By Brian Decker and Rob Pettapiece
WATERLOO, Ont. — Another efficient playoff performance, another Final 8 berth. It's almost old news for this team by now.
The Carleton Ravens put away the McMaster Marauders 80-56 Friday night in an OUA semifinal at the University of Waterloo, giving them a spot in Saturday's Wilson Cup championship against Ryerson.
Carleton had an 18-9 lead after the first quarter, which grew to a 10-point lead at the half, and 18 points after three.
"We made some shots. They did some good things, but they didn't make shots," said Ravens coach Dave Smart, whose team pulled away in the third quarter after scoring 30 points on just 17 shots.
A highlight of that third quarter was Phil and Thomas Scrubb's back-to-back-to-back three-point shots to raise the lead from 58-46 to 64-46 within 73 seconds. Smart acknowledged that "those three threes in a row helped us to get a little more comfortable with the way we were playing."
Despite a relatively poor first half, the Ravens still managed to shoot an effective 55% overall. Phil Scrubb scored 26 points on 15 shots, and was the game's leading scorer and biggest Raven threat, but it was his brother who caught the attention of McMaster coach Amos Connolly.
Connolly, whose Marauders are now all but certainly eliminated this year, did not appear dejected after the game, knowing the difficulty of beating Carleton. "I don't think people give them enough credit for becoming better this season.
"Thomas Scrubb, to me, has just vaulted into another stratosphere in terms of what he brings to that basketball team."
In a testament to the Ravens' discipline, the Marauders did not even make it to the free throw line for the first 22 minutes of the game.
The loss likely eliminated Mac from Final 8 contention, if only because Lakehead is ahead of them in most of the criteria used for the wild-card selection.
"For us, this stings obviously, and you feel like you got your ass kicked," said Connolly. "When you look at [Carleton] it's just the intensity and the physicality that they play at."
Looking ahead to Saturday's Wilson Cup game against Ryerson, Smart is hoping for a cleaner performance out of his team than in last year's final, where the Ravens fell to Lakehead.
"We have to play to win as opposed to trying not to lose. Last year's championship was a little ugly. It ended up helping us a lot, but it was a little ugly and we'd like to help ourselves [in the Final 8] by playing well instead of helping ourselves by playing poorly."
Ryerson, who surprised most observers with their 86-70 win over Lakehead earlier in the evening, now have a date against a powerful Ravens squad who already handled them twice this year, by 31 and 43 points.
Carleton's fifth-year guard Willy Manigat, as expected, isn't taking the Rams lightly. "We still got a lot of work to do. Got some tape to watch, got to rest our bodies. We have to prepare for a team that's highly motivated after beating the second-ranked team in the country today.
"They're going to be ready to go. We expect the same energy that they provided tonight."
Like his coach, Manigat is also wary of a repeat of last year, when Carleton beat the second-place team in the OUA West only to lose in the OUA final.
"We need to not take ourselves too seriously. We got to the final last year and kind of thought that the [Wilson] Cup belonged to us. We need to play our game and be ready."
McMaster had their own cheering section make the short journey, as Ryerson did before them, providing two of the best game atmospheres the PAC in Waterloo has seen in recent years, and setting the stage for Saturday's 8:00pm final.
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