Ravens News

MBB: 2017-18 Season Review

Written by Andrew Savory, Carleton Sports Information

Photo by Valerie Wutti

Championships don’t come easy. They’re built on a longstanding pedigree of hard-work and countless hours on the court before the season begins and long after it has concluded. Ascribing to this adage is exactly what has helped the Ravens win 13 of the past 16 Canadian university championships.

Early work

Carleton competed in a total of 18 exhibition games in advance of the start of its regular season opener in November.

Their first preseason game was against the Towson University Tigers on Aug. 8. The Tigers, an NCAA-DI opponent, were able to outlast the Ravens 76-64, but the Ravens rebounded to win 16 of their next 17 games prior to the start of the regular season. Carleton faced a bevy of top-tier NCAA-DI competition over the next three months and managed to score big wins against the likes of Alabama, Vanderbilt, Northeastern, and other NCAA heavyweights along the way. Carleton’s final game of the preseason was against the Providence Friars, a frequent participant in the annual March Madness tournament. The Ravens beat the Friars 77-67, thanks largely in part to a big performance from second-year forward Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON), who poured in 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

The win helped punctuate Carleton’s reputation as the class of U Sports basketball, as well as one of a growing number of Canadian universities capable of defeating high-level American competition.

Strong out of the gate

The Ravens’ largest margin of victory during the regular season came in November while on the road. Carleton took on Waterloo on Friday, Nov. 10 and dismantled the Warriors 118-53. Six different Ravens scored in double figures, including three players from the bench. Guard Mitch Wood (Guelph, ON) scored a team-high 16 points in the blowout.

Carleton’s hot start to the season carried into December. But on a frosty night in St. Catharines, the Brock Badgers gave the Ravens their most difficult test. The Badgers held a lead in the game’s final moments, but a jumper by third-year Marcus Anderson (Brampton, ON) tied the game and sent the tilt into overtime. The Ravens managed to pull ahead in the extra frame and defeated Brock 80-75.

New Year, same result

The arrival of the New Year saw the Ravens enter 2018 with an undefeated record. It was only fitting that the first game of January was against a Toronto rival in the Ryerson Rams. Carleton defeated Ryerson in the U Sports championship game in 2017 after losing to the Rams in the Wilson Cup final just a few weeks earlier. Rams star Manny Diressa dropped 26 points on the Ravens, but fifth-year center Cam Smythe (Vancouver, BC) and third-year guard Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, ON) countered with 23 and 22 points, respectively. The Rams made things interesting with a second-half rally, but the Ravens showed their fortitude by closing out the game with an 89-80 win.

The annual Capital Hoops Classic always serves as a great opportunity to showcase the best Ottawa basketball has to offer. 10,000 fans storm the Canadian Tire Centre yearly to watch Carleton Ravens and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees go head-to-head in an inter-city matchup. On the line: municipal bragging rights. The Gee-Gees outscored the Ravens 18-12 in the first quarter, but a 23-point scoring outburst in the second quarter and a defensive showcase that saw Carleton limit Ottawa to just eight points in the final quarter ensured that the Ravens won their second straight Capital Hoops Classic in front of a wild crowd of red, black and white.

The conclusion of a formative season

You had to see it coming. It was only fitting that Carleton began March with a battle against Ryerson for the OUA Wilson Cup trophy. Guard Stanley Mayambo (Fredericton, NB) was huge for the Ravens as he connected on 5-of-9 three-pointers as part of a 17-point scoring performance in support of a decisive 84-58 Ravens victory.

The Ravens soared into the U SPORTS Final 8 tournament in Halifax with a 23-0 undefeated record. They bounced the Acadia Axeman 81-64 in their first game to set up a semifinal match against Ryerson. The Ravens had swept Ryerson in all three games that the two teams had played against one another in 2018, but it would be the Rams that got the last laugh in Halifax. Diressa turned in a performance to remember as he totalled 28 points and six assists to book Ryerson’s ticket to the U SPORTS final where they would ultimately fall to the University of Calgary.

Despite being denied their 14th national title in 16 years, the Ravens showed their ability to overcome defeat and rebounded to beat McGill 76-71 to earn a bronze medal finish at the U SPORTS national tournament.

It was a season to remember for Carleton. Several players had graduated heading into the 2017-18 campaign, but the Ravens turned in a character and team-building season that reflected the ideals that help Carleton’s basketball program endure the perpetual shuffle of graduating and incoming players.