The #2 Carleton Ravens took care of business against the #1 Ottawa Gee-Gees in the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic in the nation's capital.
It was a CIS regular season attendance record of 10, 780 at the Canadian Tire Centre for the much-anticipated re-match of the country's top two programs.
From the opening tip it was impossible to take your eyes off the court. First a floater from Thomas Scrubb. Then a short jumper from Johnny Berhanemeskel. Then a three. Then a pair of free-throws. Then a put-back.
After an Ottawa scoring drought of almost three minutes, the Ravens would pull ahead to an early 11-4 lead. Another jumper from Berhanemeskel gave the Gee-Gees life again, as the teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter.
Carleton led 24-15 after the first.
A three from Philip Scrubb started the second for the Ravens. Then another look from Thomas Scrubb inside. All of a sudden Carleton had a 30-17 advantage.
But Ottawa answered quickly, with a three from Mike L'Africain then another floater from Berhanemeskel. Back-to-back buckets from Matt Plunkett cut the deficit to just 5, forcing a Carleton timeout from Head Coach Dave Smart.
With the Scrubb brothers finding baskets inside, and a pair of threes from Gavin Resch, the Ravens were able to re-establish a 46-35 lead heading into the half.
Thomas Scrubb (16 points, 7 rebounds) led the way for Carleton, who shot 49% from the field (42% from downtown). Resch, Philip Scrubb, and Connor Wood all finished with 8 points in the half.
Meanwhile Berhanemeskel (16 points, 3 assists) paced the Gee-Gees, who shot an impressive 50% from the floor and 6-9 from downtown. Ottawa also committed 8 turnovers (while the Ravens gave it up just once) before the break.
Ottawa came out firing in the third – with a three from Caleb Agada and a long jumper from L'Africain – bringing the score to within four.
And then Berhanemeskel got hot, hitting three consecutive lay-ups for the Gee-Gees to give Ottawa a 54-51 lead with 2:30 to play in the quarter. But a quick pair of baskets in response gave the Ravens a 55-54 edge heading into the fourth.
Early in the final frame Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles made his mark hitting back-to-back buckets to give Carleton some breathing room. Then it was the Thomas Scrubb show again, who went on a 7-point burst to give the Ravens a 66-57 lead.
Despite a late push the Gee-Gees couldn't find their way back into it. With Carleton hitting their free-throws, the Ravens walked away victorious.
Final score: Carleton 79 Ottawa 66
"I thought we did a pretty good job defensively for the most part. They are tough, they have a lot of talent," said Smart afterwards.
Thomas Scrubb finished with a double-double of 29 points and 12 rebounds – both game-highs. Philip Scrubb (13 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds), Resch (13 points, 3-6 from three), and Wood (10 points) all finished in double figures for the Ravens.
Berhanemeskel had an impressive nights of his own, piling up 28 points on 10-17 shooting. L'Africain (11 points, 7 rebounds) and Plunkett (10 points) also chipped in for the Gee-Gees offense.
Both teams had excellent shooting nights from the floor (Carleton 43%, Ottawa 40%) and from the line (both 75%). But a 43-35 rebounding advantage for the Ravens and 12 Ottawa turnovers proved to be the Gee-Gees downfall.