Basketball: Belated Hoops Classic breakdown

Broadcasting and filing mostly on deadline (Wayne Kondro does both so much better every weekend) made for a pretty full Wednesday night. How's a guy supposed to enjoy a beer after the game, then get home and watch Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared on syndicated late-night TV? Some quick thoughts:

Men — No. 2 Carleton 74, No. 5 Ottawa 66
  • Almost a rout and almost close might be a good one-sentence description. Carleton (14-1 OUA) played its best in the high-leverage moments: the first half when it led by as much as 18 (38-20) and again late in the third quarter when it went on a 15-3 run to cancel out a 14-2 Ottawa surge led by Warren Ward (15 points) and Donnie Gibson (10).

  • Carleton big man Kevin McCleery's 24-point night included a dozen in each half. However, eight of the 16 Ravens turnovers ended up in his stat line, which suggests Carleton was out of synch by their standards. They also tired a little in the fourth quarter.

  • It is a credit to Ottawa (12-3 OUA) that it made a run, even though leading scorer (and CIS assists leader) Josh Gibson-Bascombe (13 points, nine assists) was unable to make a basket until 7:08 remained in the game. Ottawa coach Dave DeAveiro said JGB had to be "The Man" in a pregame interview, but it wasn't happening. (Instead of The Man, it was more Andy Millman in Extras, you know, in the background.) He fought through it, and his 10-point fourth quarter showed he is close to Canada's best on some nights. He went the entire 40 minutes, too.

  • How good a job did Cole Hobin and Carleton's defence do on Ottawa's big three early on? At the half, WWJD were shooting a combined 2-of-16 and the Gee-Gees' top scorer was second-year guard Max Clarkson, with six points on two threes. Clarkson is a great utilityman.

  • Former Ravens such as Ryan Bell and Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie seemed to always score when it was needed. Hobin got each of his baskets during that 15-3 Carleton run to close out the third quarter. Willy Manigat also had a nice driving layup to end the quarter.

  • The turnovers and some clock management choices were Carleton's bigger misgivings with its play. Dave Smart said they "responded like a young team" at times. They were good enough to be up almost 20 on a top-5 team, but didn't sustain.

  • Ottawa can take positives, although it is looking likely they'll have to get back to the Final 8 the hard way. That would involve either winning on Carleton's floor (in the regular-season game Feb. 20) or in the playoffs, or winning the OUA third-place game like it did last March.
Women — Carleton 53, Ottawa 40
  • The Ravens (12-4 OUA) spread the scoring around in fairly characteristic fashion, with Courtney Smith hooping a game-high 15 and three others counting at least nine. They might be the most balanced team in the East, seeing as leading scorer Alyson Bush averages only 11.

  • Neither team shot well (around 30%) in the arena environment. A common refrain that you hear on press row during Scotiabank Place games is, "it's cold," since you're at ice level. There's also on a few thousand people in their seats for the women's game, so it can feel pretty cavernous.

  • OUA scoring leader Hannah Sunley-Paisley (13 points on 5-for-14, 11 rebounds) had a tough go. She had to check out late in the first half after getting poked in the left eye and then missed three short-range shots in a row starting the second. That said, she is the real deal, fast for 6-foot-1. As noted in the comments, it was a wrinkle of Carleton's offence that the post (Ines Jelic) helps bring the ball upcourt when other teams are pressing. It's good to see that versatility.

  • Carleton's rookie contributors were heard from. Jessica Resch (10 points) was cold early in the game, but hit a three to help ice it in the fourth quarter. Six-foot-two Sara Hickman also had an athletic play in the fourth, stuffing a Gee-Gee and then managing to catch the ball as it dropped. She should have got credit for a block and a rebound on that play.

  • Just when HSP was missing those close ones, Smith hit a huge triple from the right wing that put Carleton up by 10. That really was the breaking point. Ottawa coach Andy Sparks noted afterward his young team (seven first-years) let the environment affect them a bit. Some of the young Gee-Gees, such as guard Catherine Cloutier, 6-foot forward Charlotte Mackenzie and guard Awo Farah (a left-hander!) showed a lot of potential. Ottawa's second and third scoring options, Melina Wishart and Emilie Morasse, were held to a combined six points, which they can't have.

  • Cloutier, for one, is already drawing offensive fouls at a fourth-year level. You couldn't help but overhear the cries of "flopper!" coming from the vicinity of the Ravens bench.
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  1. You think JGB is tired of being hounded by defensive specialists? He's been around long enough to have been covered by Ryan Bell, Rob Saunders and now Cole Hobin. I guess that's a tribute to his offensive abilities. You also have to credit him with not forcing shots in the face of that pressure.

    As for HSP and the ball pressure... When opposing teams press, Carleton uses their center (Innes Jelic) to bring the ball up. So HSP on the press was really just a function of man-to-man coverage on Jelic.

  2. Ottawa's key weaknesses was exposed in the men's game.
    One, lack of depth.
    The Gee-Gees may have a great starting 3 but it falls off considerably after that.
    Not only did it cost them the Carleton game but the loss against Windsor as well.
    Secondly, with the graduation of Dax Desserault, Ottawa has nothing remotely
    comparable to Kevin McCleery who, 8 TO's notwithstanding dominated at will.
    McCleery has strength, soft hands and agility that belie his size.
    A couple of inches taller and he would be NCAA Div 1 material.
    And Cole Hobin is the new Big Stopper for Carleton, following Rob Saunders and Ryan Bell.
    He is without question the go to shut down guy for Dave Smart.
    Should Carleton and UBC meet again at nationals, Hobin will be
    making another Josh's life miserable as he'll certainly be in Whyte's hip pocket all day.

  3. @4:52 ... makes more sense ... good to see that versatility on the part of each team's player, Jelic and Sunley-Paisley. It was impressive that HSP could run back once Carleton cleared midcourt. Ottawa got caught leaving the basket undefended a couple times, though.

  4. Well, it looks like the Ravens might be rewarded for their great play
    because tonight in Burnaby, Simon Fraser shocked UBC 82-79.
    The Birds were down 40-27 at the half and even though they scored 52 second half points
    it wasn't enough to preserve their unbeaten record.
    So maybe Carleton will slide back into top spot in next Tuesday's poll...
    pending of course, this weekend's results.