Written by Alex Kurial
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Carleton Ravens are back to back OUA champions after a thorough 81-61 win over the Ryerson Rams.
Munis Tutu struck first for the Ravens with an early three, but was quickly answered by Rams guard Myles Charvis. The teams traded baskets until a Marcus Anderson layup sparked a scorching 12-0 run for Carleton over a four minute stretch to open up a 20-9 lead.
After Ryerson found their footing and worked the game back within six points, Yasiin Joseph delivered a timely three in the final minute to ensure Carleton a 25-18 edge after one. The Ravens proceeded to start the second frame with back to back threes from Anderson and Tutu, before Eddie Ekiyor brought the Ravens Nest crowd to their feet with a massive two-handed dunk. Another Tutu deep ball soon after continued to widen the gap, as Carleton headed into the break holding a 44-27 lead.
The Ravens maintained their edge in the second half thanks to a strong defensive effort collectively. Joseph stayed hot from the floor, putting some nice touch on a floating shot off the backboard and in for two of his game high 20 points. The following possession saw Mitch Jackson block an attempted shot by JV Mukama into the stands to the delight of the capacity crowd. Joseph converted an and one soon after as Carleton took a 62-43 advantage into the final 10 minutes.
A quick run by the Rams to start the quarter brought them within 12, but Joseph responded by again coming through with the hoop and the harm to bump the lead back up to 17. It was the start of a personal 7-0 run by the Ottawa native to help seal the game away for Carleton and lock up their 11th Wilson Cup since 2003.
The last meeting between the two sides had featured a Ryerson win on the Ravens home court. Munis Tutu said this had caused plenty of extra motivation heading into the final.
“This is a game that we wanted since the last time that we played them,” Tutu said after the game. “We focused on them this whole week. We came out today and did a great job on defense. It was a team effort and I’m glad we came out with the win.”
Rams guard Myles Charvis went for 23 and 21 points in the two team’s previous matchups this season, but tonight was held to 10 on just 3 of 10 shooting. Tutu, who had 16 points, said it was a personal goal of his to outduel his opposing guard this time around.
“I took that personal from my last two matches. He outplayed me, but today I came in with a better focus than I did in the last two games,” explained Tutu.
Tutu knows though that despite the OUA title, their work this season is far from over.
“We talked about it in the locker room. We come out with a win tonight, and we know we might play them again at nationals,” said Tutu. “So we know we’re not done yet. We’re not satisfied until we get a national championship.”
Eddie Ekiyor commented that the sting of last year’s semifinal exit to Ryerson still weighs on him and the team. “That taste is still in our mouths, that loss was bitter,” Ekiyor said. “We have to keep coming and not get complacent. Keep coming on defense, keep coming and get better everyday.”
Carleton’s national title quest will begin on Thursday, March 7 from the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.