Ottawa, Ont. – (BasketballBuzz) – Taking the floor at the newly minted Canadian Tire Centre for the first time since winning a record ninth CIS Men’s Basketball National Championship, the Carleton Ravens came up just short against one of the giants of NCAA College Basketball.
Trailing for the entire game the Syracuse Orange (ACC) fought back from a 15-point second half deficit to tie the game, force overtime and eventually walk away with a 69-65 March Madness like, overtime victory over the Carleton Ravens.
Sophomore Jerami Grant (Hyattsville, Md). shook off a slow opening half to score six of the Orange’s 10 overtime points and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Canadian freshmen sensation Tyler Ennis (Brampton, Ont.) in only his third game in a Orange uniform put up 15 points, dished out four assists and added a game-high five steals.
Clinton Springer-Williams (12 points, 4/8 shooting, 2/5 threes) set the tone for the Ravens as they jumped out to a 7-0 run and pushed ahead 15-6 only to see Syracuse settle down and respond with 12-5 run to pull within 20-18.
Tyson Hinz found himself free in the middle of the paint and score six straights points for Carleton to restore a 10 point cushion and forced head coach Jim Boehiem to call a timeout to refocus his troops.
The Ravens assaulted the more athletic Syracuse team on the boards by holding 28-15 rebounding advantage at the break and moved the ball extremely well against the 2-3 zone, specially in the first 10 minutes to take a 32-22 half-time lead against last years NCAA finalists.
Both teams had a hard time putting the ball in the net in the opening 20 minutes with Carleton shooting 9-for-32, 28% and 4-of-19 from three’s, while Syracuse also shot 28% on 7-of-25 shots.
The Ravens came out of the locker room fired up to take 38-29 in the opening minutes of the second half and found themselves holding their largest lead (15) of the game at 44-29 when Thomas Scrubb (7 points, 9 rebounds, 6 turnovers) and Connor Wood connected on back-back three-pointers.
Syracuse responded with a game changing 14-0 by limiting the Ravens second chances forcing turnovers and rushed shots to pull within one point at 44-43. The Orange later tied the game at 54-54 and took their first lead with 3:54 left in the game.
“They are physical, tough defensive team, as tough as anybody, defensively and there ball movement is a as good against our defense is as good as anybody.” added Syracuse Orange Head Coach.
“When you are down 15 against a good team on their home court, I think at that point of the game you’re almost thinking are you going to get beat by 20? I though we really dug it down and did a great job defensively and pulled off a pretty good damn comeback.”
Carleton Ravens 6’7, 220 lbs, senior forward Tyson Hinz (Ottawa, Ont.) racked-up his third straight double-double against a NCAA team with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, six of them on the offensive glass. Philip Scrubb coming off a career-night against the Wisconsin Badgers struggled from the outside, going 2-13 but hit some much needed shots late to keep Carleton in the game.
The highly anticipated match-up featured two of Canada’s brightest point guard as Syracuse Freshmen Tyler Ennis went head to head with the Ravens Philip Scrubb, a last minute cut by Jay Triano and the Senior Men’s National Team.
“He’s good, he’s always under control, he makes big shots, hes one of the best players on that team” said Ennis after the game.
Ennis is highly expected to join Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team next year and Scrubb should also be in the mix given he was the only Canadian University player invited to be training camp.
Syracuse will look to close its Canadian tour with a perfect 4-0 record when it meets the Ottawa Gee-Gees at Montpetit Hall. The Gee-Gees (1-1) are coming off a tough 101-92 lose to the Wisconsin Badgers.
Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim became the third head coach to pick-up a technical foul during the Ravens four game NCAA exhibition schedule. TCU Horned Frogs head coach Trent Johnson was tossed after picking two T’s and Wisconsin Badgers coach Bo Ryan also showcased his displeasure with Carleton’s physicality and perhaps a little home cooking by the refs.
Montreal’s Bennedict Mathurin commits to Arizona Wildcats
The Arizona Wildcats got a big time commitment from Bennedict Mathurin — Canada’s top guard in the class of 2020.
The 17-year old Mathurin opted to reclassify from the 2021 class — fast tracking his potential NBA eligibility in the process. Standing at 6’6″, 195 pounds, the Montreal native has all the attributes to make an immediate impact at the NCAA division I basketball level — with a NBA ceiling written all-over his resume.
Perhaps not a household commodity, due to his lack of participation in any Canadian FIBA youth sanctioned events — Mathurin was named MVP of the 2019 Canadian National Basketball U17 Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
The Canadian guard/forward led a loaded Quebec team to a perfect 5-0 record — claiming the province’s first U17 title since 2010. Mathurin dominated the entire tournament, including a electric, eye-popping 33 point, 7 assist, 6 rebound performance in the opening game against Team Ontario.
In the championship game against same Ontario squad, Mathurin was equally impressive — scoring 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in the 84-77 victory.
Mathurin is currently showcasing and strutting his growing all-around game in Mexico City as part of NBA Academy Latin America — an elite basketball training center for top male and female prospects across the Caribbean Central and South America.
The Canadian prospect kicked off 2020 and new decade in style with a 30-point, 6 rebounds outburst in a 93-74 win over FC Barcelona U18 team at the Hospitalet tournament.
A lockdown defender with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander like wingspan, Mathurin has the ability to get from the three-point line to the rim with just one dribble. At 6”6′ he’s also able to see over much smaller defenders and is a willing and effective passer that looks to attack at rim can finish with through contact.
Part of the continuous and overflowing rising crop of future NBA talent from Canada’s second largest city — Mathurin may just be the top guard to come out of Montreal since current Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort pledged allegiance to the desert State of Arizona.
Holding multiple offers from the likes of NCAA basketball programs as Virginia, Alabama, Washington State and Nebraska — Mathurin narrowed his decision to the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks.
“Those two schools were my finalists because the other schools recruited me a little later, and I said to myself, that if I was going to visit other schools it was going to take a lot more time to get to know the coaching staff and also lots of time to get to know for example who (players) was coming back and leaving.” discussed a well spoken Mauthrin in a live french announcement during half-time of the Toronto Raptors’ and OKC Thunder game.
On what tipped the balance between the two finalist schools, Mauthrin added that the “history of Arizona, the style of play and the fact that every player has a role, and that is my style of play.”
For head coach Sean Miller the commitment of Mauthrin is a significant scoop for a player that was just starting to gain national notoriety and will likely mature into another future Canadian NBA player.
Abu Kigab career night powers Boise State Broncos
Canadian Abu Kigab (St. Catherines, Ont.) dropped a career best 33 points, 11 rebounds to power the Boise State Broncos 103-72 past the CSU Northridge Matadors.
The 6’7″, 211-pound junior forward was efficient as a heat pump, knocking down a hot 11-of-16 field-goals, 3-of-4 triples and 8-of-9 free-throws in just 26 minutes — including a two-hand alley-oop — to bring the home crowd to it’s feet while recording his 30th point.
Kigab’s output is one the best performances by a Canadian playing NCAA DI basketball and as per the Broncos’ public relations team “It’s just the 17th 30 & 10 game all-time by a Bronco and seventh in the last 25 years.” Chicago Bulls’ rookie Chandler Hutchison was the last Boise State player to reach the milestone — erupting for 39 points and 14 rebounds at the 2018 NIT.
“We were all making the right play and some nights that’s just how it is,” Kigab said. “I just go out there and try to win the game. I’ll do whatever it takes. Sometimes I might have to score more, sometimes I need to rebound more, sometimes I need to pass more. Whatever my team needs, that’s what I’ll do.”
Highly recruited coming out high school, Kigab was part of the historic Canadian national team that captured the country’s first-ever basketball gold medal at the 2017 U19 World Cup. The hybrid forward averaged a double-double with 14.7 points and 10.6 rebounds — earning a nod in the all-world all-star team alongside MVP RJ Barrett.
Abu Kigab commits to Oregon Ducks
The St. Catherine’s product committed to the Oregon Ducks — playing a season and half before opting to transfer to Boise State. Kigab showed promise in his first three games under Dana Altman hitting double-figures scoring in all three non-conference games before completely falling out of the rotation. In 45 games with the Ducks, Kigab scored just a total of 82 points while playing only 418 minutes.
Since becoming eligible and joining the Broncos starting lineup on December 22, Kigab has helped the team to a 3-1 record — including two straight double-doubles and has scored a total of 64 points.
Based on early results it’s fair to say that the change in scenery and shift from the Pac 12 brand of basketball to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) has benefited Kigab’s game.
The Broncos compete in the tough Mountain West Conference with the likes of San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico and Nevada. The Conference has a history with Canadians and holds the title of producing former Running Rebel and No. 1 NBA pick Anthony Bennett. The MWC currently features eight Canadians across multiple teams — including Elijah Mitrou-Long (UNLV), Nolan Narain, Sabry Philip and others.