OTTAWA (from Carleton Ravens) – The Ravens were tested by the Gee-Gees early and often at the Canadian Tire Centre, but were able to wear Ottawa down before pulling ahead late to earn a 67-56 win and improve to 18-0.
Second-year forward Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa) was an efficient contributor off the bench, pouring in 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field to go along with 10 rebounds, a block and two steals in 27 minutes of action.
“We just wanted to stick to fundamentals, both offensively and defensively. We practice that every day and it was just a matter of translating it into the game tonight. I’m glad we pulled out the win,” said third-year guard Munis Tutu (Windsor, Ont.).
Thousands of fans on hand at the Canadian Tire Centre were treated to high-octane action to begin the second leg of the Capital Hoops Classic. The Gee-Gees were able to dictate play early courtesy a barrage of 3-pointers. Ottawa shot 5-of-7 from distance in the first 10 minutes as Brandon Robinson dropped a quick eight points, including two 3s. A lay-in by Ekiyor kept the Ravens close early at 14-12, but Ottawa closed out the quarter up 18-12 following a late free throw from Chase Tynes.
The Ravens began to chip away at Ottawa’s lead early in the second quarter behind the gritty play of fourth-year forward Mitch Jackson (Regina), who scored Carleton’s first four points of the frame with a nice hook shot on the inside and a pair of free throws a minute later. Jackson’s energetic play sparked the Ravens as guard Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa) nailed a 3-pointer to swing the lead in Carleton’s favour at 23-22 with 6:42 left in the second. Both teams traded baskets momentarily before Carleton went to work on the inside and took advantage of Ottawa’s lack of a presence in the post. Ekiyor, Joseph and fifth-year centre Cam Smythe (Vancouver) showed off their full arsenal throughout the latter half of the second with an array of drives that opened up space for easy scores in the paint. The Ravens outscored the Gee-Gees 23-12 in the second, including a buzzer beating pull-up from Tutu that closed out the half 35-30.
The game intensified in the third quarter as Carleton tried to break away, while Ottawa resisted the Ravens’ best attempts to push the lead to double digits. A 3 by Tutu brought the lead to 42-32, but the Gee-Gees edged back following yet another 3 from Robinson. Ottawa wasn’t done yet as Calvin Epistola picked off a pass by Joseph and took it all the way himself to trim the lead to two before Gage Sabean hit a 3 in transition to give Ottawa a 48-47 lead with 1:49 left in the third quarter. Fourth-year guard Mitch Wood (Guelph) rallied for the Ravens by calmly hitting two consecutive jump shots to bolster a 51-48 Ravens lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Carleton entered the final frame clinging to a narrow lead. Joseph took matters into his own hands early, scoring six of Carleton’s first seven points in the fourth to cushion a seven-point margin. Third-year guard Stanley Mayambo (Fredericton, N.B.) added to the lead with a timely three with 4:40 left to play. Ekiyor followed suit by bruising his way into the lane for another two points. Ultimately, it was the Ravens’ defence that sealed the Gee-Gees’ fate in front of a crowd of 8,579 roaring fans. Carleton outscored Ottawa 16-8 in the fourth to put its stamp on a 67-56 victory.
“The atmosphere was great. I love these kinds of big games where everyone in Ottawa can come out and enjoy some good basketball. It was good for the city,” Tutu said.
Key game stats
Board battle: The Ravens and Gee-Gees engaged in a gritty seesaw affair that played host to a tough battle on the boards. Carleton outrebounded Ottawa 43-33.
Bench contributions: Head coach Dave Smart’s second unit outscored the Gee-Gees’ bench 30-19 to provide a valuable boost to the starters.
Cold from the line: Carleton attempted just 13 free throws and made only 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from the free-throw line.
Ravens Player of the Game
No. 42 Eddie Ekiyor – forward – second year – Ottawa