By Jessica Barrett
(TORONTO, ON) – A two-pointer by Johnny Berhanemeskel with five-tenths of a second remaining gave the Ottawa Gee-Gees their second Wilson Cup title in school history, upsetting the defending-champion Carleton Ravens in a thrilling come-from-behind 78-77 victory at the OUA Men’s Basketball Final Four Championship hosted by Ryerson University at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, presented by Recharge with Milk.
Berhanemeskel’s game-winner capped a 30-point performance for the fourth-year guard from Ottawa, which earned him the Kitch MacPherson Trophy as the outstanding player in the Wilson Cup game. His tally included connecting on 13 of 28 attempts from the field, two from beyond the arc.
The Gee-Gees had trailed by 10 points with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, but a run of 11 unanswered Ottawa points obliterated the Carleton lead.
Terry Thomas ranked second among Gee-Gee scorers, tallying 17 points, including a trio of three-pointers, and a team-high nine rebounds. Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue added 12 points to the score sheet.
For the Ravens, Tyson Hinz posted 25 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Thomas Scrubb with 21 points and Philip Scrubb with 13 points.
Ottawa’s only previous Wilson Cup title came 21 years ago, when they defeated the Western Mustangs 88-48 on March 13, 1993.
The loss snapped Carleton’s 49-game winning streak against CIS opponents in regular season and playoff competition, and a two-year reign as Wilson Cup champions. The Ravens’ last loss against a Canadian school came on November 9, 2012.
Ottawa fought Carleton equally in the early going, holding a lead of 24-22 after the first quarter. Carleton steadily began to build its lead in the second frame, pulling ahead 40-35 by halftime.
The Gee-Gees entered the final quarter on the short end of a 62-56 score, and Carleton’s offence had Ottawa pinned 75-65 with 3:05 remaining on the clock. A basket by Berhanemeskel ignited an 11-point Ottawa rally, with him contributing seven points and Gonthier-Dubue the remaining two. Gonthier-Dubue sunk a two-pointer with 22 seconds left to give Ottawa a 76-75 lead.
Carleton regained the upper hand with 6.8 second remaining on a field goal by Tyson Hinz, setting the stage for Berhanemeskel’s game-winner.
Carleton and Ottawa both earn berths in the CIS men’s basketball championship tournament, at Carleton next weekend, along with the McMaster Marauders, who earlier took the OUA bronze medal with a 93-89 overtime win over the Windsor Lancers.