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Ryan Ejim & Carleton Ravens Dominate Laurentian in Season Opener

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Ryan Ejim attacks the rim against Laurentian Voyageurs
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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Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada

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Alabama Crimson Tide Avery Johnson Return To Canada

The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.

The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).

The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.

Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.

Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the  2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.

Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.

Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.

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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

Calgary Dinos senior guard Thomas Cooper had himself and impressive CIS/Usports career to say the least. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native, a 6-5, 200 lbs guard earned himself two first team All-Canadian awards while leading Dinos back to the championship game for the first time since 1966.

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No. 1 Carleton Ravens 81-40 lock-up rivals No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees

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Eddie Ekiyor Carleton Ravens Vs.Ottawa Gee Gees USports Basketball
Photo - Valerie Wutti

Ottawa, ON – The twelve-time defending CIS/USports National Basketball Champions and No.1 Carleton Ravens went into Monpetit Hall and completely dominated the No. 2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, locking up their Bytown rivals with a blistering 81-40 win.

The Ravens, the top defensive unit in the country, allowing an incredible low of only 60 points to opponents, dominated every aspect of the much anticipated game holding Ottawa to four points in the first-quarter and thirteen in the second for a grand total of seventeen first-half points and 35-17 half-time lead.

The first-quarter ended with Ravens leading 11-4 as both teams slugged it out in front of a jam packed standing room only Monpetit Hall which hasn’t seen the Gee-Gees get dismantled like this on their home floor in 32-game OUA conference games – snapping home winning streak which dated back to 2012.

Fifth-year senior Guard Connor Wood caught fire in the second-quarter after a cold start scoring all but 14 of the teams 24 points in the quarter and finished with 16 in the half and game-high 19 points. Starting point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane added 10 points, six rebounds in just 19 minutes.

The Gee-Gees were limited to 6-of-32 (18.8%) shooting, 3-of-17 from the outside in the opening 20 minutes and managed to only connect on 12-56 (21.4%) of their field goal attempts for the entire game and only 6-of-26 from the outside.

Carleton shot 50% in the second-half and finished 31-68 from the floor and 13-of-28 from downtown while turning the ball over 9 times compared to the Gee-Gees 18.

Must Read:  Ottawa Gee-Gees awarded No. 1 seed at 2014 CIS Final 8 for the first time in school history

The 40 points allowed by the Ravens is their lowest against the Gee-Gees since a 74-34 smack-down in January 18th, 2012 at the Sixth Annual Capital Hoops Classic.

Carleton Ravens 6’10” freshman Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) and senior forward Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) finished one point shy of double-doubles with 9 points and 8 rebounds respectively, and shutdown the Gee-Gees dynamic duo of Caleb Agada (12 points, 4 rebounds) and former Ravens Jean Emmanuel Pierre (7 points, 6 rebounds). Gee-Gees Guard Brandon Robinson had a team-high 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-4 triples.

Carleton’s record  stays unblemished at a perfect 10-0, 16-0 against Canadian competition and 22-2 overall with the only losses coming from two NCAA opponents on the road in Rhode Island – Providence Friars 87-69 and in Philadelphia against LaSalle Explorers 79-73.

Both teams will meet again in just over two weeks (Feb 3rd) at the 2017 Capital Hoops Classic at the ScotiaBank Centre.

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