OTTAWA, ON — The Carleton Ravens men's basketball team kicked off the 2017 OUA postseason with an 89-50 quarterfinal win over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday night.
After amassing a perfect 19-0 record throughout the regular season, the Ravens kept their streak alive, winning their 20th game in a row against the OUA No.9-seed Marauders.
Kaza Kajami-Keane (Ajax, ON) was the player of the game for the Ravens, dropping 16 points and nine assists in the Ravens' first playoff win.
The Ravens started the contest on a 7-0 run, with Kajami-Keane and Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) running the pick-and-roll with great success against McMaster's defence. The Marauders ended the run with a layup by Elliot Ormond on the other end, but the Ravens took control of the game early on behind the strong post play of Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) and Ejim, and they ended the first up 19-11. No Raven scored more than four points in the opening quarter, highlighting their balanced attack to begin the game.
Rohan Boney of the Marauders opened up the second with his first points of the game, but the Ravens proceeded to go on an 8-0 run to continue widening the gap. Kajami-Keane scored 11 points and dished four assists in the second quarter, controlling the game with his unparalleled ability to get to the rim. The Ravens ended the first half with a Connor Wood (Guelph, ON) triple, his second of the game, and they went into the break up 42-26. The Marauders surprisingly outrebounded the Ravens in the half 17-15, but their poor shooting paved the way for a rough night.
The Marauders showed some life to begin the third, exchanging baskets with the Ravens and cutting into the lead a few points, but the Ravens responded the way they have all season long. Carleton started a 20-2 run around the six-minute mark, and by the end of the third quarter, the game was firmly out of reach for the Marauders, with the Ravens leading 69-36. The run included the highlight play of the game, a thunderous putback dunk by Ekiyor at the 3:45 mark off of a Emmanuel Owootoah (Rexdale, ON) miss.
In classic Ravens fashion, they did not let up in the fourth despite their lead, going on another 8-0 run to begin the quarter. Dave Smart had five bench players in by the halfway mark of the final quarter, but the Raven still outscored the Marauders 20-14, led by their exciting backup point guard. Owootoah scored all seven of his points in the fourth, before fouling out with around two minutes left. The Ravens closed out the game with a couple blocks by Cameron Smythe (Vancouver, BC) and Mitch Jackson (Regina, SK) on the final possession, and they walked away with their first playoff win of the year.
The Ravens starters combined to shoot 23-for-34 (67.6%) from the field, getting whatever they wanted against a McMaster defence in over its head. Kajami-Keane shot 6-for-9 from the field for 16 points, while teammate Connor Wood ended with a game-high 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-5 from deep. Joe Rocca (Sarnia, ON) led the Ravens bench in scoring once again, posting 12 points and seven rebounds, along with three steals on the defensive end. Ekiyor and Ejim were the last two Ravens to score in double figures, finishing the game with 10 each. The Ravens accrued 12 steals during the game compared to just 11 turnovers, showing their dominance on both sides of the ball.
The Marauders were unable to get anything going against the Ravens' nation-best defence, shooting just 27.8% from the field and 3-for-24 (12.5%) from deep. Guard David McColloch led his team with 16 points, but struggled from the floor, shooting just 4-for-14 and 1-for-8 from three. McMaster's leading scorer Connor Gilmore, who averaged over 19 points per game this season, was held to just six points on 1-for-9 shooting in the loss. After the leading trio of Rohan Petra, McColloch and Gilmore combined for 51 points in the Marauder's first playoff game against Laurier, they managed just 26 against the Ravens' stingy defence.
Source: Carleton Ravens