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Ryan Ejim & Carleton Ravens Dominate Laurentian in Season Opener

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Ryan Ejim Carleton Ravens Dominate Laurentian In Season Opener
Valerie Wutti / Blitzen Photography

The defending CIS champions Carleton Ravens tipped off their 2015-2016 season tonight against the Laurentian Voyageurs. The five-time defending champions looked completely different stepping on the court. With over seven new players and a new head coach Ravens fans did not know what to expect from the dominating squad they were accustomed to seeing the past decade.

The first quarter was a defensive quarter for both teams. The Ravens shot 41% finishing the first-quarter with 19 points. The Voyagers shot 31% as they finished the quarter with 15. The second quarter was led by the (Illinois/Cleveland State transfer) Kaza Keane as he finished the half with 12 points 3 rebounds. Runner-up in points was Anthony Lacoe who led his team with 10 points.

Ryan Ejim came out the second half aggressively. As he helped the Ravens kick into high gear with a 10-0 run to start the quarter. His physical play led him to 10 points in the first 6 minutes of the quarter. The Ravens defense also played a big part in their third quarter run. A put back dunk by Connor Wood helped intensify the crowd and his teammates. The Ravens outscored the Voyageurs 37-8 in the 3rd led by Ryan Ejim and Cameron Smythe. The fourth-quarter was a slow start for both teams. The Voyageurs made couple of big defensive plays early as they forced the Ravens into couple of 24 seconds shot clock violation. Nonetheless the two teams exchanged buckets the whole quarter as the Voyagers finished with 15 points and Carleton 17.

The new look Ravens gave the fans a show that they are accustomed to seeing. Making their first win of their 2015-2016 season a remarkable one as they had a commanding victory of 93-48. Ryan Ejim led the team with 18 points, 9 rebounds  and 3 blocks. Six players for the Ravens finished in double-figures. And Anthony Lacoe led the way for the Laurentian Voyageurs with 15 points. After the game Coach Rob Smart spoke to BasketballBuzz and mentioned – “We played alright especially our veterans. We have such a young team so we need our veterans to be a lot more solid and comfortable night in and night out.” Also identified that “our whole staff is trying to do the job this year” as they looks to fill the void for his uncle, the legendary 11-time championship coach Dave Smart.

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Kadre Gray wins second consecutive U Sports MVP

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Kadre Gray 1040x572

Laurentian guard Kadre Gray took his game to another level this season.

That’s saying something.

A year ago, Gray was the top Canadian university male athlete in any sport, the first Laurentian student to win the honour.

He led the country in assists, narrowly missed a scoring title, and — perhaps by default — also won the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as men’s basketball player of the year.

“Kadre’s work ethic continues to shine bright,” said Laurentian head coach Shawn Swords in a statement.

“He is always looking for ways to improve and refine all aspects of the game.”

If there was any doubt, Gray stifled it in his junior season.

He averaged 31 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game en route to his second consecutive Moser trophy.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment to do it once,” said Swords.

“And now, to be named MVP twice, is truly a testament to his willingness to learn and improve.

“The Kadre effect has spread throughout our community as well. It is great to see him support our local youth and realize the positive impact he has on everyone.”

Gray received the 2019 Moser trophy Thursday at a gala in Halifax, N.S., ahead of the U Sports Men’s Final 8 tournament.

University of Calgary guard Mambi Diawara, Concordia guard Ricardo Monge and St. Mary’s University guard Kemar Alleyne were also finalists for the award.

Gray was simply a cut above. He posted gaudy stats with notable efficiency, shooting 48.8 per cent from the floor.

He was also a First Team All-Canadian and played with Canada’s national team in FIBA World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers against Venezuela and Brazil.

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Gray was the only U Sports player to participate in the qualifiers.

Other award winners:

Rookie of the Year (Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy): Alix Lochard, UQAM.

Ken Shields Award for Student-Athlete Community Service: Tanner Graham, Queen’s.

Defensive Player of the Year: Marcus Anderson, Carleton.

Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year): Dan Vanhooren, Calgary.

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Carleton Ravens reclaim OUA Basketball Supremacy

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Carleton Ravens Reclaim Oua Basketball Supremacy Team Championship Banner
Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

The road to Ontario University Basketball supremacy has been firmly cemented through the Carleton University Ravens.

The Canadian basketball powerhouse has continuously dominated the toughest conference in the country year-in, year out, earning eleven (11) conference titles in Dave Smart’s 19 seasons as head coach.

Recently, the Ryerson Rams have threaten to end the Ravens dominance, earning the first non Carleton Ravens’ back-to-back (2016, 2017) conference titles since Joe Raso and the McMaster Marauders pulled it off in 1996 and 1997. Furthermore, despite the Ravens dominance of the Rams, they have managed to beat Carleton and win meaningfully games in March.

Ryerson, playing in their fourth straight Ontario University Association (OUA) conference championship game — a feat that not even the Ravens have accomplished, were looking for their third conference title in four years, having cut down the mesh at the Ravens’ Nest to win their second straight conference banner two years ago.

Add to the fact that Ryerson ended the Ravens hopes of a perfect season, pulling off a 78-74 road win less than five weeks ago and we once again had the ingredients for another great game.

Carleton Ravens Reclaim Oua Basketball Supremacy Yasiin Joseph Floater Over Tanor Ngom Ryerson Rams

Carleton Ravens Guard Yasiin Joseph drops a floater over 6’11” Tanor Ngom of the Ryerson Rams – Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

“Coming into game we put a lot of focus in practice on limiting their key players and making it tough for them.” discussed Ravens’ point guard Yasiin Joseph after the Ravens executed their game-plan to perfection, beating the Ryerson Rams 81-61 to reclaiming Wilson Cup supremacy with their second straight conference title.

Carleton ripped off 12-0 run and held the Rams scoreless for over four minutes to grab 25-18 lead after one quarter. Ravens starting back-court of Yasiin Joseph (20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Munis Tutu (16 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds) both played outstanding, controlling the offense and were great on the boards.

“Ryerson is a tough team and you have to be prepared. We made some adjustments from the previous game that helped us come on top.” Also commented Tutu, a Windsor, Ontario native who is looking for his first national title with the Ravens after falling short to the Rams in the national semi-final game.

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Carleton Ravens Reclaim Oua Basketball Supremacy Munis Tutu OUA Wilson Cup

Carleton Ravens Munis Tutu pulls down a rebound at 2019 OUA Wilson Cup – Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

Now three games away from potentially tasting national glory, Tutu understands the importance of staying focused and trusting the plan. “It’s going to be difficult, we are going to put in a tough week of practice, and prepare for our next opponent and try to bring the championship back to Ottawa.”

Eddie Ekiyor continued his All-Canadian campaign with 16 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes. TJ Lall returned from his one game suspension and almost had a perfect game with 10 points, 7 rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting.

Both teams shot poorly from the three-point line going a combined 8-of-49 (16%). Carleton limited the Rams offense to just seven assists and had fairly comfortable +17 (43-26) advantage on the glass.

Ryerson Rams Head Coach Roy Rana Vs.Carleton Ravens 2019 OUA Basketball Wilson Cup

Ryerson Rams Head Coach Roy Rana rounds up his troops – Photo: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

6’11” Tanor Ngom continued to showcase his upside leading Ryerson in scoring with 15 points and four rebounds including a few exciting dunks for the standing room only, capacity crowd. JV Mukama was largely held in check and finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds including 0-7 from three-point shooting. Myles Charvis started off hot, but cooled down considerably, scoring 8 of his 10 points in the first quarter in 34 minutes.

Carleton won their first OUA conference basketball title of the Dave Smart era in his fourth year and they went on to three-peat on two occasions, from 2003-2005 and again from 2008-2010. They also took home top honors in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018 and now once again 2019.

The only years the Ravens have failed to win the national title as conference champions were in 2008 when they lost to the Acadia Axemen, 2010 against Saskatchewan and recently against Ryerson in 2018.

The Ravens are now the odds on favorites to earn the top seed at next weeks Final 8 National Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia — a place where they have won 8 of their record 13 national titles.

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