Written by Andrew Savory, Carleton Sports Information
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, ON – The Ravens gave a packed house at the Ravens’ Nest just what they paid for on Friday night, with the game coming right down to the wire before Carleton pulled ahead late to emerge victorious over Ryerson in a tightly contested 89-80 battle.
Fifth-year forward Cam Smythe (Vancouver, BC) showed no signs of holiday rust and finished with 23 points, including 4-for-6 from three-point range, while also snagging three rebounds and blocking a shot as well in 24 minutes of action.
The last time the Ravens played the Rams was in the U Sports championship in Halifax last March—a game that saw Carleton claim the national title 78-69.
The Ravens got off to a strong start and paved an early 11-3 lead thanks to three consecutive three-pointers by point guard Munis Tutu (Windsor, ON), Smythe and guard Marcus Anderson (Brampton, ON). Carleton’s early run forced Ryerson head coach Roy Rana to call a timeout to halt the Ravens’ momentum. A three by Jean-Victor Mukama cut the lead to 11-10, but Carleton went on an 11-3 run to close the first quarter ahead 22-13.
Mukama added another strike from three-point territory 90 seconds into the second frame before Manny Diressa followed suit a minute later to reduce the score to 24-19. But with early pressure from Ryerson’s offence beginning to mount, Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, ON) answered with eight points of his own in the final 5:47 of the second to help the Ravens wage a 42-33 lead heading into halftime.
After struggling to find his rhythm in the first half, Diressa came alive in the second, which was to be expected. Diressa opened the third with a jump shot eleven seconds in. Filip Vujadinovic piled on a three-pointer to trim the Ravens’ lead back to just four at 42-38. But sophomore forward Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) quickly answered with a confident spinning post-move that saw him finish with a left-handed hook shot in the paint. Diressa checked out momentarily before re-entering and pouring in nine points by the end of the third. Fortunately for the Ravens, as Diressa heated up, Smythe maintained his marksmanship from long-range, hitting a three-pointer in the dying seconds of the quarter to put Carleton up 65-58 entering the fourth.
Two free throws by Mukama brought the Rams to within 68-67 two minutes into the final frame and a three by Diressa 17 seconds later gave Ryerson it’s first lead of the game at 70-68. But as a hush threatened to bring the Ravens’ Nest to a low murmur, the hometown crowd rallied and so too did the Ravens. Carleton responded with a 10-0 run that was capped off by two free throws from Joseph. The Rams got to as close as 78-77 with 2:38 left, but Ekiyor dealt the decisive blows after slamming a two-handed dunk and adding a short jumper in a 30-second span during the game’s dying moments, helping Carleton secure an 89-80 win.
KEY GAME STATS:
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
#21 Cam Smythe – Forward – 5th year – Vancouver, BC
Carleton vs. Toronto
Ravens’ Nest – Ottawa, ON
Saturday, January 6, 2018 – 8 p.m.
Photographs by Valerie Wutti: