Highlights of the week so far for top 10 teams: Carleton continues to dominate opponents using their end-of-benchers, Lakehead gets a 'royal' breakout game from a bench forward and Laurier gets bailed out by their fifth-year leader.
RPI available here. This post will be updated as results come in.
1. Carleton (No. 2 RPI, SRS +25.2) 102-53 win vs. Waterloo (no. 34 RPI), 84-68 win over Laurier (no. 13 RPI).
To follow up last week’s barnburner vs. Lakehead, we had… well, whatever this was. A 22-point lead after one quarter for the Carletons is a good way to make sure nothing interesting happens all night.
One funny thing about Carleton crushing teams so badly is that their starters rarely have to play much in the second half. That lets a guy like Cole Hobin, who could probably fit in on any lineup and score 15 if he was asked to, average 4.6 points per game. That also means you get a chance to see guys like Dan ‘Fred’ Penner lead all scorers with 22 (including five threes).
I think anyone expecting a major showdown between the Ravens and Golden Hawks was probably expecting a bit too much. Yes, Laurier was undefeated, but they've been feasting on overmatched OUA East opponents, three of which went winless against the OUA West in the crossover portion of the schedule. Not to sound like a drive-by "HOLY COW LET'S JUST GIVE CARLETON THE TITLE NOW" analyst, but do the Ravens really need to play the second semester of the regular season? Unless Ottawa surprises everyone and wins the Capital Hoops Classic, or if Tyson Hinz accidentally breaks his elbow on Phil Scrubb's face in practice and they're both out for the year, the loss column should be a goose egg for the Ravens heading into the playoffs.
To play Devil's advocate, It's worth pointing out, as Wayne Kondro did here, that Carleton played the best West teams - Lakehead, Laurier and Windsor - on the second night of back-to-backs, and that they really haven't faced still competition yet. But yeah, the East is that bad.
2. St. FX X-Men (No. 1 RPI, SRS +13.4), off for holidays.
Off until the Rod Shoveller Tourny. Until then, they’ll work on not having to bail themselves out of late games against lesser foes. Also, cue the ‘good teams find a way to win’ argument.
3. Lakehead Thunderwolves (No. 12 RPI, SRS +7.6), 91-76 win at York (No. 43 RPI, also known as DFL), 99-95 win over Laurentian (no. 29 in RPI).
Overcame a sluggish start to pull away late from the Lions in Toronto.
The best part about this game (apart from the appearance of Ben Johnson’s increasingly robust afro) was Brendan King’s career night of 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting. King is a guy loaded with potential who has played most of the past two years behind Yoosrie Salhia and Ryan Thompson. His low-post scoring game, which should be complementary to his frontcourt mates’, is another weapon Lakehead can use to do one of the things they do best: create mismatches on offence.
In the Saturday nightcap, it looks like everyone but Greg Carter forgot to play defence, and the GGODs' solid execution down the stretch saved them from an upset loss to the Voyageurs. In the category of 'sweet,' Joe Jones hit every one of his 12 shots (including five free throws) he took inside the arc, while Jones and King combined for 46 points and exactly zero rebounds and zero assists. Just shoot, baby.
4. Saskatchewan Huskies (No. 3 RPI, SRS +14.6), off for holidays.
According to Jamelle Barrett, Ibuprofen can cure broken bones.
5. Victoria Vikes (No. 6 RPI, SRS +9.6), off for holidays.
Thank ‘gang rebounding’ and stingy defence for the Vikes’ surge to an undefeated season so far.
6. Alberta Golden Bears (No. 4 RPI, SRS +12.5), off for holidays.
The Gateway has a cool website, but it could do to show Jordan Baker, Daniel Ferguson and the fellas some love.
7. UBC Thunderbirds (No. 17 RPI, SRS +9.0), off for holidays.
They might still be steaming from their two losses last weekend, but at least the T-Birds have some pretty sweet jerseys this year.
8. Wilfrid Laurier, (No. 13 RPI, SRS +7.6) 77-76 win at Ottawa (no. 16 in RPI).
The moppy-haired superstar from Stratford is at it again - that’s right, folks, Kale Harrison nailed a three pointer with 8.6 seconds to go to let Laurier escape Montpetit Hall with a victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Also, 'Worldwide' Warren Ward is apparently such a star in the nation’s capital that it’s cool just to refer to him on a first name basis in the third graf of a gamer.
Hard to put much stock into losing to Carleton a night after the Hawks spilled their guts on the floor against Ottawa. A 7-1 record heading into the break is all this team could realistically hope for, and they're in good position to challenge Lakehead for the West title in January and February.
9. Fraser Valley (No. 7 RPI, SRS +7.9), off for holidays.
The Cascades get remarkably little love in the world of CIS hoops media, so here’s a picture of a kitty.
10. Concordia Stingers (No. 8 RPI, SRS +7.5), off for holidays.
If the Stingers want to return to the Final 8 this year, they’ll need to work on closing out games better and play with more intensity, says Stingers guard Evens Laroche.