It was only fitting Lakehead lifted their little man who plays large skyward after stunning Ottawa 78-73 in the OUA third-place game, since Greg Carter carried them.
The Thunderwolves' second-year floor leader had a major impact in the comeback win, with his quickness and on-the-ball defence (11 of Ottawa's 20 turnovers were charged to Moser Trophy finalist Josh Gibson-Bascombe, ouch), and he also stuck a dagger with a left-corner triple which capped a game-turning 15-0 run the fourth quarter, as Lakehead went from seven points down through three quarters to ahead by eight.
That was Carter's only three-point attempt of the day, but he knew when he could do it. That sort of sums up coach Scott Morrison's young Thunderwolves, who shot an effective 63% on another team's floor in their biggest game of the season. They have been a tough team to predict all season, but now stand as the only OUA team this season to own wins over Carleton and Ottawa.
Lakehead is a tough team to predict, but turned the Gee-Gees inside-out thanks in large part to the bomber from the bright lights of Bellevegas, Jamie Searle, hitting from outside (18 points, 5-of-7 on triples) and Yoosrie Salhia (16 points, 11 boards) cleaning up inside. Carter's fellow graduate from St. Patrick's in Ottawa, Anthony McIntosh (eight points) was also a minor X-factor, making a nice short-range jumper which gave the Thunderwolves their first lead early in the final quarter. Andrew Hackner (10 points) also hit a big three with just a little less than two minutes to play.
Carter was steady (11 points, five rebounds, just three turnovers). He also earned himself a likely shot at, depending on the seeding, getting to face another conference player of the year next Friday, either Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw from St. FX, Josh Whyte of UBC (in the 2 vs. 7 quarter-final, maybe) or CIS scoring king Showron Glover of Saskatchewan.
Meantime, how much does it hurt for Ottawa to cede the capital's sporting attention to Carleton for the next week?
Gibson-Bascombe (16 points, 10 rebounds) and fellow fifth-year co-captain Donnie Gibson (16, including 4-of-4 on threes) will go out on a home-court loss to a team they trounced in regular season, which also hurts. Warren Ward led Ottawa with 29 points, so do the math, the rest of the Ottawa team scored a mere dozen.
The just-the-facts with coach Dave DeAveiro's Ottawa outfit is it had two chances to reach the Final 8 without even living the city limits. For most people, there is no hair-splitting when those kind of opportunities fall by the wayside, even with Carleton across town.