Ravens come back to down Rams and advance to ninth straight Wilson Cup Final

Ravens come back to down Rams and advance to ninth straight Wilson Cup Final

If one wasn't shocking enough, there was nearly two upsets on Friday night at the OUA Final Four on the campus of University of Ottawa.

After watching the Ryerson Rams relentlessly come at them all night, the defending national champion Carleton Ravens waited for their opportunity and seized it in the final minutes, coming back to defeat the Rams 84-80 and advance to their ninth straight OUA Final. 

Ryerson came out ready to play and carried the lead through the second quarter and built it to as many as seven before going into the half with a six point lead. The Rams took advantage of the Ravens missing shots in close by shooting 57 per cent on the other end in the first half.

Both teams were really attacking the basket all game long which made it a very back-and-forth battle.
Carleton started to make a couple of runs at the lead early in the second half. But Ryerson continued hang in and take the push back, turning it the other way to cling to the lead. They'd bend but not break until the Ravens laid it in for a one point lead in the final minute of the third, their first lead since the last minute of the first. That was short-lived as the Rams countered and finished the third quarter with a 64-61 lead. 

The lead changed hands six more times from then on. With the score tied at 73 with 3:12 to go a Rams player accidentally knocked into his own basket to give the Ravens the lead. That was part of a 10-0 run for the Ravens as they started to dictate play. They held a six point lead with two minutes to go. But that did not seem to phase the Rams as they kept the same determined demeanour that had all game and continued to hang in. 

With five seconds left, Jahmal Jones of the Rams knocked down a three to keep the game alive but Philip Scrubb was then fouled coming out of a timeout, sending him to line to ice it with two free throws. 

"At halftime, we talked about getting a little more ball movement. We were getting a little stagnate with what we were doing offensively," said head coach Dave Smart. "But, the big thing was we needed to do a better job defensively and get them out of their comfort zone. They're one of the best teams in the country. Any time we play, we're going to have a tough time beating a team like that."

OUA defensive player of the year, Thomas Scrubb, earned Porter Player of the Game honours finishing with a game-high 31 points and 12 rebounds. For his part, brother Philip added a hard-fought 19 points on 5-for-21 shooting.

"We haven't played that bad on defence all year," said Thomas Scrubb. "We knew we needed to get stops to be able to pull away. I guess we saw them getting tired near the end so we knew it was a matter of time when we could make a few plays and pull away." 

Third year guard, Connor Wood had a big game for the Ravens as well going 9-for-10 from the field for 21 points.

"Connor's progressed all year and he's playing with more confidence and when you do that, good things happen," said Smart. "He can really score and he's a tough one-on-one. We need him to play at a high level and he's been doing that." 

The Ravens advance to meet the Windsor Lancers tomorrow night at 8 pm for the Wilson Cup. The Lancers are the only team other than the No. 2 ranked uOttawa Gee-Gees to beat the Ravens in the last two seasons when they took down Carleton 74-71 on January 23.

"They [Windsor] beat us last time so it's not going to take a lot for us to get motivated to beat them this time," said Scrubb. "We need to be ready to rebound. They're probably feeling pretty good about themselves, so we need to play with confidence too." 

"We really got to box out," echoed Wood about their OUA Final opponent. "They destroyed us on the boards last time. So I think that's going to be really key."

As for the Rams, they'll take on host uOttawa in the bronze medal show down. The Gee-Gees will be fighting for both redemption for their semifinal loss and for the final automatic berth into the CIS Final Eight. 

The graduating Rams senior, Jahmal Jones put his team on his back, going down and getting the clutch points they needed all game. But it wasn't enough as the rest of his teammates faltered in the final minutes. 

"I think our guys are really disappointed because they really believed they could win," said Ryerson coach Roy Rana. "We're not about making statements in loses. We're trying to win games. The thing is we still have a life because we're hosting the Final Eight. We know our road to a national championship will have to go through Carleton, Ottawa, even Windsor now who's showing some strength. 

"I thought we did a pretty good job through three and a half quarters but we blew some coverages late and that hurt us. But that's why they're so good. They're methodical but they're very good in their method."

Catch all the action live tomorrow night starting at 6:00pm on OUA.tv.