OTTAWA, ON — With a crowd of 10,030 on hand at the Canadian Tire Center on Friday evening, the Carleton Ravens men's basketball team defeated the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, 74-61, to win the 11th annual Capital Hoops Classic.
After losing last year's Classic, 78-72, Kaza Kajami-Keane (Ajax, ON) of the Ravens stepped up big with 17 points and five rebounds to lead the team to the victory, their 15th of the year.
The game was much closer than the first matchup between the Ravens and Gee-Gees on January 17, starting out with a couple lead changes in the first five minutes – already more than their previous meeting. Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) scored the first two buckets for the Ravens, starting the game well with a couple easy jumpers. A triple by Gage Sabean of the Gee-Gees with just 45 seconds remaining put the Gee-Gees up by one, but Kajami-Keane hit a nice pullup shot to end the quarter, and the Ravens led 14-13 at the end of the first. Kajami-Keane scored eight of the Ravens' 14 points in the opening quarter, seemingly getting to the rim at will.
The second quarter was even closer than the first, with the Gee-Gees answering every bucket the Ravens made on the other end. The game went back and forth before the half, with nine lead changes in just the first two quarters. Mitchell Wood (Guelph, ON) of the Ravens scored the last seven points of the half for the Ravens, including a triple to put the Ravens back up two, and they went into halftime with a slim 31-29 lead. The Ravens outrebounded the Gee-Gees 25-14 in the half, but the Gee-Gees were still in the game thanks to their success at the free throw line (5-for-7) and their six triples in the half.
The third was when the Ravens were finally able to increase their lead, going on a 9-2 run to start the second half. Four minutes into the quarter, a shot clock malfunction forced the game to stop for nearly fifteen minutes. When the game resumed, the Gee-Gees struggled to find their rhythm and Ravens grew the lead slowly, going up 54-38 by the end of the third.
The Gee-Gees tried to make it a game, coming out in the fourth with an 8-0 run after a couple Ravens baskets, but Carleton used the winding clock to their advantage, and slowed the pace of the game. Kajami-Keane hit a triple with just over a minute remaining in the game, putting the Ravens up 72-56, the "dagger" of the game, so to speak. The Ravens slowly rode out the rest of the clock, and they ended the game up by 13, regaining the Capital Hoops title from the Gee-Gees.
Apart from Kajami-Keane's big game, the Ravens also saw big contributions from Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) and both of the Wood brothers. Ejim finished with a team high 11 rebounds to go with his nine points, playing great defence against the Gee-Gees as well. Connor Wood (Guelph, ON) added 12 points and five rebounds, while his brother Mitch dropped 11 points and grabbed seven boards.
The Gee-Gees were led by Brandon Robinson, who scored a team-high 17 points with four three-pointers in the loss. Caleb Agada, the Gee-Gees' star player, once again had a poor shooting night against the Ravens, finishing with just eight points on 2-of-13 shooting from the field. The Gee-Gees shot just 11-of-41 (26.8%) from deep on the night, unable to connect on the shots they usually do. The winning result put the Ravens' Capital Hoops record at 9-2.
The still-undefeated Ravens will travel to Kingston and Toronto next weekend to face the Queen's University Gaels on February 10 and the York University Lions on January 11, their last two road games of the 2016-17 OUA season