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Second half slump sinks Ottawa at Capital Hoops

Saturday February 4, 2017
Joueur de basketball avec le ballon surveillé par un joueur de Carleton.
Greg Mason

For portions of the 2017 Capital Hoops Classic, the Gee-Gees men’s basketball team looked poised to recover from its first meeting with the Carleton Ravens with a victory. In the end, a third quarter slump by the Garnet and Grey let them down and ultimately led to a 74-61 victory for the Ravens.

In front of 10,030 fans at Canadian Tire Centre, the teams played another chess match of a basketball game which stood largely deadlocked for much of the highly entertaining opening 20 minutes. A Mitchell Wood three-pointer put Carleton in front by a 31-29 margin at half time, countering a 10-point performance in the quarter by Ottawa’s Brandon Robinson.

Robinson led Ottawa with 17 points overall, alongside two rebounds and a steal. He took up the charge from Calvin Epistola and Brody Maracle who had energized the Ottawa squad in the first quarter.

The Gee-Gees attempted a regular season high 41 three-pointers, many of them open looks, but saw just eleven fall – four were from the hands of Robinson.

“When you coach a game and get the looks that you want and you don’t hit them… I’ll live with Matt Plunkett shooting open threes,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.

“The defence makes no difference when we missed wide open shots. That’s us,” added Robinson, who despite standing out with his strong performance was 6-14 from the field. He was also 1-6 from the free throw line, another area where Ottawa as a whole struggled.

 “I think there was a flatness in the third. We missed two good looks early, missed some free throws,” said Derouin. “When we missed shots our energy dropped in the second half. We gotta fix that going forward – we still have to defend whether we make shots or not.”

Of note, Ottawa’s slump in the third quarter coincided with fifth-year Caleb Agada taking a seat on the bench with four fouls – two of them came in the opening three minutes of the third.

 “I thought we had some great looks tonight and against Carleton if you get those looks you have to make them,” emphasized Derouin. Ottawa shot 29 per cent from the floor in the game, while the Ravens finished at 50 per cent after a 64 per cent performance in the second half.

Carleton was led on the score sheet by Kaza Kajami-Keane’s 17 points which included a dagger three-pointer from the top as Ottawa was showing signs of life again late in the fourth. Ryan Ejim grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds as part of Carleton’s 48-29 advantage on the glass.

Two weeks of regular season action remain before the OUA conference playoffs begin on February 22.