Every year, it seems like the Carleton Ravens graduate a great player or two. From Osvaldo Jeanty to Aaron Doornekamp, big players come and go from the Ravens program. So how come when those players graduate, the team never seems to lose a step in competitiveness? Anyone who coach Dave Smart's Ravens play this weekend probably got a good idea why.
Carleton took a trip down the 401 and defeated two top-10 opponents with a mix of stingy defence, balanced team play a game plan that limited their opponents' most dangerous weapons.
On Friday, Phil Scrubb led the Ravens with 26 points on just 14 shots in a 91-66 win over the Western Mustangs. The win saw Carleton dominate the glass (36-22) and share the ball well, tallying 24 assists on 30 made baskets (generous courtside statisticians aside [ed. note--way to foreshadow a future article, Mr. Decker. -RP]) over the Mustangs, who got just 17 points from their frontcourt duo of Andy Wedemire and Adam Jespersen.
For their follow up on Saturday, in the biggest matchup of the young OUA season, Carleton picked apart the Windsor Lancers with precision, once again sharing the ball, as five Ravens reached double figures, led by Scrubb and Elliot Thompson with 12 points each. Carleton once again found a way to neutralize the opposition's best, holding Andre Smyth and Issac Kuon to just 23 points combined.
Having crushed the best in the OUA West, the Ravens have a chance this weekend against Mac and Lakehead to prove, like always, they are the team to beat in Ontario once again.
While Carleton cemented its place at No. 1, St. Francis Xavier may be on the way down from its current perch at no. 2. In just their second game of the conference season, the X-Men fell to the Dalhousie Tigers after last-second three-point attempts from Charlie Spurr and Will Silver failed to prevent a 59-56 loss. St. FX made 23 turnovers and shot just 32%, looking sloppy in their only game in a two-week span.
The caveat here for the X-Men is that they were playing without two-time AUS MVP Christian Upshaw. Again, it's only their second game of the conference season, so as Rob said, it's hard to put a finger on exactly how good this team is.
Other top 10 scores:
#3 UBC Thunderbirds:
Josh Whyte reminded everybody why he's the Player of the Year, leading the T-Birds to two very efficient wins over Fraser Valley on Friday (84-68) and Saturday (92-82). Whyte totalled 41 points on 17/26 shooting, and UBC shot 50% or better in both games.
#4 Laval Rouge et Or:
Survived a scare from UQAM on Friday thanks to two late free throws from J.F. Beaulieu-Mahieux, whose clutch shots from the charity stripe earned the Rouge et Or a 72-71 win.
As close as that game was, Laval's adventure versus Bishop's on Saturday was that much of a blowout. The Gaiters trailed 82-33 after three (no, that isn't a typo) and Laval cruised to a 101-54 win. Laval's pesky defence forced the overmatched Bishop's squad into making 28 turnovers.
#5 Saskatchewan Huskies:
The new combo of Rejean Chabot and Jamelle Barrett is making Huskies fans miss last year's championship backcourt duo of Showron Glover and Mike Linklater a lot less. Chabot and Barrett led the Saskatonians to a pair of dominant wins (99-51 Friday) and (115-62 Saturday) over the lowly Winnipeg Wesmen, including 36 from Chabot and 18 points and 13 assists from Barrett on Saturday. That game saw Saskatchewan shoot an absurd 68% from the field.
Chabot and Barrett are leading what has been a very, very potent Huskie offence (100.7 team ppg over last six games), and have fit in pretty much as well as anyone could have expected this year.
#6 Concordia Stingers:
Enjoyed an off week. Will play McGill and Bishop's next week.
#7 Trinity Western Spartans:
Took care of business, defeating the Alberta Golden Bears 96-83 on Friday and 89-78 on Saturday. Jacob Doerksen posted ho-hum (for him) lines of 23 points, 6 boards and 4 assists on Friday and 25, 6 and 2 on Saturday.
#8 Windsor Lancers:
Got some good news with the return of star scorer Kuon from an ankle injury, but fell as mentioned above to Carleton after beating Ottawa 84-81 in overtime on Friday. Windsor has some nice complimentary pieces in Enrico Di Loreto, Monty Hardware and Lien Phillip, and I'll give Kuon a pass for returning from the injury to face some big-time opponents, but the fact of the matter is that the Lancers can't expect to win games if their horses Kuon and Smyth only attempt 19 combined shots, as they did in their loss to Carleton.
#9 Western Mustangs:
Got nice performances out of Wedemire and sophomore guard Quinn Henderson, who scored 18 points in the Mustangs' 76-71 overtime win over Ottawa, saving a 1-1 weekend after losing to Carleton on Friday.
#10 Toronto Varsity Blues:
Are starting to make some noise as a potential challenger to Carleton's OUA East crown after starting the conference season 5-1. Took care of business at home in beating Brock 96-86 behind 25 points from burly forward Andrew Wasik and double-doubles from Drazen Glisic and Alex Hill, and followed that with an 86-70 win over Guelph, a game in which Hill went off for 27.