OTTAWA - After a thrilling back and forth game at the Ravens’ Nest on Wednesday night, the Queen’s Gaels are off to their first Wilson Cup Final. The Gaels got the best of the top-ranked Ravens in a wild 86-80 finish.
The Carleton Ravens will now have to wait to see if they receive the At-large Berth to the U SPORTS Final 8 Presented by The Westin Edmonton.
The fans in the Ravens’ Nest were at the very least left entertained with a game that featured six lead changes, nine ties, and three players with over 20 points. Cole Syllas led all players with 39 points and 10 rebounds for the Gaels while Alain Louis and Lloyd Pandi both had 25 in the loss.
The Ravens got off to an uncharacteristically slow start on Wednesday, shooting under 35% in the first quarter while quickly falling behind the Gaels 8-2. As turnovers and struggles with range plagued the Ravens, they found themselves behind the visitors 21-12 at the end of the quarter.
The Ravens would find their stride in the second quarter pressuring the Gaels on defence and forcing turnovers quickly bringing the Ravens back into the game. As the Ravens forced mistakes out of the Gaels, Grant Shephard (Kelowna, B.C.) generated a spark with a massive block on defence before Lloyd Pandi created his offence generating a steal and layup to drive the Ravens back into the contest. By the end of the half the deficit had been cut to three.
The Ravens continued their improved tempo coming out of the half, finishing the climb back into the game and eventually taking a 49-46 league. Unfortunately for the Ravens, they would get into early foul trouble, taking four team fouls before the half was even four minutes old. The fouls forced personal changes for the Ravens and the Gaels took advantage of staying hot from beyond the arc and holding onto a tight 62-60 lead at the half.
The Gaels struggled to contain the Ravens early in the fourth as Alain Louis (Montreal, Que.) would draw a foul and score one of two from the line before Cordell Veira (Toronto, Ont.) would drain back-to-back threes to extend the Ravens run to 12. Just as the Ravens looked to finally have found their footing the Syllas brothers charged back. Working with Quinton Gray, the Syllas's led the Gaels back as they evened the score at 72. With 2:50 to play Ravens guard Aiden Warnholtz would foul out of the game with the Gaels leading by four.
The Ravens and Gaels would continue to exchange points and as the Ravens were forced to foul sending the Gaels to the line before Cole Syllas would finish things off with a layup that sealed the night.
Queen’s advance to play the Brock Badgers on Saturday in the Wilson Cup final in St. Catharines.
Three-Headed Monster – Led by Cole Syllas’s 39 points the Gaels received 67 points from the trio of Quinton Gray and Luka and Cole Syllas.
Two for 25 – Alain Louis and Lloyd Pandi each had 25 points for the Ravens. Pandi was 10-for-15 from the field while Louis was an equally impressive 9-for-16.
A First – The Gaels now advance to the Wilson Cup for the first time in program history.