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One team, three winning games and 14 championships

Carelton defeated Calgary 83-49 to win their 14th national championship in 17 years.

The Carleton Ravens claim the U Sports 2019 men’s basketball national championship after defeating the defending champion Calgary Dinos 83-49 at the Scotiabank Centre on March 10.

Ravens’ player Munis Tutu who had 18 points, six rebounds, and three assists said that his team was prepared for this moment after being eliminated in the national semifinal last year.

“After last year we didn’t end the right way here and we came in here to this tournament really focused and we got the job done,” said Tutu.

Ravens dominate

Ravens controlled the first quarter against Dinos and lead 20-13.Tutu dropped a total eight points, running the offensive plays for his team. Most of Calgary’s points in the first quarter came from free throw shots until Lucas Mannes dropped a crucial three-point shot that sparked the Dinos. Calgary scored five more points in an attempt to close the gap on the Ravens.

In the second quarter, the Ravens took advantage of their lead and continued to drop point after point against the Dinos. Ravens Mitch Wood ended the half with an impressive layup from under the net – at the buzzer. Ravens lead 44-23 at half.

The night before, the Ravens had a close match up against Dalhousie University. They defeated the Tigers 76-65. The Ravens’ Head Coach, Dave Smart said the result of the Tigers game impacted the dominating game they had against Calgary. The Dinos were undefeated in U Sports entering the game.

“You know I think if we had of won by a big margin last night the (players)  wouldn’t have been able to convince themselves that they’re the underdog,” said Smart. “I think they played like the underdog tonight in terms of they just played with fire and attack which an underdog has to play to win.”

In the third quarter, Dinos started off with a well-needed three-pointer, but the team was unable to catch up to the Ravens. Carleton’s Troy Reid-Knight dropped a three-pointer with 40 seconds left in the third quarter to give Carleton a 30 point lead. The Dinos put up two more points before the end of the third quarter that had the Ravens up 64-36.

Third year Ravens’ player Eddie Ekiyor had an impressive 14 rebounds in the third quarter. He also earned the national championship MVP.

“He just dominated at both ends of the floor,” said Smart. “He’s hard to cover in the defensive end and he is a beast on the (rebounds).”

The fourth and final quarter had the Ravens in a commanding position. After leading the entire game, the final 10 minutes was a joy ride to victory.

Heavy hearts

Although the victory was sweet, it was also made with a heavy heart as the Carleton team mourned the loss of Pius Adesanmi, who was a professor and the director of Carleton’s Institute of African Studies. He was killed in an Ethiopian plane crash the day before the game.

“It was sad to hear about it and I came into the game thinking about that, and I’m glad we got (winning the championship) done,” said Tutu.

This is the Ravens 14th national championship in the past 17 years.

“I just think we defended extremely well and we stayed locked in offensively in terms of staying with our plan,” said Smart. “We got guys the shots we needed to get.”

With files from Josh Young, Sports Editor
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