By Elio Elia
Photos by Valerie Wutti/Carleton University
A dominant display from the Carleton Ravens saw them defeat the Western Mustangs by a score of 90-63 in the semifinals of the U Sports Final 8 on Saturday.
The victory earned the Ravens a spot in the Canadian university championship game, where they will defend their title against Dalhousie at 8 p.m. on Sunday at TD Place in Lansdowne.
Carleton came out strong against Western, outplaying the Mustangs for most of the first quarter, with the gap between the teams reaching 15 at its widest early on. Western would fight back to close the quarter only behind by 7, as the Ravens led by a score of 21-14.
It was a similar story in the second quarter, where Carleton once again controlled the pace and widened their lead over Western to 12 points. The Ravens had a 43-31 advantage at halftime.
The disparity between the teams became clear in the third quarter where the Ravens outplayed the Mustangs in all facets of the game. Carleton used a 17-point run to outscore Western by 20 points in the third. Carleton led 72-40 at the end of the third quarter.
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For Carleton, the fourth quarter was more of maintenance act than anything else, having already put the game to bed.
Similar to their quarterfinals matchup against the Calgary Dinos, the Ravens overpowered the Mustangs more and more with each passing quarter. Carleton’s game plan was executed to perfection, which became more glaringly clear as the game passed.
Windsor’s Isiah Osborne led the Ravens in scoring, coming off the bench to put up 17 points, 11 rebounds and one assist. Ottawa natives veteran Yasiin Joseph and first-year Lloyd Pandi also put in strong performances for the home team. Joseph scored 13 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist. Pandi had 13 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist. Aiden Warnholtz, who is also from Ottawa, scored 3 points and collected 2 rebounds for Carleton. Fellow Ottawa Elite alumnus Connor Vreeken scored 8 points, had 8 rebounds and registered 1 assist for the Ravens.
Carleton has seemed untouchable for much of the early rounds of the U Sports Final 8 and have built momentum that will make them difficult to prevent from once again capturing the national title on Sunday night.