OTTAWA, Ont. (from Carleton Ravens) – The Ravens entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 19-point lead, but it almost disintegrated in the final moments of a close encounter with the now 12-2 Voyageurs. Laurentian entered the contest with the second-best record in the OUA East and took Carleton to the brink before being edged out 71-67.
Third-year point guard Munis Tutu (Windsor, ON) played 34 big minutes for the Ravens and had the tall task of guarding David Aromolaran, the crafty shooting guard for Laurentian. Tutu held his own, scoring 10 points, hauling in five rebounds, dishing out 10 assists and recording four steals in a double-double performance.
Like the women’s squad before them, the men’s unit got off to a hot start. A short 10-foot baseline jump shot by forward Mitch Jackson (Regina, SK) gave the Ravens a quick 9-2 lead four and a half minutes into the game. A joint five-point push by Aromolaran and Nelson Yengue brought the score to 15-9, but Carleton answered late in the frame and entered the second ahead 21-9 following four consecutive free throws from Jackson.
The Voyageurs’ inability to consistently hit the three-point shot plagued Laurentian over the course of the game, but a three by Aromolaran and a free throw by Theo Thomas brought the team from Sudbury to within 23-15. Third-year guard Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, ON) responded with a long-range strike from three-point territory before darting through the lane for an uncontested layup to help pad the lead. With the first half nearly over, Tutu stole the ball from Joseph Sykes and finished with a soft finger roll in traffic to give Carleton a 38-20 lead at the break.
Kadre Gray, Laurentian’s regular season leading scorer and the second-leading scorer in all of U Sports, entered halftime with just two points to his name. He would not go out quietly. Gray dropped 12 points in the second half to help the Voyageurs forge a comeback. A hook shot by Jackson padded the lead to as large as 55-29 with 3:47 left in the third quarter, but that would be as large as Laurentian’s deficit would grow before the Voyageurs’ final hand was played. The Voyageurs closed the third on a 10-3 run that culminated with a three-pointer by Aromolaran.
A score by committee approach helped Laurentian force a few tense minutes at the Ravens’ Nest down the stretch. Yengue and Thomas took turns shouldering the offensive load, scoring 17 of Laurentian’s first 19 points in the quarter. Points 20, 21 and 23 came courtesy a three-pointer from Gray, to which Gray added a jump shot and a pair of free throws before a layup by Yengue cut the score to just 69-67 with one minute left in the game. The slim margin would be as close as Laurentian would get, however, as a late free throw by fifth-year Cam Smythe (Vancouver, BC) put a 71-67 victory on ice.
Key Game Statistics
Cold from deep: Carleton had difficulty from beyond the arc and shot just 6-of-22 (27.3%) from distance.
Out on the break: The Ravens pressured the Voyageurs’ defence with a fast tempo brand of play that not only forced turnovers but fuelled Carleton’s ability to score in transition. Carleton outscored Laurentian 21-11 on points off turnovers
Held off the boards: The absence of Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) loomed large for the Ravens, who were outrebounded by Laurentian 34-28.
Ravens Player of the Game
#13 Munis Tutu – Guard – 3rd year – Windsor, ON
Carleton vs. Nipissing
Ravens’ Nest – Ottawa, ON
Saturday, January 20, 2018 – 8 pm EST