Written by Alex Kurial
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – Carleton won a feisty 80-63 affair against the Queen’s Gaels in Saturday night’s quarterfinal matchup, backed by standout games from guards Isiah Osborne and Yasiin Joseph.
A Marcus Anderson deep ball signaled the first points of the game, followed by eight straight team points from Yasiin Joseph and forward Eddie Ekiyor to see Carleton jump out to a 13-4 lead midway through the first. The pair would combine for 14 of Carleton’s 21 1st quarter points, while an Isiah Osborne dunk in the final minute left a thunderous mark on a solid opening 10 minutes.
Osborne started to take over in the 2nd, nailing back to back threes to start things off. After a Troy Reid-Knight deep ball, Osborne pulled off a nifty reverse spinning layup to put his team up 32-16. When Queen’s started to gain some momentum after an 8-2 run, Ekiyor got his side back on track with a two handed dunk. The Ottawa native hit another jumper before Reid-Knight again connected from downtown just before halftime to put Carleton up 41-28 at the break.
The Gaels came quick out of the restart to cut the lead to single digits, but five straight points from Joseph and a Munis Tutu three sent the Ravens lead back to double digits at 17. Ekiyor showed his control of the paint by ripping a rebound away from a Queen’s opponent and laying in the offensive board to maintain the advantage. The lead ballooned before the frame was out after an Osborne layup and Joseph three ball closed out the third with the Ravens up 63-43.
Osborne was determined to put the game away early in the 4th, grabbing an offensive rebound and sticking back a score in the opening minute to lift Carleton to a 65-44 lead. Things turned ugly soon after however when tempers flared under the basket after a bucket by Queen’s Tanner Graham. Carleton’s TJ Lall and Queen’s Harry Range were each ejected after the altercation turned physical.
The incident had little effect on the score however, as the Ravens maintained their sizeable advantage. Osborne hit his third three of the game to set Carleton up 71-49. He would add a final basket to finish with a game high 25 points on a scorching 11 of 14 field goal shooting. Yasiin Joseph hit the 20 point mark as well, while adding 11 rebounds for a double double.
After the game Osborne talked about the mindset that saw him hitting shots from all areas of the floor. “Come out and be confident in my shot, keep shooting the ball, and try my hardest,” said Osborne of how he approaches each game.
Despite the 17 point victory Eddie Ekiyor had strong words for the defense. Carleton had defeated Queen’s by 30 and 20 points in their regular season matchups, making this their closest matchup of the campaign.
“We made a lot of defensive mistakes, we have to stick to our fundamentals,” said Ekiyor. “That second half was brutal. We have to clean up and step up.”
Ekiyor also cautioned that his team will have to keep composure as games get more intense heading deeper into the playoffs.
“That’s basketball. Things are going to get heated, people are going to compete,” Ekiyor said of the 4th quarter incident. “We just have to keep our head, and can’t risk losing players like that.”
Carleton will now host the Brock Badgers on Wednesday night. Their lone meeting of the regular season was a runaway 86-46 win for the Ravens. However the Badgers have since placed 2nd in the OUA West, and have rattled off back to back playoff wins while averaging 88 points per game. Osborne knows his side cannot take their opponent lightly.
“Have to prepare for their intensity that they’re going to come out with,” said Osborne. “They have a lot of 5th years, and this could be their last game if they lose. So we have to be ready for that.”
Ravens Player of the Game: Isiah Osborne – Guard – 3rd Year