'It's plain & simple: we got blown out'

Ravens steamroll basketball Gaels 96-44

The Queen’s men’s basketball team faced the daunting task of stopping the Carleton Ravens Saturday night in the Ravens’ quest for their sixth straight national championship.

The Gaels were barely a bump in the road.

In a dominant performance at the Ravens’ Nest, the top-seeded Carleton team flew to a 22-8 first-quarter lead and never looked back, winning the OUA East semifinal by a staggering 96-44 margin.

Each of Carleton’s 12 players who saw court time scored. The Ravens as a team put on a shooting clinic, making 15-of-31 from three-point range.

The win propels the Ravens into the OUA East final against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Gaels head coach Rob Smart said he was embarrassed at his team’s margin of defeat.

“We got blown out. It’s plain and simple: we got blown out.”

Smart said he told his returning players to use the loss as motivation for next season.

“I said, ‘You got pushed all over the gym. You’re mostly first- and second-year guys, you can do something about it if you want to, and you have the summer to start doing it.’ “I do this because I’m really competitive and if they don’t want to do it then I might not want to do it, myself.”

Smart said the team can view the loss as a learning experience.

“I think part of it is sort of a learning experience about how intense you’ve got to play at this point, and part of it is that they’re just more powerful than we are.”

The game was decided almost at the outset, as the confident Ravens got out to a 7-0 run early in the game on a Ryan Bell three-pointer and four points from Aaron Doornekamp. After Nick DiDonato and Jon Ogden hit three-pointers for Queen’s to make the score 10-6, the Ravens scored 16 of the next 21 points to end the quarter with a 26-11 lead.

The Ravens led 53-29 at the half and extended their lead in the second half on the strength of veterans Rob Saunders, who had five three-pointers in the game, and Stu Turnbull, who finished with 17 points.

Turnbull and Saunders also scored 17 points each. Doornekamp scored 14 in only 17 minutes of action.

Gaels’ guard Simon Mitchell, playing potentially his last game in a Queen’s uniform, led the team with 13 points. OUA ninth-leading scorer Mitch Leger was held to five points.

Smart said he expected more from his team.

“I’m different from a lot of people at Queen’s: I expect to win. I don’t expect to finish fourth, I don’t expect to make the playoffs. … I think right now the way we were playing at the end of the year we might have been the second-best team in our league.”

Despite the lopsided loss, the Gaels can take solace in the season-long performances of rookies such as Jon Ogden, Nick DiDonato, Tim Boyle and Travis Mitchell. All played prominent roles for the Gaels this season.

Smart said he sees positives down the road for his young team.

“I don’t know if there’s ever been any team in the country that’s played five freshmen as many minutes as we did and has been as successful as we’ve been this year.”

DiDonato said he’s embarrassed at the result against Carleton, but has hope for next year.

“That’s the team we’ve got to beat. We’ve got to strive to be at that level and play as hard as they play.

“We have to use that as motivation, and the young guys have to get better.”

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