Written by Sam Lee, Sports Information Assistant
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, ON — The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team clinched their perfect season on Saturday night, defeating the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 100-36 at the Ravens’ Nest for their 19th straight win. Their 64-point margin of victory matched their highest of the season, which they reached a week ago against the York Lions.
Connor Wood (Guelph, ON) led the team with 19 points in just 22 minutes of action, hitting four triples in the opening quarter to pave the way to their sixth 100-point effort of the season.
Reilly Reid of the Varsity Blues opened up the game with two quick points on their first possession. The Ravens were unable to score their first points until the 7:42 mark of the opening quarter, when Connor Wood hit his first triple of the night to give the Ravens their first lead. Wood proceeded to hit another triple on Carleton’s next possession, and it was all Ravens from that point on. Wood hit another two threes before the quarter expired, and the Ravens were up 23-7 going into the second.
The Ravens continued their offensive onslaught into the second, going on a 16-3 run early in the second to further their lead. Devin Johnson of the Varsity Blues hit triples on back-to-back possessions to stop the bleeding a little bit, but the Ravens just kept coming. Connor Wood finished the first half with 16 points, and Kaza Kajami-Keane (Ajax, ON) added seven in the second quarter to give the Ravens a comfortable 51-23 lead by half. The Ravens shot nearly 60% from the field in the opening half, moving the ball to get wide open looks for their shooters.
The Ravens came out hard on the defensive end in the third, not allowing a single field goal for U of T. They held the Varsity Blues to just four points in the quarter, all off of free throws, while they scored 27 on the other end. Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) scored six points in the quarter, while teammate Stanley Mayambo (Fredericton, NB) ended the third with back-to-back triples for the Ravens, putting them up 78-27 and giving them a hefty 51-point lead.
Ravens’ head coach Dave Smart played his bench for the entirety of the final quarter, but the Varsity Blues still had no luck on the offensive end, again being held to single figures with just nine points. Emmanuel Owootoah (Rexdale, ON) used this time to rack up some assists, finishing with 10 in the game. Joe Rocca (Sarnia, ON) hit a triple on the Ravens’ final possession to put them right at 100 points on the night.
In a match loaded with impressive Ravens’ statlines, Connor Wood hit five triples en route to his game-high 19 points, adding five assists for good measure. Mayambo hit five triples off the bench for 15 points, one for every minute he played in the game. Rocca and Ejim both contributed 12 points and five rebounds, and Kajami-Keane ended with 11 points and seven assists. Last but certainly not least, Owootoah almost had a double-double with nine points and a game-high 10 assists as the Ravens’ backup point guard.
The Ravens hit 19 of their 36 three-point attempts (52.8%) during the game, scorching the Varsity Blues with their their red-hot shooting. With 29 assists to just 12 turnovers, the Ravens closed out the 2016-17 OUA regular season with a magnificent performance on the offensive end.
The Varsity Blues’ leading scorer, Devin Johnson, was held to just eight points on 2-for-14 shooting on the night, far off from his season average of over 21 points per game. Fellow starter Reilly Reid also scored eight on the night, the two leading their team in scoring despite their off-nights.
With the win, the Ravens clinched the No.1 seed in the OUA playoffs and accomplished their first undefeated campaign since the 2013-14 season. The Ravens will play their first game of the 2017 playoffs next Saturday, where they will welcome the winner of the 8 v. 9 preliminary round game between two traditional OUA heavyweights, Windsor and McMaster, to be played on Wednesday, February 22.
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
#10 Connor Wood – Guard – 5th year – Guelph, ON
OUA Playoffs – Quarterfinal
Carleton vs. Winner of #8 Windsor/#9 McMaster
Saturday, February 25, 2017 – 8 p.m.
Ravens’ Nest – Ottawa, ON
PHOTOGRAPHS BY VALERIE WUTTI: