Written by Griffin Porter
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Carleton University Ravens took down the Western University Mustangs in front of a sold out crowd at the Ravens’ Nest to capture the school’s 12th Wilson Cup title, all of which were won in the last 18 years. Carleton withstood a strong test from a Mustangs team coming off a tight victory against Wilfred Laurier, and came away with the 90-68 victory to almost certainly secure their place as the #1 seed in next weekend’s national championship.
The game was much closer than the final score would suggest, as the two teams battled back and forth all night, with the Mustangs trimming the Carleton lead to as little as 4 points with just 8 minutes to go in the game. However, the Ravens responded with a run of their own, stretching their lead from 4 points to 16 in less than 5 minutes. Carleton raised their defence a level after a 7-0 Western run to start the 4th quarter, enabling the reclaiming of the double digit lead. “I thought we really should have dug in earlier, but in the fourth we were able to force them to their weaknesses and got a lot more stops on defence” said Marcus Anderson, who contributed across the board with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. This stretch cemented the game for the Ravens, as they were finally able to pull away from a stubborn Western team that had refused to give up all game.
Western was able to stay with Carleton by playing strong aggressive defence and refusing to let the Ravens score points off of turnovers. The first half especially was defined by strong Western halfcourt defence, as the Mustangs took good care of the ball and didn’t allow a single Carleton point off turnovers in the opening half. “I didn’t think we responded that great, to be honest”, said head coach Taffe Charles after the game, in response to the tough Western D. “But when you get to this time, it’s just about winning by one”.
The game saw several standout individual performances, with 1st year Ravens guard Lloyd Pandi leading the way for the home side. Pandi finished the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds, including 6 offensive rebounds. The Ottawa native imposed his will on Western several times throughout the game, earning trips to the free throw line and rebounds with his hustle and his motor. “I just try and go out there and play hard for my teammates, that’s all”, said Pandi, immediately after being named Player of the Game. Carleton also got production from their depth, as the Ravens got 39 points from their reserves, compared to just 2 for Western. The chief contributors off of the bench were a pair of guards for Carleton, as 4th year Isiah Osborne tallied 16 points, to go along with 3rd year Alain Louis who contributed 13 points and 4 assists.
The Ravens will now turn their eyes to next weekend’s U SPORT Final 8 National Championship, which will take place in Ottawa. Charles and his team are setting their own expectations high ahead of their bid to defend their national championship. Charles made that clear after the game, saying that “It’s been a great year so far, but at Carleton it’s not a great year until we win”.