HALIFAX (U SPORTS) – The Carleton Ravens' vaunted defence made their presence felt yet again on Saturday afternoon in a 74-58 victory over the McGill Redmen in the first of two semifinals of the 2017 ArcelorMittal Dofasco U SPORTS Men's Final 8.
The Ravens recorded six steals while holding McGill to just 37.5 per cent from the field. Offensively, U SPORTS Player of the Year Connor Wood led the way again, with 20 points, including four treys. Guard Jenning Leung led the way with 13 points for McGill.
"We, for whatever reason, upped the intensity defensively," said Ravens head coach Dave Smart. "Sometimes it helps when they're a little bit into their bench and you up the intensity defensively and all of a sudden we get some stops, we got a couple turnovers and then we get out in transition."
The Redmen kept pace with Carleton early, on the strength of Leung's perimeter shooting. He went 2-for-3 from three-point range as McGill went up 10-9 just over halfway through the first quarter.
The Ravens battled back though, getting seven combined points from guard Emmanuel Owootoah and forward Cam Smythe off the bench, and led 18-13 after one.
Wood stepped up in the second quarter for Carleton, recording eight points while going 3-of-4 from the field. The Ravens also got to the line eight times and were in the bonus with over two minutes left to play, partially due to inside play from dynamic rookie Eddie Ekiyor. They entered halftime up 43-26.
McGill had trouble penetrating inside against a long Ravens team, but they did keep pace on the boards, getting two rebounds from guard Dele Ogundokun – who also added four points in the second quarter.
The Redmen found a rhythm from the perimeter in the third quarter, sinking four treys to cut the Ravens lead to as little as eight. Carleton continued to battle inside however, with guard Kaza Kajami-Keane adding five points as the Ravens led 60-47 entering the fourth.
Carleton used their depth in the fourth quarter, tightening up defensively while also winning the battle on the boards 14-8. Wood netted two more clutch treys, including a momentum shifting three-pointer with six minutes left that gave the Ravens a 14-point lead. Redmen forward Michael Peterkin provided energy inside, but it wasn't enough to top a dominant Ravens defence.
"We're disappointed in the loss, but when you're building a program, you're building small steps...," McGill head coach David DeAveiro said post-game.
"It was important for us to go out in the second half and compete and try and make it a game and I thought we did that. We had it down to 10 or maybe nine at one time, but you can't make mistakes - you give a couple offensive boards, then they throw it out and take threes."
With the win, Carleton now advances to the gold medal game tomorrow at 2 p.m. AT, with a chance at defending their national title. McGill will face the loser of Ryerson and Dalhousie for the bronze medal at 11:30 a.m. AT.
CAR: 18-25-17-14: 74
MCG: 13-13-21-11: 58
Points: Connor Wood (20), Kaza Kajami-Keane (16)
Rebounds: Eddie Ekiyor (6)
Assists: Kaza Kajami-Keane (7)
Player of the game: Connor Wood
Points: Jenning Leung (13), Michael Peterkin (11)
Rebounds: Dele Ogundokun (7)
Assists: Dele Ogundokun (5)
Player of the game: Dele Ogundokum
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times AT)
Thursday, March 9
12:00 p.m. Quarter-final 1: No.2 Carleton 85 vs. No.7 Calgary 69 (TV1 webcast)
2 p.m. Quarter-final 2: No.3 McGill 63 vs. No.6 Manitoba 53 (TV1 webcast)
6 p.m. Quarter-final 3: No.1 Ryerson 79 vs. No.8 Saint Mary's 70 (TV1 webcast)
8 p.m. Quarter-final 4: No.4 Alberta 65 vs. No.5 Dalhousie 67 (TV1 webcast)
Saturday, March 11
1 p.m. Semifinal 1: Carleton 74 vs. McGill 58 (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)
3:30 p.m. Semifinal 2: Ryerson vs. Dalhousie (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)
8 p.m. 5th-place game: Calgary vs. Saint Mary's (TV1 webcast)