With five OUA teams in the CIS top ten; Carleton (1), Ottawa (2), McMaster (5), Windsor (7) and Ryerson (8), we knew one of these teams wouldn’t make the OUA final four. Despite being ranked fourth or fifth in the CIS for most of the season and coming within three-points of handing Carleton their first loss of the season, Ryerson would fall short by a single point to the Gee-Gees in a game that saw nine lead changes.
Carleton University Ravens
CIS Ranking: #1
Last Season: OUA Gold, CIS Gold
The Carleton Ravens are sitting on a perfect record this season and easily got by Laurentian in the OUA East semi-finals with a 111-77 victory. Their only losses this season came in pre-season exhibition games against NCAA teams Syracuse, in overtime, and Cincinnati. The closest thing to a blemish on the Carleton record this season is a 3-point win over Ryerson. The Rams led through most of the game, holding Carleton to their worst shooting percentage of the season. The Ravens’ stats at both ends of the court are impressive. They have been outscoring their opponents by an average of 30 points, with a field goal percentage just under 50% while holding their opponents to 36%. They lead the CIS in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, free throw percentage and rebounding efficiency, collecting 61% of the rebounds.
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees
CIS Ranking: #2
Last Season: OUA Silver, CIS Bronze
Ottawa’s only two losses, not surprisingly, came at the hand of the Ravens, but they’ve dominated their opponents in all but a few of their games. In the OUA East semi-finals, the Gee-Gees had one of their poorest shooting performances with 27-77 shooting against the Rams. Ryerson produced 31 bench points but gave up 14 turnovers, allowing the Gee-Gees to win it from the free throw line. The Gee-Gees have demonstrated strong shooting throughout the season with a 49% field goal percentage, 40% from the three-point line and led the league with 96.4 points per game. Defence may be their weakness, as they allow their opponent to shoot 41% for an average of 78 points per game.
CIS Ranking: #5
Last Season: 3rd OUA West, Lost to Lakehead in OUA West semi final
After falling short of the final four last season, McMaster finished this season atop the OUA West division, having lost three games to OUA East teams (Carleton, Ottawa and Laurentian) and splitting games with Windsor. Their record advanced them to the division semi-finals against Western. While Western held the lead after the first quarter, McMaster took over in the second, only allowing Western 6 points. Rebounding and turnovers were major factors allowing McMaster to win 83-49. With a respectable 45% field goal percentage, the Marauders hold their opponent to 39% shooting allowing them to win by an average of 16 points. They are efficient on the glass, collecting 55% of the rebounds. Struggles at the free throw line, however, could be the difference in close games.
CIS Ranking: #7
Last Season: 1st OUA West, 4th Place in OUA Wilson Cup
Lakehead denied Windsor the bronze medal and a trip to the CIS final 8 last season, so they are hungry to try again. The Lancers fell to Carleton, Ottawa and Ryerson, but split their series with Lakehead, McMaster and Waterloo. Finishing second in the OUA West division earned them an OUA semi-final appearance against Laurier. Out-rebounding Laurier 53-38, the Lancers generated 17 second chance points, and dominated the key, scoring 50 points from the inside. Windsor’s offensive numbers are the lowest of the final four, shooting 43% from the field, 35% from the three and averaging 82 points per game. They grab 53% of the rebounds, but they also struggle from the free throw line.
Windsor vs. Carleton
The Windsor Lancers were the last CIS team to beat Carleton. They won 71-67 on November 9, 2012 in the season opener. Therefore, history has shown, it can be done. Fast-forward to this season’s opener between these two teams. Carleton defeated Windsor with solid rebounding, three-point shooting and free throw shooting for a 95-74 win.
Players to Watch
The Raven’s top scorer, Philip Scrubb will be a key factor in this game. He posted 24 points in each of his last two appearances against Windsor and is always a threat. Kevin Churchill posted a season-high 19 points against Windsor in the opener, and could be a factor again.
Lien Phillip will need to play a critical role if Windsor is going to win. He averages a double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) and he will need to rebound and be a factor on the scoreboard. Enrico Diloreto leads the Lancers in scoring despite only shooting about 39%. He has come up big in tough games, shooting 56% for 29 points against Ottawa and 26 points in both appearances against McMaster.
Keys to Victory
The biggest threat for Carleton, at this stage is complacency. With the exception of one close game against Ryerson, they have dominated in every game. The players will have to stay focused, and avoid the temptation to take their foot off the gas. In order to survive in this game, Windsor will have to find a way to defend Carleton without fouling them. The Ravens basically won the season opener from the free throw line, with Windsor taking 25 fouls leading to 29 points.
Ottawa vs. McMaster
Offensively, Ottawa has an edge in every category, most notably in points per game. When these teams met back in November, Ottawa won 100-85 thanks to an inside shooting edge and a strong showing at the free-throw line.
Players to Watch
In November, Johhny Berhanemeskel scored a season-high 38 points against McMaster shooting 67%. At that point, Terry Thomas was not yet eligible to play. He has since provided two 40+ point performances for Ottawa and will surely be noticed. Look for Taylor Black to lead his team in rebounds and on the scoreboard. He is averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds per game. Joe Rocca leads his team in scoring, but struggled against Ottawa last time. Rohan Boney hit a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Ottawa and should be a factor again.
Keys to Victory
Ottawa will need to distribute the ball to find quality shot opportunities and avoid being forced into shots. A low shot percentage will mean more rebounds, and the Marauders are the better rebounding team.
The Marauders had 37 points from the bench in their last game with Ottawa, and they will need those again if they’re going to use their bench to keep fresh defenders on Ottawa’s shooters. They also need to hit their free-throws.
What to Expect
It’s a fairly sure bet that the Gee-Gees and Ravens will compete for the Gold medal, leaving McMaster and Windsor competing for Bronze. These teams aren’t only competing for the bronze, but also for a spot in the CIS Final 8 and Windsor will likely be left on the outside looking in again this season. As hungry as Ottawa is for the trophy, and to defeat their cross-town rival, it’s unlikely they will hoist the Wilson Cup. The Carleton Ravens will certainly be hanging another OUA Championship banner at the Ravens’ nest.
Kadre Gray career-high 51 points keep Laurentian Voyageurs unbeaten
Kadre Gray scored a career-high 51 points as the Laurentian Voyageurs (4-0) stayed unbeaten with 107-77 win over the Algoma Thunderbirds. The reigning two-time U Sports Most Valuable Player (MVP) torched Algoma — shooting 17-for-24 (70.8%) from the floor and burying 9-of-15 (60%) triples including 8-of-12 (66%) from the foul line — adding 9 assists and 2 steals in 32 minutes.
Gray scored 14 points in the opening quarter and added 11 more in the second-quarter to finish the half with 25 points as Laurentian trailed the Thunderbirds 51-46. The former Rookie of the Year (2016-17) added to his count with 10 more in the middle frame helping Laurentian rally to take a 74-69 lead.
The Toronto, Ontario native doubled-up the Thunderbirds in the fourth quarter — scoring 16 points in 10 minutes as Laurentian outscored Algoma 33-8 to run away with the game.
Gray has been on a tear to start the 2019-2020 U Sports men’s basketball season pouring 40 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists in a win over the Bishop Gaiters just four days ago. The two-time first-team All-Canadian also racked-up 25 points against the Western Mustangs and 19 points in the preseason opener over the Waterloo Warriors.
Gray is currently averaging 33.7 points per game, slightly higher than the league-leading 31 points per game a year ago. Gray’s previous career-high was a 48-point game in 101-81 win over the Lakehead Thunderwolves on November 3rd 2018.
Kadre Gray on pace to become U Sports All-Time Scorer
With two years of eligibility remaining and currently sitting at 1549 career points the Laurentian guard is on pace to surpass UNB Reds standout Javon Masters to become the all-time greatest scorer in U Sports basketball men’s history.
Masters had 1608 entering his junior year and scored 799 in his final two campaigns to finish with 2407 career points — surpassing Ryerson’s Boris Bakovic’s 2319 total points. Kadre Gray scored 620 points in 20 regular season games last year alone and should he come anywhere near that pace this year and opt to return for a final fifth-year he could shatter the mark.
The four-year stand-out guard is coming off a stellar season and opted to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft and will once again look to make his mark on Canadian University basketball.
Former Carleton All-Canadian Eddie Ekiyor charged sexual assault, kidnapping
Surely not the headline you and I were expecting, and the news couldn’t get any worse for former Carleton Ravens forward and two-time All-Canadian Eddie Ekiyor.
According to a report from the Ottawa Police , the 22 year-old Ekiyor is facing serious charges of sexual assault and kidnapping of a 23-year old women following an April 7th, 2019 incident that occurred in Ottawa’s west end.
“The charges come after police received a complaint from a woman regarding an incident in the Market-area and the west end of Ottawa on April 7, 2019. A male suspect met a 23 year old female victim at a downtown bar where he plied her with alcohol and drugs. He then took her to a west end address where he sexually assaulted her. Throughout the incident, the female was in and out of consciousness. Following the sex assault, the victim was put in a taxi cab which drove her home.”Source – Ottawa Police Services
Ottawa Police have charged Ekiyor with the following three charges: sexual assault, kidnapping and rare, and extremely serious occurrence of overcome resistance to commit an offence.
The news comes on the heels of the start of new season and new head coach Taffe Charles confirming Ekiyor’s departure that the former U Sports All-Canadian was leaving the national championship program to join the pro basketball ranks.
Why didn’t Ekiyor declare for the 2019 NBA Draft?
Interestingly enough, and perhaps not so coincidental is the fact that Ekiyor didn’t test the NBA draft waters by declaring himself eligible for the 2019 draft — taking advantage of the recent changes in NCAA draft rules that permits players, including U Sports athletes to go through the draft process and return to their respective school if no serious interest is garnered.
A record two U sports players (Kadre Gray – Laurentian Voyageurs, Tanor Ngom – Ryerson Rams) plus a Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) player declared — in American born Jalen Sykes (Reford, Michigan) who played for the St. Clair Saints in Windsor, Ontario.
However, there was no mention or sign of Ekiyor who had just finished dominating the 2019 U Sports Final 8 Championship which ran from March 7 to 10 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
At this point, questions and commentary started circulating about Ekiyor’s NBA aspirations — given that he joined the Ravens program with the intention of doing just that — and clearly had more upside than all of the three-players that declared and actually went through some stages of the NBA draft process.
Most early-entry NCAA basketball athletes make their NBA draft declarations around mid-to-late April, as were both the cases with Gray and Ngom.
If Ekiyor and his camp had serious intentions of going pro, why not follow the Canadian NBA hype train and throw his name in the record number of Canadians who did so? After-all the “all gain, nothing to lose” scenario would’ve only benefited Ekiyor’s game, exposure and further bring attention and recognition to the heralded Ravens program.
Timeline of events
Dave Smart shocked the Canadian basketball world by announcing his retirement on March 19, 2019, nine days after winning his record 14th national championship.
The incident in question as per the Ottawa Police occurred less than a month after the National Championship on April 7th and around early May 2019 rumors started surfacing that Ekiyor was looking to leave Carleton to a chase a pro contract.
Those ramblings continued throughout the summer and recently picked-up steam when Ekiyor’s name didn’t appearing on the box-score of the Raven’s first exhibition preseason game against the University of South Florida in Laval, Quebec.
Intrigued by the mystery and lack of details by the both the university and professional teams overseas I reached out to new head coach Taffe Charles via e-mail on August 9th 2019 who provided a very brief statement regarding Ekiyor’s status.
“It is my understanding that Eddie wanted to go pro and is in the midst of doing that.”Taffe Charles – Head Coach Carleton Ravens Men’s basketball program
Based on the timeline of events, it will be interesting to know if and when did the Ravens program found-out about the incident and, if it tried to distance itself from Ekiyor with the rumor that he was going pro or weather Ekiyor himself and his camp misled the university.
Ekiyor also pled guilty and was conditionally discharged of a hit and run incident of an off-duty Ottawa police officer in 2016, curtailing his NCAA basketball aspirations.
The Ottawa native averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in three seasons with the Carleton Ravens — winning two national championships, including being named second-team All-Canadian in 2018 and improving on that mark to claim first-team status and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Final 8 championships in his last year (2019) with the Ravens program.
Out on bail, passport surrendered
According to Mike Arsalides, Ekiyor has been released on bail to a surety and has surrendered his Canadian passport. Further to that, Arsalides reports that “Ekiyor is no longer a member of Ravens team and “he informed the team a couple of weeks ago of his intentions of wanting to purse a professional basketball career — according to an official statement from Carleton University.
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