905 blow a fourth quarter lead, but hang on at home
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Monday, March 9, 2020
Final Score, Raptors 905, 124 - College Park Skyhawks, 120
Mississauga, ON - A hard fought game by the Raptors 905 beating the College Park Skyhawks 124-120 at home. Devin Robinson made his return to the lineup and got the starting nod. He played 33 minutes and dropped 21 points to go with 13 rebounds. Oshae Brissett was a late scratch with a back injury. Michael Bethea Jr. replaced him in the starting lineup and played just 14 minutes. Henry Ellenson led the 905 with 24 points on an impressive 9 of 13 from the floor.
The Skyhawks came into the game fourth in free throw attempts with 16.6 per game and fifth in percentage at 75.4%. Before the contest 905’s Head Coach Jama Mahlalela said, “We understand that they like to get to the free throw line and some of the actions they run are to get guys in the air. We talked about jumping second and not fouling.” The 905 held them to 14 attempts, with half of those coming in the final minutes of the fourth.
Identical records before the game but with the win the 905 are now eighth in the eastern conference standings.
Robinson got the 905 on the board first with a nice paint fall away jumper. A sloppy game by both squads to start. They were trying to play with pace but had multiple turnovers.
Beathea Jr. got two quick fouls in the first minute and a half. He stayed in the game and made back-to-back threes. Unfortunately he picked up his third halfway through the quarter and had to sit.
Henry Ellenson’s size was a factor early on. He grabbed two offensive boards, putting them back and threw the hoop. With four minutes left in the first, the 905 led the Skyhawks 23-17 and were playing a trap style defence, forcing tough shots.
At the end of the first, the Raptors led College Park 34-31. Both teams were shooting the ball well, the 905 at 52% and the Skyhawks at 57.1%. The difference was the second chance points. Raptors had nine to College Park’s zero. Ellenson led the 905 with nine points and seven rebounds after 12 minutes.
The 905 turned over the Skyhawks seven times in the first 14 minutes of the game. They were doing a great job of trapping screens and forcing College Park to either play one on one, or get open off ball. Skyhawks efficient three point shooting (5 of 11) was keeping them in the game, down just three, four minutes into the second.
Paul Watson Jr. was getting frustrated with a few offensive fouls. He took it out on Cat Barber. A huge slam over him drawing the foul. Waston Jr. stepped over Barber and stared him down, resulting in a technical foul.
The Skyhawks kept taking threes and they kept making them. 9 of 17 in the first half. Still a narrow lead for the 905, 67-64. Ellenson led the game with 16 points. Tyler Ennis was feeding his big man with seven assists.
Much like the start of the game, a frantic pace to start the third. Again like the first, multiple turnovers on the fast break.
Raptors were finally able to pull away a little bit. Their biggest lead of the game up 8, 78-70, with seven minutes left in the quarter.
It didn’t last long.
College Park went on a 7-2 run making it a three point game once again.
905 closed the quarter with a run of their own, outscoring the Skyhawks 18-10 and taking a 98-87 lead into the fourth. Ennis was on a tear in the quarter, 12 points including a three with just three seconds left in the frame. He was in a tie with Ellenson for a team high 19. College Park cooled from deep, just 2 of 9 in the third. “We told our guys stick with the game plan, those numbers will come back to our favour eventually and they sort of did that,“ was what Jama Mahlalela said of the Skyhawks three point shooting.
The Skyhawks slowly chipped away in the fourth. With five minutes left it was now a two pint game. Justin Reyes made back-to-back buckets. He was blowing away his 4.6ppg average, up to 14 with great drives to the hoop. “I thought Justin Reyes was tremendous today, his offensive rebounding, his presence, his force, his physicality really won us the basketball game today.” Was what Jama Mahlalela said of the 26 minutes Reyes played.
Cat Barber was having a fantastic game for College Park. He made it a two point game with a tough lay-up, giving him 27 points with one minute left.
Both teams traded free throws. Then a rare coaches challenge with 25.7 seconds left. Sanjay Lumpkin was called for a foul. The call was upheld and Robinson made both his free throws making it a two possession game.
More free throws, this time Watson Jr. missed both but a huge tap out by Robinson sealed the victory. Raptors 905 came away with a 124-120 win over the College Park Skyhawks leapfrogging them in the standings. “Thankful to walk away with the victory but I think there are some absolutely areas of improvement that we gotta be better at,” Jama Mahlalela said of his teams effort tonight.
Next Up, Second straight at home against the College Park Skyhawks is on Wednesday, March 11th.