HALIFAX (U SPORTS) – The Carleton Ravens utilized their size inside to out-rebound and out-muscle the Calgary Dinos 85-69 on Thursday afternoon in the opening matchup of the 2017 ArcelorMittal Dofasco U SPORTS Final 8.
The defending champion Ravens had four players record at least four rebounds and doubled up Calgary on the glass 48-24. Offensively, three different players scored 16 points, including 2016-17 U SPORTS Player of the Year Connor Wood.
"When it really came down to it in the fourth quarter, I thought our depth did some positive things and I think they worn down a bit on the defensive end," said Carleton head coach Dave Smart. "I think that's a credit to how hard we work throughout to turn it into a 40-minute game."
The Dinos were paced by guard Thomas Cooper, who scored 13 points in the second half and led the team with 17 on the day.
The opening quarter was a back-and-forth battle to start, with the teams exchanging the lead multiple times.
The momentum shifted Carleton's way thanks to their perimeter game. With the Dinos up 6-4, Ravens guard Kaza Kajmi-Keane sunk a trey – the team's first of four in the quarter. The Dinos would battle back thanks to their ability to get to the foul line, but were unable to keep pace from the land beyond, going 0-for-2.
Carleton on the other hand, shot 44.4 percent from three-point range, including two in the final two-and-a-half minutes of play, to take a 26-15 lead into the second quarter. Reserve guard Emmanuel Owootoah led the way for Carleton, with eight points on 2-of-3 shooting from the perimeter.
The Dinos battled back in the second quarter, thanks to their active defence. Despite being undersized, and missing three of their big players, they were able to stay aggressive. Calgary was also able to get decent rhythm going from three, going 2-for-3 to pull the score to as close as eight.
The Ravens however, didn't let Calgary sustain any form of extended momentum. They used their size to outrebound the Dinos 20-6 in the opening half, while shooting 50 percent from the land beyond. Forward Eddie Ekiyor and guard Joe Rocca paced Carleton with four and three boards respectively.
Owootoah continued to lead the way with 14 points, going 4-of-5 from three-point range, including a hook shot from well outside the perimeter to give his team a 41-31 halftime lead.
Calgary was able to battle back into the game in the third quarter, thanks in large part to their play on the defensive glass.
Despite being heavily out-rebounded for the vast majority of the game, the Dinos kept pace in the third quarter, specifically on the defensive end and trailed by just five heading into the fourth.
"I thought we battled in the third very well, we started hitting some shots and getting some things on offence that helped us," said Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren. "And then we ran out of steam part way through the fourth for a bit there and couldn't sustain the energy level that we needed to be on top of that team."
The Ravens responded with Wood, who got his rhythm going from three, netting seven points in the quarter. Carleton would lead by as much as 17, before the Dinos clawed back.
Carleton put the game on ice in the final quarter with a rebounding frenzy. They would pull down 14 boards, compared to just six for the Dinos en route to the 16-point win.
With the victory the Ravens advance to play in the semifinals on Saturday, while Calgary will battle in the consolation semifinal tomorrow.
CAL 26-15-21-23: 85
CAR 15-16-26-12: 69
Points: Connor Wood (16), Kaza Kajami-Keane (16), Emmanuel Owootoah (16)
Rebounds: Cam Smythe (9)
Assists: Kaza Kajama-Keane (9)
Player of the game: Connor Wood
Points: Thomas Cooper (17), Mambi Diawara (15)
Rebounds: Thomas Cooper (6)
Assists: Mambi Diawara (4), Thomas Cooper (4)
Player of the game: Thomas Cooper