to Laurentian, the Gaels were looking for a better effort on both ends of the floor to try and keep pace with the aforementioned Voyageurs for fourth place in the division race. Thanks to a balanced scoring effort, one that saw five different players score in double-figures, the Gaels scored a season-best 111 points against York to pick up the 40-point win.
From start to finish, the Gaels were in control of the contest. They took a 24-16 lead after the first quarter and it grew before the break. The lead for the Gaels grew to as many as 18 points in the second frame, as a free throw from Connor Keefe (Halifax, N.S.) with 3:43 left gave Queen’s a 44-26 lead. At the break, Queen’s held a 50-33 lead and they were off and running in the second.
Guard Jaz Bains (Brampton, Ont.) poured in a team-high 22 points to go along with two rebounds, seven assists, and seven steals for a strong two-way performance. Bains is one of the top guards in the conference on both ends of the floor, and all of his talents were on display on Friday night. Forward Tanner Graham (Kingston, Ont.) went for a double-double in the win, posting 22 points and 12 rebounds to go along with four assists. Swann Fargeau-Faucon (Montreal, Que.) had 15 points, Quinton Gray (Richmond Hill, Ont.) added 14 points, and Caelan Scott (Victoria, B.C.) chipped in with 10 points in 15 minutes off the bench.
The Gaels could very well be the dark horse team in the OUA this season if they can play to their full potential and maintain their positive momentum from Friday’s win. With a veteran roster that has its share of talent, Queen’s could turn some heads over the next two weeks before the playoffs get underway.
Carleton picks up 82-64 win over Ottawa in Capital Hoops Classic
Fans of the Carleton Ravens had their brooms out on Friday night when the Ravens took on the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the second instalment of the crosstown rivalry in 2018-19.
The two sides squared off back in October in the first game of the season for both teams. In that one, the Ravens hit the road to take on the Gee-Gees inside Montpetit Hall to kick off the new campaign. Carleton got 31 points from forward TJ Lall (Cambridge, Ont.), and they used a big first quarter to carry them to the 87-69 win.
Ironically, just like the first meeting, Friday night’s Capital Hoops Classic contest inside the Canadian Tire Centre was decided by 18 points. It also followed a similar flow from start to finish, as the Ravens jumped out to a big lead after the opening 10 minutes and never looked back.
When all was said and done, the Ravens completed the regular season sweep of Ottawa with an 82-64 win in front of a large crowd inside the Canadian Tire Centre.
Out of the gates, the Ravens were in control of Friday night’s contest. Munis Tutu (Windsor, Ont.) opened the contest with a three-ball on Carleton’s first possession, and the Ravens scored the first seven points of the game to put the pedal to the metal. With 6:36 to play in the first quarter, however, Ottawa forward Guillaume Pepin (Montreal, Que.) hit a three-pointer of his own to get the Gee-Gees back to within six points, at 13-7. Unfortunately for Ottawa, those were the last points they’d score in the opening frame.
Carleton closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run, capped off by a three-ball from Marcus Anderson (Brampton, Ont.) with under a minute to play. The Ravens would carry their momentum into the second quarter and into the second half from there. The Gee-Gees did their best to cut into the lead, but Carleton was able to maintain their double-digit cushion throughout the quarter and take a 44-26 lead into the break.
As the game wound down and the second half ticked away, the Gee-Gees never got back to within single digits. Calvin Epistola (Toronto, Ont.) opened the fourth quarter with a long-range connection to get Ottawa within 10, at 52-42, but that was as close as they would get to the perennial powerhouse.
For the Ravens, they got the bulk of their production from their starters as they combined for 75 of the team’s 82 points in the win. Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, Ont.) put together a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds to pace the attack on both ends for Carleton. Marcus Anderson stuffed the stat sheet, posting 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and five steals in an impressive two-way performance.
Munis Tutu chipped in with 14 points, while Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, Ont.) rounded out the group of four players in double-figures with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Pepin led the way for Ottawa, posting 17 points to go along with eight rebounds. Epistola chipped in with 14 points, while Gage Sabean (Port Williams, N.S.) added 12 points and five rebounds of his own in a losing effort.
The win was an impressive bounce-back performance for the Ravens and a regular season sweep of the Gee-Gees should offer a positive feeling for the black birds as they look to once again compete for a provincial and national championship in the coming weeks.
With the loss, the Gee-Gees find themselves 10 points out of first place in the division with just two weeks left. They cannot finish higher than their current place of third, but losses can send them trending in the wrong direction. Ottawa will look to bounce back this weekend as they aim to lock up third place in the division and secure a home playoff game inside Montpetit Hall.
Special shout-out to the Lakehead Thunderwolves who extended their winning streak to five games with a sweep of the Waterloo Warriors over the weekend. After finishing 2-22 last season, the Thunderwolves now sit at 8-12 this season and are in fifth spot in the West Division. What a turnaround.