The no. 1 ranked Carleton Ravens were slow to get started but ground the no. 2 ranked Gee-Gees to a halt offensively throughout a 81-40 victory at Montpetit Hall on Tuesday night.
Connor Wood led the Ravens with 19 points in three quarters of work while also contributing to a suffocating defence which held Ottawa to a 12-56 shooting performance.
It was an inauspicious start offensively for both teams, as Carleton led by a 4-0 score six minutes into the contest. Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles stretched out for a block and Calvin Epistola drained an open three to get Ottawa on the board for the first time with 3:30 on the clock. The first quarter ended with Carleton ahead 11-4.
“Defensively, I’m happy-ish,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “We didn’t execute the defensive game plan to its fullest, but the guys competed and for the most part it was working.”
On the offensive end was a different story. “We took the first punch and we never recovered. None of what we talked about was executed. It was all adrenaline and no brains. They were glassy eyed tonight because they didn’t know what hit them,” said Derouin, referring to Carleton’s physicality.
The Gee-Gees scoring drought continued into the start of the second quarter, and Ottawa stood at six points with 5:53 on the clock. Meanwhile, Connor Wood and Kaza Kajami-Keane hit threes to stretch lead to 27-9, then 33-12. Wood was feeling it at the end of the first half, hitting two treys and a tough fall back baseline jumper.
Ottawa successfully stopped the Carleton transition game in the first half with strong rebounding. Plunkett and Agada started to respond for Ottawa in the final two minutes, giving the Gee-Gees life heading into the break.
That life was short-lived as the second half started with a Kajami-Keane bucket after Ottawa could not convert an offensive rebound chance and Matt Plunkett’s first two three-point attempts rattled out. The Ravens followed up with a transition bucket, 39-17, then a dunk by Eddie Ekiyor made it 41-17.
Brandon Robinson had the play of the half for Ottawa, bringing the crowd back into the game with a long run to block a Raven attempt off the backboard – Caleb Agada converted it into a layup which was also appreciated by the home crowd.
“Brandon attacked them and made some nice plays out there,” said Derouin. “I was impressed with him – there weren’t a lot of bright spots tonight but he was one.” Robinson finished with a team high 15 points and was the only Gee-Gee to shoot fifty per cent from the field.
Indicative of the evening, on one play late in the third the Gee-Gees forced Carleton into a late shot but Carleton grabbed an o-board and made it count. Later, Carleton’s second-year TJ Lall came into the game midway through the fourth and seemingly sank everything. He finished with 10 points, alongside Kajami-Keane and Marcus Anderson.
The teams will play four games before meeting again at the Capital Hoops Classic at Canadian Tire Centre on February 3.