Written by Griffin Porter
Photo by Marc Lafleur
OTTAWA, Ontario – As the OUA regular season draws closer, the Carleton Ravens Men’s Basketball Team showed themselves to already be in mid-season form Friday night at the Ravens’ Nest, as they kicked off the annual House-Laughton pre-season tournament with a 107-55 victory over the Acadia Axemen. Before tip-off, a moment of silence was held to honour the passing of George House, Ravens Hall of Fame member, former Ravens basketball athlete, and co-founder of the tournament.
It was a strong statement from the Ravens as they look to defend their national championship from last year with a new head coach and new players in the starting lineup. It would be difficult to find a member of the team who didn’t play well in the big win over the visitors from Nova Scotia, as contributions came both from returning stars as well as players looking to establish themselves in the rotation once the regular season begins.
The Ravens were led by strong performances from 5th year guard Yasiin Joseph, as well as 1st year Lloyd Pandi. Joseph had 19 points, including 4 of 5 shooting from three-point range, and also contributed 3 assists and 2 steals. Pandi, meanwhile, used his incredible motor and tenacity to pull down 6 offensive rebounds (8 total) as well as 3 steals. Asked after the game about the big game from Pandi, head coach Taffe Charles said that he was impressed by the strong game from the rookie. “Lloyd did a great job… he’s a warrior out there… we need to bring more of his spirit as a basketball team”. Other big numbers from the Ravens included a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench from 2nd year forward Biniam Grebrekidan, to go along with 13 points from 4th year guard Isiah Osborne.
For Charles, he still wants to see more from his defending champions despite the big win, remarking after the game that “I’d like to see (our starting group) play a bit better. Obviously we made some shots, and our second group played really well”. 2nd year guard Aiden Warnholtz had a strong game for Carleton as part of said 2nd unit, combining his passing and shot making ability with strong defence to make his mark on the win.
The Ravens will look to continue their strong play in the House-Laughton tournament tomorrow night against Bishop’s University. Charles spread the minutes around against Acadia, with only 3 members of the Ravens playing more than 20 minutes on Friday night as the Ravens began a stretch of 3 games in 3 nights as a part of the tournament. Pandi was the only member of the starting unit to play more than half the game, as the Ravens look to ramp up to the regular season, which is only two weeks away.