OTTAWA, Ont.—The legend continues to grow for arguably the greatest dynasty U Sports has ever seen.
The Carleton Ravens rode a big fourth quarter to blow out the Western Mustangs, 90-68, to win their third consecutive OUA Wilson Cup title.
The Ravens victory makes it 12 Wilson Cups in the last 18 years, as they look to win their 15th national title over the same period, in next week’s U Sports Final 8.
“Don’t want to take things for granted,” said Carleton Coach Taffe Charles. “They [Western] played well, I thought they came out and gave us everything they got, really caused us some issues.
“[We] turned the ball over a lot but really happy about the results.”
The Ravens (21-1), before this game, aside from their lone regular season loss to Ottawa, had not won by less than 30 points since their last matchup against Western, a 106-81 win on Jan. 31.
They were led by first-year forward and OUA first-team all-star, Lloyd Pandi, who had 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, who was named Player of the Game for his efforts.
“It’s been surreal, all the glory to God,” said Pandi. “We’ve worked so hard for this opportunity. The whole team has worked, I’ve worked. It’s just a surreal moment.”
Marcus Anderson had 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Isiah Osborne had 16 points and four blocks off the bench.
Western Mustangs (16-6) came into this with hopes of shocking the nation, after an overtime win against Laurier on Wednesday night. Eriq Jenkins led the way against Carleton with 27 points, five rebounds, and three steals.
Omar Shiddo had 17 points, 14 of them coming in the first half and Julian Walker had 12 points.
The tone was set from the jump, as Western played with tenacity, showing no fear, going back and forth with Carleton for much of the first quarter. Ravens went on a 9-0 run to go up 20-12 in a two-minute span.
Western followed with an 8-2 run to close out the quarter, and the score was 22-20 for the Ravens.
The second quarter was much of the same with both teams trading baskets for half the quarter until Carleton made a 12-4 run to make it 41-32 with 1:46 until halftime. After some threes were exchanged, the score at half was 44-38 for the Ravens.
Ravens managed to get out to a 10-point lead with a 6-0 run early in the third, making it 50-40. Western, again, countered with a 9-2 run to bring the deficit to three.
Towards the end of the third is where it felt like the tide was turning for Carleton.
Pandi got a layup to go, and one, followed by a steal from Anderson that led to him being fouled. After making one and missing the second, Pandi grabbed the offensive rebound, missed the layup, got another rebound and got the basket to go. Those sequences gave Carleton a 64-53 lead after three.
“I call him the Wolverine,” said Charles. “I just think he’s really tenacious in there and at this time of the year, that’s when you need to get tough baskets without a lot of calls, and he does a great job.”
Mustangs wouldn’t fade just yet though, opening the fourth with a 7-0 run to make it 64-60, forcing a Carleton timeout. That was the turning point of the game for the Ravens. They went on an 8-0 run to make it 72-60.
“We knew we just had to dig in, find good shots and we knew we could hit them,” Anderson said. “Defensively, force them to the weaknesses and force them to take bad shots.”
From there, the Ravens gradually pushed the lead further and further, with airtight defence and some open shots, led by Anderson.
“I just knew that somebody had to hit shots,” said Anderson. “They were giving me wide-open shots, so I knew I had to knock them down.”
Despite the win, it was understood that there is still unfinished business.
“It’s been a great year so far but at Carleton, it’s not a great year until we win [nationals] so, we still got a little work to do,” said Charles.