Capital Hoops Classic
Carleton 87, Ottawa 72: The Ravens' swagger, the kind that could make Stu Turnbull run back upcourt to sink a three-pointer seconds after getting the ball stolen in front of a crowd of 10,523, came straight from the coach's mouth.
You always give any Dave Smart quote a close reading, hoping to glean something that reveals something about the emotional makeup of his team, and his recollection of last year's first matchup of Ottawa fit the bill perfectly.
"We beat a really good team and we felt we were there, and we weren't, and it cost us. So this year, we're just trying to make ourselves better and treat it like a January game." - Sun MediaIt's a fair leap to take too much from what you read, but the Ravens, from Turnbull's 29-point, seven-rebound, four-assist night to bit players such as Elliott Thompson, whose only basket of the night was a three with 1:21 left in the third after Ottawa had pulled within a basket, were that mix of knowing they had to win while knowing that as tomorrow morning, pace Crash Davis in Bull Durham, "The moment's over."
Doornekamp and Kevin McCleery each had 21 points on the night from the low post. Concordia coach John Dore, who handled colour commentary for The Score, likened McCleery to a CIS equivalent of Kevin McHale, a big man who can shoot and finish inside. It was apt, since McHale started out as a sixth man and McCleery was actually in that role, since Smart started Cole Hobin at the four-spot to try to match up better with Ottawa's quickness.
It was nip-tuck for much of the night and hopefully it was a good show for people who sought it out. Carleton had a 6-8 point lead from early in the second quarter on, with Ottawa getting within a basket only once after the break, which is a mellow-harsher if you'd like to see another team vying for the national title.
A lot can change between now and March, but Carleton won by 15 with their three best scorers each hitting for at least 20. On their end, though, the sun still comes up at the same time tomorrow and their routine doesn't change.
- From the Gee-Gees perspective: Ottawa, which got 18 points apiece from Josh Gibson-Bascombe and Josh Wright, showed for 30 minutes that it can hang with anybody. Not to presume anything about what goes through players' minds, but it seemed like little irritants became big irritants, starting with JGB getting two quick fouls within the first 6-7 minutes, one after bumping with Mike Kenny while pursuing a loose ball near the sideline. They fought the current pretty well, but eventually it was too tiring, especially since they're not as deep as Carleton (but who is anywhere east of B.C.?).
It's hard to get away from saying whether a team was tight or not; the Gee-Gees were just an inch or two off sometimes, and that can be the difference. Carleton had answers for them. Turnbull answered a three-point play by Dax Dessureault (13 points, nine rebounds) with one at the other end in the first half. Late in the third, Thompson stuck a three to re-open a five-point edge right to answer one by Warren Ward cut the score 54-52.
Midway through the fourth, Wright ripped the ball away from Turnbull and glided in for a layup; Turnbull ended up hitting a three on the ensuing Ravens possession to put them up 70-60. Rob Saunders got to the rim for a lay-in on the next possession and that was game over.
- Women's game — Carleton 62, Ottawa 53: Ravens guard Tayna Perry had 20 points and forward Ines Jelic had 18, including six in a row late in the first half when Carleton began taking over. Going strictly by (faulty) memory, they haven't necessarily been a big comeback team, so that's a change.
Ottawa (10-6) will need some help to wrest away a first-round bye from either Carleton or Toronto (both 11-5).
- The record crowd: A few commenters on the liveblog questioned the veracity of that 10,523 figure. Details. It was loud, and the atmosphere was conveyed well on TV, especially in the second game.
- No. 2 vs. No. 6 doesn't have the same sizzle: Our own Rob Pettapiece calculates the RPI for cisblog.ca, and that's where Carleton and Ottawa respectively were going into last night.
The UBC T-Birds (.613) inched ahead of Carleton (.610) by about half the width of a fingernail last weekend. Beating the Gee-Gees might help Carleton, although their one loss was to Windsor, which last night lost to Guelph, which is 28th in RPI.
- Knowing The Score: Rookie play-by-play man Jason Thom and Dore, doing colour, got better as the game went along, especially in the men's contest. Thom got off his best line in the first half after a missed-everything shot, "I think someone just opened the door to Scotiabank Place," joking that it had to be the wind that caused the airball.
At this level, enthusiasm counts for a lot in the broadcasters. Thom, a basketball guy, came across as very authentic.
- Bottom line: Good games, probably 4½ stars out of five. The 15-point margin for the Ravens men, not that anyone should think this way, gives Carleton a cushion if they end splitting the season series and both teams win out over their final six regular-season games.
- Golden Gaels: Former Queen's goalie Ryan Gibb was traded in the Central Hockey League yesterday, going from Laredo to the New Mexico Scorpions.
It's a minus-16 point swing in the standings for Gibb, who had put up a 2.96 goals-against average and .900 save percentage for Laredo. The glass-half-full outlook is that perhaps he'll get more ice time on a bad team, and more opportunity to show the whole gamut of his talents, kind of like when he played for Queen's.
Last night's postponed Queen's-Carleton game will be played Tuesday, Feb. 3