By: Jackson Starr (Photos: Valerie Wutti)
OTTAWA - The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team lost 79-57 against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday Night in the OUA Wilson Cup Championship. The Gee-Gees separated the score in the third quarter and Carleton couldn’t fight back to close the gap.
It was a raucous crowd from the get-go at the Ravens’ Nest with both teams making shots in the early going. Carleton was assertive down low in the first quarter offensively and defensively, outscoring the Gee-Gees 12-0 on points in the paint. Grant Shephard (Kelowna, BC) and Wazir Latiff (Vaughn, Ont.) both capitalized on offence in the opening quarter, picking up a combined nine points. UOttawa however, was strong from the outside and countered many Carleton baskets with makes of their own. Cole Newton put up six first-quarter points for the Gee-Gees, who led 18-15 after one quarter of play.
The second quarter played out relatively similar to the first, as both teams continued to make shots. The Ravens once again controlled the paint, outscoring uOttawa 20-4 in the first half. Latiff continued his strong play in the second for Carleton adding eight points to his total. The Gee-Gees, though, made big shots from the outside to help build on the lead. Newton and Dragan Stajic each scored 10 second-quarter points to once again help build the Gee-Gee lead. The Ravens entered the dressing room with work to do down 35-29.
Carleton struggled to keep up with uOttawa in the third, with the Gee-Gees making adjustments to separate the score. The Ravens struggled on the defensive glass and uOttawa was able to capitalize on picking up offensive rebounds. Turnovers were also an issue in the third with uOttawa playing tough defence. Carleton trailed 55-40 after the third quarter.
The Ravens couldn’t mount a fourth-quarter comeback with uOttawa controlling the tide of the game. The turnovers started to mount for the Ravens and uOttawa turned that into offence. Carleton struggled to assert itself and go on a run, with uOttawa continuing to play strong defence. Unable to come back, the Ravens fell 79-57.
While Carleton ends its OUA season in disappointment, the big games are still yet to be played. The Ravens will head to Halifax, NS next week to compete in the U-Sports National Championship tournament for the 20th straight season.
“(Ottawa) just wanted it more than we did. They fully deserve what they got, they got after the boards, they hustled pretty hard. We just didn’t want it bad enough, it's just that simple. They really wanted it badly, they came in, they knew what kind of effort that it was going to take and as a group they really did a good job of actually out-working us right from the jump. We didn’t get enough from enough people to make a stand. Disappointing but it is what it is.”
“The OUA Championship would have been nice to win but really it's not the goal. The goal is to win a National Championship. For us this is perfect. We didn’t play well, there’s another level that we need to get to, they showed us that we weren’t at that level, it sets up perfectly for us for what our goal is.”
“We‘ll take a lot out of this and be ready to go next week. The game against Queen’s was the important one to get to Nationals. We’re there, now it’s about winning three games.”
“You never want to lose to Ottawa U on our home floor. Not great but at the same time it showed us that if we're not going to play like we need to…then we’re going to lose games. At the end of the day, we’ve got to take that lesson and move to Nationals because if we don’t fix that then we’re not going to win.”
“We can look at the little X’s and O’s and all the technical stuff but at the end of the day, we’ve got to be tougher. I don’t want that to happen again at all and I don’t think anybody in the change room does.”