The Carleton Ravens drive to record an eighth-straight U SPORTS championship title continues after an 81-64 win over the host Acadia Axemen in the fourth and final quarter-final game Thursday evening at Scotiabank Centre.
In an inspired performance in front of a partisan crowd, the Axemen competed for all but the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter, keeping pace with the defending champions.
With 7:28 to play, Carleton was up 59-56 before going on a 12-point run, taking advantage of an Acadia foul and never looked back, continuing to distance themselves from the Axemen, leading by as many as 19 down the stretch.
Carleton player of the game Eddie Ekiyor led all scorers with 25 points and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-9 forward scored 16 of his points in the second half. Rounding out the scoring for the Ravens were Cam Smythe with 18 points and eight boards, Yasiin Joseph with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Marcus Anderson added four threes for 12 points.
On the Acadia side, fifth-year forward Erik Nissen had great game with 18 points and a game-high 17 rebounds as the Axemen out-rebounded the Ravens 50 to 40. Trevon Grant added 16 points, including a pair of threes, and Ben Miller finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Nick DePalma added a pair of threes as Acadia finished 7-17 from beyond the arc.
The Axemen shot 40 per cent from the field for the game to Carleton’s 37.5, but the Ravens finished with 10 threes and made all the shots they needed to over the final seven minutes. Axemen head coach Kevin Duffie expressed pride in his players effort for most of the game.
“We beat them on the glass, full marks to our guys for that, and we had a chance to win the game,” he added. “We had to try to keep them off balance. They’re so good.”
He acknowledged that Ekiyor was the difference in the game in the fourth quarter.
“He’s big, athletic, and skilled. He’s so physical, he can beat you in so many ways. He’s a good player, straight-up.” Duffie said. “We stuck to our game plan for all but the final seven minutes. After that, it kind of ballooned on us.”
Ravens head coach Dave Smart wasn’t at all surprised with Acadia’s play.
“We played them in October, with a very similar result, winning by 16, but it was a six-point game late. And Acadia was missing two of their rotation guys.” Smart said. “We knew what we wanted to do against their zone defence. It was a bit of an adjustment early on, but not a really big adjustment. We just didn’t start making shots until the last seven minutes.”
U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Anderson, stepped up offensively with 12 points in the game.
“The first couple of quarters, I was passing up shots,” he said. “Then I started feeling more confident, and the shots started falling.”
Carleton moves on to a semifinal meeting with Ryerson on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT, while the Axemen will face Alberta in the consolation semifinal at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Players of the Game
Carleton: Eddie Ekiyor
Acadia: Erik Nissen