Written by Andrew Savory, Carleton Sports Information
Photo by Trevor MacMillan
HALIFAX, NS – The Ravens solidified an impressive year that saw them achieve an undefeated regular season, claim an OUA championship, and as of Sunday afternoon, earn a bronze medal at the U Sports Final 8 tournament following a 76-71 victory over the McGill Redmen.
Second-year forward Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) was integral for the Ravens on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Ekiyor scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-15 (53.3%) from the field, hauled in eight rebounds and handed out three assists.
McGill entered the game unwilling to back down to the challenge of facing the Ravens, who had arrived in Halifax as the No. 1 seed in the country. Carleton broke out to a fast 9-0 lead thanks to Ekiyor’s gritty effort in the post. The big man asserted himself early and scored two hook shots to fuel the Ravens’ momentum. McGill wasn’t phased, however, as the Redmen went on a 9-3 run to end the first quarter behind only 12-9.
McGill’s run didn’t end there. The Redmen’s offence caught fire in the second quarter and outscored Carleton 25-12 to enter halftime leading 34-24. After going scoreless in the first frame, Alex Paquin went shot 4-for-5 to score 9 points in support of the Redmen’s lead. Guard Stanley Mayambo (Fredericton, NB) hit a three-pointer with seven seconds left in the half to ensure that Carleton entered halftime trailing by no more than 10 points.
The Ravens came out of the break determined to stage a rally. Third-year Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, ON) hit two three-pointers to pull Carleton to within four points of McGill four minutes into the third, but the Redmen were able to restore the 10-point lead moments later, forcing the Ravens to take a timeout. Carleton stuck to fundamentals and began to pound the ball inside, leading to free throws for fourth-year Mitch Wood (Guelph, ON) and Ekiyor. Paquin split a pair of free throws at the end of the quarter to keep the Redmen ahead 52-48 heading into the fourth.
Carleton continued to inch closer towards regaining the lead. Both teams traded baskets throughout the quarter’s early moments as the Ravens scraped closer to tying the game. Forward TJ Lall (Cambridge, ON) was essential towards completing the comeback. A three-pointer by Lall brought Carleton to within one-point three and a half minutes into the quarter. Third-year Marcus Anderson (Brampton, ON) hit a three of his own two minutes later to put Carleton ahead 66-64. The Redmen tried to recapture the lead, but the Ravens were able to outlast the opposition and earn a bronze medal for a determined effort that saw them defeat McGill 76-71.
KEY GAME STATS:
· Secondary scoring: Carleton’s bench outscored McGill’s reserves 24-9 (+15) and provided a crucial boost to the starting five in what proved to be a 10-point comeback win.
· Marksmanship: The Ravens shot an efficient 8-of-17 (47.1%) from three-point distance, while the Redmen shot just 5-of-32 (15.6%) in comparison.
· Costly turnovers: The Ravens committed 22 turnovers, which McGill turned into 24 points.
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
#42 Eddie Ekiyor – Forward – 2nd Year – Ottawa, ON
PHOTOGRAPHS BY TREVOR MACMILLAN: