By: Jackson Starr (Photos: Valerie Wutti / Blitzen Photography)
OTTAWA - The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team defeated the Nipissing Lakers 91-61 on Saturday night, winning its fifth straight game. Carleton got a strong performance from bench players to help facilitate the victory.
The Ravens jumped out to a quick lead going up 8-0 in the early goings. Carleton was assertive in the paint getting buckets below the basket to build a lead. The Lakers did a good job responding to the adversity and trying to cut the Carleton lead. The Ravens, though, responded by playing good shutdown defence. Carleton held a 21-9 lead after one-quarter of play.
Carleton was assertive on offence in the second, adding on to its lead. MJ Okado (Calgary, Alb.) had a huge second quarter, capping off a 12-point first half with a terrific sequence, blocking a layup and going back the other way to make a three-pointer. Okado finished the game with a season-high 22 points on the night. The Ravens were also effective at drawing fouls and getting to the line, which it did eight times as a team in the first half. With that, Carleton held a 54-27 lead at halftime.
The Ravens rode their lead out in the third and continued scoring in the second half. Carleton got some good bench support from Gebrael Samaha (Khenchara, LB) on both sides of the floor; he finished with eight total points on the night. The Lakers tried all they could to create offence, but the Ravens' defence shut things down in the third and the score was 77-46 Ravens heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Carleton did a continuously strong job at closing gaps defensively and contesting Nippising’s shots. That was also largely carried out by the bench players on the Ravens with the starters resting later in the game. Players like Emmanuel Milon (Ottawa, Ont.) got into the game late and picked up points. Milon picked up four in the late stages, giving fans a glimpse of the future for the Ravens. Carleton was able to close things out and take a 91-61 victory.
The win is Carleton's 16th on the season, fifth in a row, and improves its record to 16-4 on the year. The Ravens will look to keep things rolling while welcoming the uOttawa Gee-Gees into the Ravens’ Nest on Wednesday night. It will be the second Bytown Battle of the season after Capital Hoops and is set to be a big one with both teams fighting at the top of the OUA East division.
FROM HEAD COACH TAFFE CHARLES:
“We took care of business tonight, which we (had to do), but we’ve got another tough weekend ahead of us. We’ve got to figure out how to get a result on Wednesday. We want to put ourselves in the right position for the playoffs and that’s a big game.”
ON MJ OKADO:
“He’s a young kid, a first-year kid. You just want to see him use his athleticism. He struggles using his athleticism and you saw what happens when he uses his athleticism. He is probably in the top one percent of athleticism in Canada no question…He’s shown flashes of it and you saw it tonight he had a little confidence tonight which was great.”
ON EMMANUEL MILON:
“Another guy who’s a really good athlete. First-year kid, just working out how to be a better basketball player, it takes a lot of time…the future is bright with him as well.”
THE GOAL FOR UOTTAWA GAME ON WEDNESDAY:
“Win. Win at all costs. It's about getting a result. These games are always important with uOttawa, but this one has massive importance in terms of our goal which is to win a national championship.”
FROM MJ OKADO:
“I just fed off of my shot. Getting to the rim, and creating fouls is what really worked today… just keeping it simple offensively and working on defence.”
ON CONSISTENT PLAYING TIME:
“It feels good being able to showcase my talent. It's only up from here. Just keep getting better and better in the gym, keep practicing.”
ON BIG SEQUENCE IN SECOND QUARTER:
“It was great. Getting the block, hitting the three right after to get the guys going, especially on defence to get that energy, it was a great feeling.”
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:
“Getting better on defence. Defensive communication plays a big part, we still need to work on communication, trusting the help rotations are all going to be there.”