The No. 1 nationally-ranked Carleton Ravens won their fifth Ontario University Athletics men’s basketball championship in seven years on Saturday (March 7) defeating the No. 4 Western Mustangs 71-57 in the Wilson Cup.
Over 1,100 fans packed Alumni Hall on the campus of the University of Western Ontario in London. The Mustangs jumped to a 4-0 lead but the 24-1 Ravens and winners of 24 consecutive games, easily erased the deficit and had a 19-12 lead at the end of one quarter.
From there, it was just a matter of the Ravens maintaining their margin. They increased their advantage to 10 at halftime, leading 33-23, then by 14 at the end of three quarters as Western trailed 51-37. Both teams scored 20 points in the fourth as the Ravens held on for the victory.
Fifth-year Ravens guard Stuart Turnbull (Kingston) was named the Wilson Sports Equipment Canada Player of the Game with a game-high 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Also making a big contribution to Carleton’s cause was fourth-year forward Kevin McCleery (Ottawa) who scored 11 points and added seven boards. Fifth-year forward Aaron Doornekamp (Odessa) added eight points and nine rebounds while fifth-year guard Rob Saunders (Kingston) contributed nine points, nine rebounds and two assists.
Western fourth-year forward Keenan Jeppesen (Stoney Creek) had a double-double in a losing effort with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Teammate Brad Smith (Churchill), a fifth-year forward playing in his final game on the Alumni Hall court, scored a team-high 16 points.
Carleton held Western to just 29.2 percent shooting for the game, compared to 38.7 percent for the Ravens. Carleton dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Mustangs 45-28. The Ravens have defeated Western in nine straight OUA games, with their last loss to the Mustangs coming on Nov. 17, 2001.
The Ravens and Mustangs (21-4) played for the Wilson Cup last season, with Carleton coming out on top 81-65 on home court. Ravens head coach Dave Smart has been at the helm of all five of Carleton’s OUA championships.
The Ravens and Mustangs will now compete at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8 Men’s Basketball Championship, hosted by Carleton University at Scotiabank Place in Kanata, March 13-15. They will be joined by the No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (21-4), who won the OUA bronze medal game 73-59 over the No. 8 Windsor Lancers (16-9) at Montpetit Hall in Ottawa. Fourth-year guard Josh Gibson-Bascombe (Toronto) led the Gee-Gees with 24 points, shooting 4-of-8 from three-point range.