Written by Carleton Sports Information
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, ON — Carleton extended its unbeaten run to nine straight games to start the 2016-17 season with a decisive 99-52 thrashing of the Laurentian Voyageurs Saturday at the Ravens’ Nest. The win marked the Ravens’ thirty-second consecutive victory over the Voyageurs in a streak that dates back to January 31, 2003.
For a second game in a row, Carleton received a generous contribution from its bench, as fifth-year senior Joe Rocca (Sarnia, ON) posted a game-high 23 points for his highest scoring output in a Ravens uniform. Fourth-year forward Cam Smythe (Vancouver, BC) also made an impact coming off the pine with a 14-point, 5-rebound effort against the Voyageurs.
It did not take Carleton long to find its groove in the first, as the Ravens went off for a 29-10 opening quarter that left the Voyageurs dejected and trailing by double digits after ten minutes of play. First-year diaper dandy Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) bullied Laurentian inside the paint, as the 6-foot-9 rookie scored six of his 10 points in the frame. Senior guard Connor Wood (Guelph, ON) had an impressive start to the contest as well, with the Ravens co-captain notching nine of 21 points at the outset.
The second quarter was much of the same, as Carleton dominated possession and converted looks at a very efficient rate of 69.4% in the half. Wood continued to terrorize his defenders by knocking down one jumper after another, finishing the second quarter with another nine points for a total of 18 at halftime. Cam Smythe also went to work ahead of the intermission, pouring in eight points in a matter of minutes as Carleton led 58-22 at the break. Defensively, the Ravens made it a priority to limit the effectiveness of Laurentian’s Kadre Gray – the OUA’s leading scorer – who was held scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting in the first half.
Despite trailing by a large deficit, Nipissing managed to put together a respectable third by matching the Ravens basket-for-basket. Laurentian’s Gray along with former Raven-commit Anthony Iacoe each tallied five points, but Joe Rocca began to warm up near the conclusion of the quarter with six straight points for Carleton to end the period.
With a 36-point lead after three and a win in sight, Carleton closed out the divisional matchup with a 23-12 finish in the fourth. Rocca torched the V’s defence with three three-point baskets early in the frame as the Ravens would move their record to 9-0 in conference play.
Following another big scoring burst, Carleton moved its per-game scoring average to 92.4 points a contest, trailing only Calgary – last year’s CIS Final 8 finalist – for the nation’s most prolific offence. For a second game running, the Ravens established a new season-high for field goal efficiency by connecting on 57.1% (40-70 FG) of their attempts against the Voyageurs.
After four consecutive blowout victories, the Ravens will finally meet their match as the U Sports basketball nation turns its attention to a January 17 meeting with the Ottawa Gee-Gees at Montpetit Hall. With both teams remaining undefeated in regular season play, the country’s No.1 ranking will be up for grabs in what should be a scintillating and explosive Battle of Bytown.
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
#31 Joe Rocca – Guard – 5th year – Sarnia, ON
Carleton at uOttawa
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – 8 p.m.
Montpetit Hall – Ottawa, ON
PHOTOGRAPHS BY VALERIE WUTTI: