For three quarters it looked like the impossible was becoming more and more likely. The TRU WolfPack Men’s basketball team was matching the five-time defending champions from the University of Carleton shot for shot. Despite the 200-plus ‘Pack fans in attendance turning the game in Vancouver into a home-court atmosphere for TRU, an upset was not in the cards. Carleton was able to pull away in the fourth quarter, eventually winning the game 91–75.
“I am proud of our effort. I’m just really proud of my club. We don’t have anything to hang our head about, they wore us down and that’s credit to them. I don’t think we caved, I think we tried to battle,” said TRU head coach Scott Clark.
The first quarter started with a bang, as both teams came out shooting the ball extremely well. It was a full team effort from the ‘Pack right from the start, and they had seven players score points in the opening frame.
The ‘Pack hung right with Carleton during the entire first half, trailing by just five points: 38–33 at the halftime break.
Coming out for the second half you could see some shocked faces on the Carleton bench, as the number two seed in the tournament found itself trailing the number seven seed ‘Pack deep into the third quarter.
The spread between the teams remained five points in favour of Carleton heading into the fourth and final frame.
It was in that fourth quarter that the quality and depth of Carleton began to shine. TRU struggled to keep up with the pace and missed some key shots down the stretch. Carleton, a team that has won 11 of the last 13 national championships outscored TRU 26–15 in the fourth.
“They’re a really good team, I would say they’re the best team in the country, but anyone can lose to anyone. Back down from no opponent but respect everyone, that’s what we did today and they came out with the win but I know for sure that we’ve got their respect,” said fifth-year forward Gerard Gore.
Gore was the leading scorer for the ‘Pack with 22 points and was named player of the game for TRU. This continued a string of games in which Gore was able to play his best when it mattered most. He also led TRU with 22 points in the Canada West championship game last week.
“We really wanted to go for the gold today, so I just came out, gave my best and did everything I could for the team. These guys really mean a lot to me, they’re family, so I just came out and gave my best,” Gore said.
The main difference between the teams tonight was rebounding. Carleton had 22 offensive rebounds to the ‘Pack’s 6, allowing the Ravens to control the pace of the game and pour in a lot of second chance points.
Despite the loss, the tournament will continue for TRU. While they can no longer take home the gold, they will play again tomorrow night at 5 p.m., and a win in that game will allow the ‘Pack to fight for fifth place.
“Our goal all year has been to win the next game and that’s what we plan on doing tomorrow,” Gore said. “We’re going to come out and play as hard as we did today.”