TORONTO (CIS) – The top-seeded Carleton University Ravens claimed the W.P. McGee Trophy for the fifth consecutive season and for a record 11th time overall thanks to a decisive 93-46 victory over the No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees in the championship final of the 2015 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men's basketball Final 8, Sunday afternoon, in front of a near-sellout crowd of 3,917 at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Ravens, who earned the top seed for the national tournament after they captured the OUA banner a week ago, completed a successful five-year run for the second time in program history, equalling their remarkable streak from 2003 to 2007.
Brothers Phil and Thomas Scrubb became just the fourth and fifth players in CIS annals to win five national rings in men's basketball, joining Osvaldo Jeanty from the 2003-2007 Ravens as well as Eli Pasquale and David Sheehan from the University of Victoria dynasty in the 1980s.
In his final university game, Phil Scrubb completed a dream weekend as he received his second Jack Donohue Trophy as Final 8 MVP - three years after he first merited the award in 2012 - and was named Carleton game MVP for the third time in as many games this week thanks to a 28-point, 10-assist performance. The all-star guard from Richmond. B.C., the only player to win CIS player-of-the-year honours on three occasions over his career, shot 10-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, and was 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
Thomas, the reigning two-time CIS defensive player of the year and 2013 Jack Donohue Trophy winner, had a double-double of his own with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The cross-town rivals from the nation's capital had also faced off in last year's CIS title match, with Carleton prevailing 79-67. It marked the third rematch in CIS men's hoops history after Victoria beat Waterloo in both 1985 and 1986, and back-to-back victories by StFX over Brandon in 2000 and 2001.
"It's pretty cool to think about," said Phil Scrubb about the five consecutive national titles. "Each individual one is different and pretty special and this one, after we lost a few games this year, is a good feeling."
Ravens bench boss Dave Smart, who has been at the helm for all 11 McGee Trophy triumphs, echoed his point guard's statements about what the most recent one means to him.
"Really for me, it's one at a time. It's always a different group. To win without Tyson (Hinz) and Kevin (Churchill) is not easy – they were the heart and soul of last year's team and to find a way to get it done this year is pretty special."
Carleton's defence smothered the Gee-Gees, limiting the country's highest-scoring team from the regular season (94.5 ppg) to just 23 points in each half, including eight points in a 22-8 fourth quarter. The Ravens, who had the nation's top-ranked defence this year (56.4 ppg) led 15-10 after the first period, 38-23 at halftime and 71-38 after 45 minutes.
Fifth-year Ottawa guard Johnny Berhanemeskel, the 2014-15 CIS player of the year, was held to just six total points on 1-of-10 shooting, including 0-of-6 from three-point range, and didn't find the score sheet until two minutes before the halftime break.
For the game, Carleton shot 55.4% from the field and 52.2% from beyond the arc, compared to 25.0% and 15.4% for their opponents. The Ravens also won the rebound battle 44-29.
Leading 15-10 after 10 minutes, the Ravens led 15-10 started the second quarter on an 11-0 run to open the game up. The lead quickly ballooned to 20 and, with 5:10 remaining in the half, Ottawa head coach James Derouin was whistled for a technical foul which seemed to give his Gee-Gees a spark they desperately needed. Ottawa scored on consecutive possessions and then drew a charge call at the defensive end and moved to within 13 points.
Carleton held steady however and had retreated to the locker room up 38-23.
The Ravens came out of the break hungry for more and Connor Wood led the champions on a 16-2 run to open the second half. Third-year guard connected on three straight three-pointers and added a pull up jumper all within the first three minutes of the quarter.
"They came out on that run and I had to burn a timeout," said Derouin after the game. "That put their lead at 26 and the way they were defending, I knew we had a pretty uphill climb at that point and it seemed to go from bad to worse from there."
Ottawa's offence could never find its rhythm and the Gee-Gees trailed 70-38 after three quarters. To make matters worse, the OUA bronze medallists also lost their CIS coach of the year as Derouin received a second technical foul and was forced to leave the bench for the final quarter.
Not satisfied with their lead and unwilling to take a possession off, the Ravens outscored Ottawa 22-8 in the final quarter to put the finishing touches on the lopsided victory.
Wood finished with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-7 on three-pointers. Jean-Emmanuel Pierre-Charles also scored in double figures with 11.
In a losing cause, forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue, playing in his last contest in a Gee-Gee uniform, was named Ottawa's game MVP following a seven-point, seven-rebound effort. Guard Moe Ismail came off the bench and was an unlikely leading scorer for his squad with 10 points in eight minutes of action.
With tournament host Ryerson winning the bronze medal earlier on Sunday, the OUA conference swept the CIS podium for the second time in three campaigns. Carleton, Lakehead and Ottawa finished 1-2-3 in 2013.
The University of British Columbia will host the 2016 CIS men's basketball Final 8 in Vancouver.