HALIFAX â€” The Carleton Ravens maintained their stranglehold on Canadian university men’s basketball on Sunday.
The Ravens roared to their seventh consecutive Canadian title, withstanding a fierce Ryerson comeback to beat the Rams 78-69.
Ryan Ejim scored 19 points, and Kaza Kajami-Keane had 15 points and 11 rebounds to earn player of the game honours.
The powerhouse Ravens have now won 13 W.P. McGee Trophies, more than any other school in history.
Carleton’s coach of the year Dave Smart said his team’s post play was the difference.
“We got what we wanted down low, and then we got a couple open threes when they started digging,” Smart said. “The fact that we had never really gone through the post all year, I don’t think (Ryerson) really had a plan once we started scoring down there.”
Fifth-year guard Adika Peter-McNeilly had 23 points, while Adam Voll had 12 points and nine boards for Ryerson.
The Ravens went a perfect 19-0 in the regular-season but were upset just a week earlier by Ryerson (17-2) in the Ontario conference final. The Rams, two-time bronze medallists, were making their debut in the championship final, and were looking for their first title â€” in any sport â€” in school history.
“I just don’t think we were as good offensively as we were last week,” said Rams head coach Roy Rana. “We made a run in the fourth to make it a game, and we just didn’t execute when we had our opportunities and they came back and made some big plays and that was the difference in the game.”
The Ravens capitalized on Ryerson’s poor 28 per cent shooting in the first quarter, and led 19-13 heading into the second.
The defending champions went up by 11 midway through the second and took a 39-28 advantage into the halftime break.
The Ravens opened the third with a 15-5 run to stretch their advantage to as many as 24 points, but the Rams punched back with a 15-0 run to make it just a nine-point game with less than a minute to play in the quarter. Ejim converted a three-pointer to send the Ravens into the fourth with a 63-51 lead.
The Rams kept the pressure on in the fourth and buckled down on the defensive end, and a tip-in from Voll made it a six-point game with 4:20 to play. Another put-back by Voll with 1:22 to play had Ryerson within six points. But Carleton pounced on a couple of key Ryerson turnovers down the stretch, and Connor Wood, the U Sports player of the year, converted a three-point play with 19 seconds left to clinch the victory for the Ravens.
Earlier Sunday, a 27-point fourth quarter helped the Dalhousie Tigers top the McGill Redmen 69-63 in the bronze-medal game.
Trailing by eight entering the final 10 minutes, the Tigers went on a 17-8 run, taking the lead for good with just under three minutes left to play.
Forward Sven Stammberger led the way on the offensive end with eight points in the quarter and 20 overall. Guard Jenning Leung was McGill’s leading scorer with 17 points.
The third-place finish was the best result in men’s basketball history for Dalhousie, which finished fourth at last year’s championship.
The Canadian Press