Ottawa, ON – The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees made a loud statement in front of their loyal fans and supporters by treating the loud raucous sold-out crowd to a thrilling 68-66 win over arch-nemesis and cross-town rivals Carleton Ravens.
With the joint packed and the music bumping, Montpetit Hall in downtown Ottawa was certainly the place to be as the four-time defending CIS Men’s Basketball National champions and No. 1-ranked Carleton Ravens took on the No. 2-ranked Gees-Gees in the battle of the undefeated and a rematch of last years (2013) CIS title game.
Canada’s most coveted collegiate basketball sports rivalry lived-up to exceptions as local Ottawa product and senior All-Canadian guard Johnny Berhanemeskel delivered a memorable and clutch crafty leaner with 4.2 seconds left to lift the Gee-Gees to their first regular season win over the Ravens since February 17 2007 and also handing Dave Smart his first-ever loss at Montpetit Hall during the James Derouin era (6 years).
“It’s a big win for our team, specially to do it at home in front of our fans, it was especial but we still have a lot of season left but it feels good to finally get one because when you lose these games, you say it doesn’t matter. It’s the last one that matters.” discussed a happy Gee-Gees Head Coach James Derouin.
“When you win these games, I guess you’re supposed to say the same thing. These guys understand there’s still a lot of season to go.” added Derouin who earned his first-ever win over Dave Smart at Montpetit Hall since taking over the program five years ago in 2010.
The Gee-Gees eager to get their first crack at Carleton since their close loss opened-up by playing solid defense and held the Ravens scoreless for over 3:00 plus minutes and grabbed 4-0 lead which could have been bigger if it weren’t for sloppy play and early turnovers that allowed Carleton to settle down and go on a 12-4 run to regain control at 12-8, from there it was all Gee-Gees as Berhanemeskel closed out the quarter by scoring seven straight-points including a slick crossover that sent the gym into a frenzy for a buzzer beating triple to put Ottawa ahead 15-14 after the first-quarter. Ottawa stayed focused and opened up the second-quarter on a 7-0 to push the lead to 22-14 and a took a slim 34-30 lead to the locker-room at half-time.
Ottawa came out of the locker room and showed the entire country just how potent their juggernaut offense is by canning five straight three-pointers (15-2 run) off sweet ball rotations and unselfish play to grab control of the highly anticipated contest. The Gee-Gees lead ballooned to a game-high 18 points with 3:01 left in the quarter as the hosts outscored the Ravens 27-16 in the and took what looked like comfortable 15-point lead into the final quarter.
Despite being outplayed for most the game the Ravens rallied behind their All-Canadian duo as Philip Scrubb and brother Thomas Scrubb took over scoring 18 of Carleton’s 20 fourth-quarter points to rally the defending champions when they needed most. Philip Scrubb scored 10 of his 14 fourth quarter points on three-straight triples including a four-point play to quickly cut the double-digit deficit to 65-59 with under 4:49 remaining.
Carleton’s defense limited the Gee-Gees offense to just five quarter points when Philip Scrubb stepped to the line and calmly stroked in two pressured free-throws to tie the game at 66-66 with 17 seconds remaining setting-up the stage for Berhanemeskel’s late game heroics.
Berhanemeskel led the Gee-Gees with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Caleb Agada continue to make his case for All-Canadian honors with an impressive 17 point, 10-rebound double-double.
“I was just trying to make the best play for our team, and in that moment I was able to get a shot off and it worked out,” Berhanemeskel discussed with reporters during post game. “It means that much more playing them at home this year, and being able to squeeze out a win is good, and it just shows how hard guys have been working.”
Philip Scrubb poured-in a game-high 26 points and six rebounds on 7-of-16 shooting and 5-of-11 from deep. Thomas Scrubb added 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in losing effort.
“We just didn’t want to give up, we knew there was always a chance to come back and we just wanted to stay aggressive and make some shots. We played primarily through Tommy and made some big shots down the stretch.” opened up Philip Scrubb during post game.
“We realize we got a lot of things to work on. Obviously, we got to take practice more seriously and preparation for games more seriously. We kind of got exposed. They just outworked us in the first three quarters and that’s what why we lost.” add the three-time MVP.
Ottawa edged Carleton on the glass with a slight 35-34 advantage, both teams connect on nine three-pointers, Carleton going 9-for-29 (31%) while the Gee-Gees went 9-for-25 (36%).
With the victory Gee-Gees (9-0) stay unbeaten and will move to the No. 1 team in the country while the Ravens (8-1) will drop to second.
The overall record now stands at 22-1 with their lone loss coming at the hands of the Memphis Tigers back in August 17, 2014.
The two teams will face-off again on Friday February 6th at the 2015 Capital Hoops Classic at the Canadian Tire Place, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
Both teams could potentially meet two more times if everything goes according to plan, at the Wilson Cup (OUA Championships) and at the National championships at Ryerson University.
Kadre Gray wins second consecutive U Sports MVP
Laurentian guard Kadre Gray took his game to another level this season.
That’s saying something.
A year ago, Gray was the top Canadian university male athlete in any sport, the first Laurentian student to win the honour.
He led the country in assists, narrowly missed a scoring title, and — perhaps by default — also won the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as men’s basketball player of the year.
“Kadre’s work ethic continues to shine bright,” said Laurentian head coach Shawn Swords in a statement.
“He is always looking for ways to improve and refine all aspects of the game.”
If there was any doubt, Gray stifled it in his junior season.
He averaged 31 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game en route to his second consecutive Moser trophy.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment to do it once,” said Swords.
“And now, to be named MVP twice, is truly a testament to his willingness to learn and improve.
“The Kadre effect has spread throughout our community as well. It is great to see him support our local youth and realize the positive impact he has on everyone.”
Gray received the 2019 Moser trophy Thursday at a gala in Halifax, N.S., ahead of the U Sports Men’s Final 8 tournament.
University of Calgary guard Mambi Diawara, Concordia guard Ricardo Monge and St. Mary’s University guard Kemar Alleyne were also finalists for the award.
Gray was simply a cut above. He posted gaudy stats with notable efficiency, shooting 48.8 per cent from the floor.
He was also a First Team All-Canadian and played with Canada’s national team in FIBA World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers against Venezuela and Brazil.
Gray was the only U Sports player to participate in the qualifiers.
Other award winners:
Rookie of the Year (Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy): Alix Lochard, UQAM.
Ken Shields Award for Student-Athlete Community Service: Tanner Graham, Queen’s.
Defensive Player of the Year: Marcus Anderson, Carleton.
Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year): Dan Vanhooren, Calgary.
Carleton Ravens reclaim OUA Basketball Supremacy
The road to Ontario University Basketball supremacy has been firmly cemented through the Carleton University Ravens.
The Canadian basketball powerhouse has continuously dominated the toughest conference in the country year-in, year out, earning eleven (11) conference titles in Dave Smart’s 19 seasons as head coach.
Recently, the Ryerson Rams have threaten to end the Ravens dominance, earning the first non Carleton Ravens’ back-to-back (2016, 2017) conference titles since Joe Raso and the McMaster Marauders pulled it off in 1996 and 1997. Furthermore, despite the Ravens dominance of the Rams, they have managed to beat Carleton and win meaningfully games in March.
Ryerson, playing in their fourth straight Ontario University Association (OUA) conference championship game — a feat that not even the Ravens have accomplished, were looking for their third conference title in four years, having cut down the mesh at the Ravens’ Nest to win their second straight conference banner two years ago.
Add to the fact that Ryerson ended the Ravens hopes of a perfect season, pulling off a 78-74 road win less than five weeks ago and we once again had the ingredients for another great game.
“Coming into game we put a lot of focus in practice on limiting their key players and making it tough for them.” discussed Ravens’ point guard Yasiin Joseph after the Ravens executed their game-plan to perfection, beating the Ryerson Rams 81-61 to reclaiming Wilson Cup supremacy with their second straight conference title.
Carleton ripped off 12-0 run and held the Rams scoreless for over four minutes to grab 25-18 lead after one quarter. Ravens starting back-court of Yasiin Joseph (20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Munis Tutu (16 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds) both played outstanding, controlling the offense and were great on the boards.
“Ryerson is a tough team and you have to be prepared. We made some adjustments from the previous game that helped us come on top.” Also commented Tutu, a Windsor, Ontario native who is looking for his first national title with the Ravens after falling short to the Rams in the national semi-final game.
Now three games away from potentially tasting national glory, Tutu understands the importance of staying focused and trusting the plan. “It’s going to be difficult, we are going to put in a tough week of practice, and prepare for our next opponent and try to bring the championship back to Ottawa.”
Eddie Ekiyor continued his All-Canadian campaign with 16 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes. TJ Lall returned from his one game suspension and almost had a perfect game with 10 points, 7 rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting.
Both teams shot poorly from the three-point line going a combined 8-of-49 (16%). Carleton limited the Rams offense to just seven assists and had fairly comfortable +17 (43-26) advantage on the glass.
6’11” Tanor Ngom continued to showcase his upside leading Ryerson in scoring with 15 points and four rebounds including a few exciting dunks for the standing room only, capacity crowd. JV Mukama was largely held in check and finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds including 0-7 from three-point shooting. Myles Charvis started off hot, but cooled down considerably, scoring 8 of his 10 points in the first quarter in 34 minutes.
Carleton won their first OUA conference basketball title of the Dave Smart era in his fourth year and they went on to three-peat on two occasions, from 2003-2005 and again from 2008-2010. They also took home top honors in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018 and now once again 2019.
The only years the Ravens have failed to win the national title as conference champions were in 2008 when they lost to the Acadia Axemen, 2010 against Saskatchewan and recently against Ryerson in 2018.
The Ravens are now the odds on favorites to earn the top seed at next weeks Final 8 National Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia — a place where they have won 8 of their record 13 national titles.
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