The Carleton Ravens took on the Baylor Bears Friday morning at the Ravens' Nest in the first of two exhibition games scheduled for the day. Coming off an impressive 77-59 win over the Valparaiso Crusaders on Thursday evening, the Ravens tried to build on that momentum, but they fell short as the Baylor Bears defeated the Ravens, 80-78.
The first quarter was a superb offensive display for both teams. Kaza Kajami-Keane, Carleton's NCAA transfer from Cleveland State, put on a show early in first quarter. Kajami-Keane's familiarity with NCAA competition gave him a physical comfort level as he was seen dashing and driving to the hoop. He finished the first quarter with 10 points, while shooting an impressive four of five from the field. Kajami-Keane was not the only player attacking the paint at will during the contest. Baylor's Jonathan Motley looked to impose his will on the game at certain points as he was very active on the inside, working hard for rebounds as well as additional scoring opportunities.
The second quarter of the game was fairly low key in comparison to the first quarter tempo, as both teams went on a three minute scoring drought mid-way through the period. The game looked as if it would take a huge momentum swing in Baylor's favour, but Carleton's Connor Wood, who's been on an offensive tear lately, led the team with crucial buckets to close the half giving the Ravens a 39-37 point lead at the intermission.
In the third quarter, it seemed that Baylor would once again take control of the game after a massive Jonathan Motley cram in the paint. His play carried the Bears into the lead, however, it was the play of Carleton's new dynamic duo guard tandem, Kaza Kajami-Keane and Connor Wood, that kept the game close. Kajami-Keane and Wood scored the last 10 points in the 3rd quarter, which helped the Ravens take a 60-56 lead.
Baylor started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run, which was capped off by an Al Freeman breakaway dunk. While it appeared that the Ravens were out of the game once more, the team rallied and came back just as they had in the previous three quarters. Gavin Resch and Cameron Smythe each hit a big three-point shot to keep the game close, but Carleton missed several game tying shots and some important free throws down the stretch. With seconds to play and Carleton looking for one more chance to tie, the team intentionally fouled Baylor's guard Lester Medford. The senior guard stepped up and made two clutch free throws to seal the game. Kaza Kajami-Keane scored with no time left, but Carleton simply ran out chances to force overtime.
The Bears' defense proved to be overwhelming at times. They finished the game with 12 steals and 6 blocks.
Connor Wood was the high scoring player for Carleton, finishing with a game-high 25 points. Kaza Kajami-Keane arguably played his best game as a Raven, finishing with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Jonathan Motley led his team in scoring for the second straight game in a row, finishing with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, while Baylor's Al Freeman scored 17 points and went an efficient 8-8 from the field.
The Ravens will look to bounce back from this loss as they take on the Baylor Bears tonight at the Ravens' Nest for the second time in less than twelve hours. Baylor's forward Rico Gathers, an All-Big 12 First Team All-Star, will possibly suit up this evening after he sat out the morning game to get some rest from yesterday's doubleheader.
Source: Carleton Ravens