The second-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees upset the top-ranked Carleton Ravens 78-77 to win the 2014 OUA Wilson Cup.
The thrilling championship battle took place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Mar. 1.
Ottawa guard Johnny Berhanemeskel knocked down the game winner on a step back jump shot near the foul line with just 0.5 seconds left.
The senior guard finished the game with 30 points to lead his Gee-Gees past the Ravens, whose only previous losses this year came during the pre-season.
“It means a lot,” Berhanemeskel said of the win. “It means that we can beat them, they’re not invincible and we can win a national championship.”
Carleton led for most of the game and took a lead into the fourth quarter, but Ottawa tightened up its defence down the stretch. With 22 seconds left, Ottawa’s Gabriel Gonthier-Dub hit a sweeping hook shot to put the Gee-Gees up by one. Carleton answered with a basket by Tyson Hinz with 6.8 seconds, setting the stage for Berhanemeskel’s heroics.
The Gee-Gees ended the game on a 13-2 run to capture the Wilson Cup. The team’s last win was in the 1992-93 season.
“It’s definitely a great feeling,” said Gee-Gees sophomore forward. “Against Carleton, it’s even sweeter.”
“Last year we lost to them by three or four in the OUA finals, so we knew that we had a chance against them. It’s a dream come true.”
Ottawa won on Ryerson’s home court a week after ending the Rams’ season by beating them 79-78 in the OUA east semifinal. It was the second year in a row that Ryerson’s season came to an end at the hands of the Gee-Gees.
Ottawa and Carleton will both play in the CIS Final 8, but the Gee-Gees are now the favourites to land the number one seed in the tournament. Despite the loss, Carleton could be awarded the top seed because the team dominated the regular season. The CIS will announce the seeds on Sunday.
Earlier, the McMaster Marauders made it into the CIS Final 8 with a thrilling 93-83 bronze medal victory against the Windsor Lancers in overtime.
The CIS Final 8 takes place next weekend in Ottawa and will crown a national champion. The Gee-Gees have never won a national championship in men’s basketball. The Ravens are in search of its fourth straight national title, and its tenth in the last 12 years.