Ottawa, ON – The Carleton Ravens and the Ottawa Gee-Gees have provided local Ottawa basketball fans with a long list of memorable and historic moments since their heated rivalry began in 1975. Over the course of the past 40 years local pundits have experienced the dominance of the Dave Smart Era, a National championship game between the two rival schools in their home city, but never has the Nations Capital or the Canada, for that matter experienced anything like what went down on a cold Saturday February night inside the Canadian Tire Centre (CTC).
With the home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators packed all the way to the third-bowl and both school colors on full display the No. 2-ranked Carleton Ravens behind a decisive fourth-quarter knocked off the No. 1-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees 79-66 in front of a record breaking CIS basketball crowd of 10 780 passionate fans in the ninth edition of the Annual Capital Hoops Classic.
Fourth-year Ravens forward Thomas Scrubb dominated from tip-off, racked-up his sixth double-double of the season with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists in a rematch of last year’s CIS Men’s Final 8 Championship game at CTC which drew over 7000 fans.
The Gee-Gees had no answer for the Victoria, BC native specially in the second and fourth quarters, scoring 11 and 10 points respectively in a pressure cooker game which had the feeling of yet another National title game. “We just wanted to more aggressive this time, we thought last game we were tentative and didn’t really attacked them, we know we have good match-ups on offense we just wanted to go at those match-ups and we had success doing that tonight.” discussed Thomas Scrubb during his post game interview with BasketballBuzz.
Gee-Gees all-time leading scorer Johnny Berhanemeskel put on a show in his last Capital Hoops Classic with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Berhanemeskel toasted the Ravens in the opening quarter and electrified the record CIS crowd in the third-quarter as the Gee-Gees took their first lead of the game at 54-51 on a sweet three-point play.
As usual in a game of this magnitude, officiating and how the referees call it early usually dictates the flow and the pace of the game, and on this special night it was no different!
Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin to a long pause before giving us his opinion on how the game was called, “Long pause…I thought some big calls in that first-half, overall I thought it was fairly even, But I thought the big calls were Caleb’s second in the first-half, in the first 30 seconds of the game that really throws off our game plan obviously hes a major part of what we do.”
Carleton Ravens head coach Dave Smart, who was in much better mood after his team’s victory also expressed his feelings towards the officiating, “well I think I did an absolutely horrible job in the first game letting stuff slide, we got called for some soft ones, they got called for some soft ones but generally the travels were called and the guys that were in foul trouble fouled! I know James (Derouin) isn’t happy but Caleb fouled, and our guys also fouled.
Three-time CIS MVP Philip Scrubb shot the ball poorly once again on the big floor, going 0-8 from deep but finishing with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and one turnover in his last 39 minutes of Capital Hoops action.
“For us being up one after three quarters against them in the state we’re in physical it was a win, if someone had told me that you are going to fourth quarter with a one point lead, they got Mike (L’African) back and we don’t have four guys, one starter, and they are better than us when we’re both healthy, were taking it.” added Smart.
Gee-Gees starting PG Mike L’African return to action for the first time since the Gee-Gees knocked off the Ravens in their thrilling 78-76 win and was rock solid with 11 points, 7 rebounds but failed to record an assist as Ottawa struggled with ball movement recording only 9 assists compared to Carleton’s 16.
The Ravens (23-4, 13-2 OUA) still trails the Gee-Gees (27-4, 14-1 OUA) by a game for the top spot in the conference and the right the host the 2015 Wilson Cup.
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.