Monday, September 01, 2008

CIS Corner: The all ball edition

Notes on our teams of interest from The 613, during the CIS vs. NCAA weekend ... a triple-overtime game, a two-point game and a one-point game, in the same city on the same day. It was a bad day to try to kick an oral fixation!

A commitment to the Streaming Sports Network Canada broadcast meant not being able to take in Carleton's 78-59 win over South Alabama on Sunday night.

It sounds like it was pretty straightforward; any questions about the Ravens, in particularly how deep they'll be with Aaron Chapman, Cole Hobin and Elliot Thompson entering their second seasons should be put on hold. The starting five -- Doornekamp-McCleery-Saunders-Turnbull-Kenny -- has had no obvious problems thus far. Mike Kenny had a team-high 16 vs. USA, which if memory serves gives the Ravens three different high scorers in their first three games.

Notes from Saturday

Everything's a little clearer in the light of the day.

(That's from the greatest song ever, so how can it be wrong?)

No one has any right to suggest to Dave Smart and his Carleton Ravens how they should feel about losing by, guuhhhhhhhh, one point, 84-83, to the defending NCAA champion Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday night, in front of 7,189 fans at Scotiabank Place in the Can-Am Shootout. One can only think aboutwhat it would have done for the image of Carleton and CIS basketball if the Ravens had come away with the skin of perennial NCAA powerhouse to hang on their wall for a few seconds before perishing the thought. After a game when one made basket or one miss either way would have meant a different outcome, wants to look on the bright side. That being said, look on the bright side.

Carleton, and here one thinks of the main cogs, Mike Kenny, Stu Turnbull, Rob Saunders and Aaron Doornekamp, shot the ball better than it ever has before at Scotiabank Place, in two previous Capital Hoops Classics vs. Ottawa and in two games at the CIS Final 8 last March. Their three-point shooting -- they made 15-of-24 on the night, almost all on open looks -- brought them right to precipice of pulling the upset.

Three players turned the tide for the Jayhawks, who, as you know, lost all five starters to graduation and or early declarations for the NBA draft. Kansas expects to be in the NCAA Tournament every year, so their mix of returnees and freshmen aren't exactly chopped liver. Freshman guard Travis Releford, who was able to get the first-college-game nervousness out of him in the Jayhawks' morning matchup vs. McGill, scored 25 points, while the 6-foot-11 sophomore centre Cole Aldrich, who looks like he's going to be a beast in the Big 12 one of these days, had a solid night. The one rotation player back from the title team, Sherron Collins,lso had 10 points and made the steal that led to the crucial breakaway dunk that gave Kansas just enough breathing room, so it's arguable that Kansas doesn't win if he hadn't played, which was a distinct possibility at the start of the day.

One play summed up a matchup between the NCAA champions, albeit a team beset by losses to graduation, and a CIS powerhouse with a score to settle. Midway through the second half, Turnbull, from the left side of the key, made a hard pass to Doornekamp on the right elbow, who does a one-touch, post-to-post pass to Kevin McCleery. Ninety-nine times out of 100, it's a gimme layup, and not just in Canada. On this night, Aldrich took one step, whoosh, and made the block. McCleery, though, recovered and made a reverse layup.

That kind of illustrated how sharp Carleton was, just how skilled a foe they were up against and how hard they got after it. Kansas certainly didn't treat this like it would a Big 12 game against Mizzou in February, but judging from the alley-oop dunk Aldrich threw down on the first play of the game, they certainly wanted to help put make a good show.

Suffice to say, both schools held up their ends of the bargain. Still, once Kansas inched ahead 45-44 at halftime after getting 19 straight points from either Aldrich or Releford, it seemed like a a safe bet was that the visitors' superior speed and skill would cause them to pull away after the break.

Smart had told Streaming Sports Network that by the 10-minute mark of the second half, everyone would see "how bad a team (Carleton) can be." No one would have thought less of it had that turned out to be the case, yet there was Carleton, taking the lead several times in the second half and going down to the final seconds. The second-year players, Aaron Chapman, Cole Hobin and Elliott Thompson, along with freshman forward Kyle Smendziuk also had their moments. (Chapman's tip off a missed free throw that extended Carleton's final lead to 80-77 was just sick.)

The bottom line is that the big takeaways are that coming close vs. Kansas, while it's not a total shock considering the unsetled state of Bill Self's roster, probably does do a lot for Carleton's image. The Ravens were also taking the play to Kansas for the most part, which was a far cry from the Acadia game last March.

Bottom line, Carleton's showing on Saturday is bound to be a talker, for sure.

Other highlights of the evening:
  • There might not be a prouder parent in CIS basketball than Aaron Doornekamp's father, Henk, which wasn't lost on Kansas coach Bill Self or the Lawrence Journal-World:
    "Security twice had to tell the father of Carleton’s Doornekamp to quit shouting comments at KU coach Bill Self from his front-row seats.

    Self took it all in stride, even yelling some stuff back at the elder Doornekamp.

    " 'That didn’t bother me at all. I love it,' Self said. 'The crowd was very complimentary. I thought the whole deal tonight was great.' "
    You know it's Ottawa when they're telling someone not to enjoy himself so much. Good on you, Mr. Doornekamp.
  • Why would Carleton ever want to bring football back? They'll never find a football player who can take a hit better than Mike Kenny.

    The point guard drew three charges on the Jayhawks, plus there were at least two other times when he was called for a blocking foul after sacrificing his body.
  • More than one person was heard to comment that Doornekamp's physical appearance is significantly different from last season.
  • Not that anyone needed a reminder, but the dry-erase board at the media check-in carried a message: "Welcome to the 'second home' of the OUA champions!"
  • The crowd size, 7,189, was decent enough, considering that (a) it's a holiday weekend and (b) basketball at Scotiabank Place has lost some of its novelty. The building was as full as it was at any time during the CIS Final 8, save for Acadia-Carleton semi-final. Let's hope Kansas comes back to Canada in 2012, the next time it's allowed to under NCAA rules regarding foreign exhibition games.

    (Incidentally, the Paper of Record printed a somewhat whingeing editorial about Carleton's marketing efforts on Saturday. Far be it to not feel outraged in the slightest over the tragedy that, "One Citizen editorial writer parked off-campus and walked because he couldn't make heads or tails of the university's parking rules."

    Next time, take the O-Train. It drops you off less than 300 metres from the Ravens' Nest, plus you'll be reducing your carbon footprint.
Golden Gaels: Overall, Queen's ended up 1-4 against NCAA foes after Sunday's 88-61 loss to the University of Buffalo.

Mitch Leger had 23 points and nine rebounds vs. the Bulls, his fourth game with 20 or more this week. Bucholtz has raised the question about Queen's secondary scoring, post-Mitchell brothers, at Sporting Madness, so it

The crazy part about Queen's 102-94 triple-overtime win over the University of South Alabama (here's the account on the USA's website) is that Queen's could actually have reason to be less than 100% satisfied -- they had 23 turnovers and didn't make a basket in the final 4:41 of regulation time. No one wants to get complacent this early in the year, right? .

Leger poured in 28 points vs. USA and Baris Ondul added 16, including five straight in the final overtime period.

This was the first time Queen's has scored 100 points in a game since 1992-93, when Dave Smart wore the Tricolour.

The other great bit of semi-halfway Gaels-related news is that noted CIS aficionado Mike Koreen, the former Raptors beat reporter for the Toronto Sun and most recently the sports information director at York, will soon be starting as the Kingston Whig-Standard's sports editor. Bringing in someone of Mike's experience and interests should be a huge coup for The Whig's readership and its staff. He's certainly fit to carry on the work of Claude Scilley, the newspaperman's newspapersman who became city editor a few months ago.

(Oh, and Big Man on Campus sees the football Gaels going 6-2 in the regular season. Great minds think alike!)

Gee-Gees: It's bogus to make Carleton-Ottawa comparsions based on how close, or not close, each played Kansas, especially when the two teams here in the capital won't play another game for six weeks.

That being said, the big akeaways from Ottawa's 95-60 loss to the Jayhawks on Sunday was that a lot more of the Gee-Gees offence is being run through Dax Dessureault, who had a team-high 16 points. He passed well out of some double teams and was 8-of-9 from the foul line. Matt Michaud, the rookie big from Montreal, also showed an outside shooting touch during the late stages in the game, when he was matched against Kansas' backup centre, Matt Kleinmann.

The big selling point of getting out to the Gee-Gees' game on Saturday vs. South Alabama (72-70 loss) as to get a first-hand look at Warren Ward, Ottawa's baby-faced 6-foot-5 freshman guard. Ward finished with 15 points and showed that he was pretty fearless about both taking the ball inside and putting up a 3-pointer early in the shot clock. He's going to be very good. It's just a question of when.


Anonymous said...

I was just looking (11:30 AM) at the on screen menu for channel 22 on my TV and saw that Rogers Community Channel 22 is telecasting the Ottawa-Kansas game live at 7:00 pm. This must be a last minute decision as I have not seen this mentioned anywhere previously. I hope this info turns out to be accurate , but that is what I saw.


Andrew Bucholtz said...

A great effort by Carleton: it was awesome to see them come so close against a NCAA powerhouse. Unfortunately, Mike Kenny isn't Mario Chalmers, or they might have won.

On the Queen's front, nice to see them pick up a win, even with the drawbacks you mentioned. Mitch Leger averaged 28 points and 8 rebounds over the last two games against NCAA competition, which is pretty impressive. It looks like they found some secondary scoring as well, which is one of my main concerns with this team. I'm looking forward to tonight's match against the University at Buffalo.

(By the way, how funny is it that Buffalo has both the Bulls and the Bills, and both are coming to Canada to play pre-season games?)

sager said...

It's pretty funny ... I joked last night that it's only sporting to cheer for the Buffalo Bulls in college football, since Toronto is steeling the city's pro football team.

(Also, the Bulls might go to a bowl for the first time in a turtle's age, and former CFL star Danny Barrett is a coach there.)

Anyone catch the Freudian slip in the Lansdowne Park op-ed Jeff Hunt penned for the Ottawa Citizen?

"Our oasis includes a world-class sports and entertainment facility where community events could include international activities like last summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup soccer tournament, or possibly a future U2 concert. We'd host national events such as the Grey Cup or the CIAU's Vanier Cup." (Emphasis mine.)

You have to love that the Citizen took a CIS school (Carleton) to task in the same edition when it got the name of the league wrong, and that Hunt didn't know the name was changed seven years ago.

Anonymous said...

I watched Carleton beat the University at Buffalo Bulls 84-74 Monday afternoon to finish a 3-1 weekend against NCAA D-1 competition...pretty damn good, I might say.
Unfortunately, the Ravens cross town rivals, the Ottawa U Gee Gees had a pretty miserable time getting hammered twice and letting a very winnable game against an unimpressive South Alabama team slip out of their fingers.
Getting shellacked by Kansas was bad enough, but their 22 point loss to a very mediocre Northeastern team was a disgrace, considering the fact Carleton ripped that same team by 30 the following night.
The Gee Gees looked sloppy, undisciplined and without focus but their worst sin of all...they actually looked out of shape!
Dax Desserault was the only Ottawa player who consistently impressed.
He competed hard every game and was obviously in mid season form fitness wise.
At this stage of the season, Ottawa is way behind where they should be.