OTTAWA — Dave Smart keeps claiming Carleton is building, but did his team really need that many bricks from Victoria?
Carleton made sure everyone could start working on those 'can Acadia do it?' stories early, showing the Vikes how to slow the tempo and still score in an 83-46 win that capped Day 1 of the CIS Final 8. The Vikes went through a 13-minute, 56-second stretch from late in the first quarter to the first minute of the third where they did not score a single basket.
These Ravens have encountered trouble spots where they put opponents in a deep freeze but gets turgid offensively itself. That didn't happen, as they produced a 42-point first half while barely going to their out pitch, the three-ball. After autopiloting home, they might have enjoyed that for a nanosecond before shifting focus to Acadia and Owen Klassen, which played Carleton close for more than 30 minutes at the 2012 nationals in Halifax.
"He's going to be a problem for us," guard Clinton Springer-Williams, who had 15 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting, said of the 6-foot-10 Klassen. "He's a really good post. We really got to control him and make sure he's not effective as normal."
"We had a good game," Springer-Williams added. "If we play defence and rebound like we can, we should have a lot of games like that."
Phil Scrubb had 13 for Carleton. Kevin Churchill had 11 off the bench. Michael Acheampong had 13 for Victoria.
It's probably a little from Column A and a little from Column B, but Carleton wasn't statistically outstanding, by its own standards, and still won by 37. It avoided turnovers at the same rate it usually does with 11 and only nabbed a couple more rebounds than is typical for this team. Part of that was Carleton being good, while part of that was Victoria struggling to execute its patient game against the team which wrote the book on it. Victoria had the dual dubious distinction of a season low for points and for margin of defeat.
"They struggled shooting the ball early and then they got themselves in a hole," an empathetic Smart said. "The one thing we are is a tough team to play when you get in a hole. They're a good team. They beat up UBC a couple times. To be one of the two teams to come out of Canada West, you have to have a really great season. What I think happened is that from the first quarter through the second quarter they missed some shots. Maybe a little of that got in their head from the first time we played them [last fall]."
It was a much more thorough first-round win than Carleton had in 2008 and '10 when it hosted the Final 8 but lost on Semifinal Saturday. That doesn't necessarily portend anything for a matchup against a much more athletic Acadia team with Klassen and Tyler Scott, who had 29 points in the Axemen's win over UBC.
The 2008 semifinal was a long time ago, but that Acadia team had size inside and was potent from the perimeter, not unlike Steve Baur's current Axemen. Klassen requires extra attention inside, while the likes of Scott, Anthony Sears and Carleton transfers Anthony Ashe and Sean Stoqua can be prolific.
"They're as talented, if not the most talented team in the country," Smart said. "They have toughest matchup. People can debate whether he [Klassen] is the best player in the country, but he's certainly the best matchup and everything goes through him. They can really score. Scott, Anthony Ashe can really score and Sean Stoqua has played in my [Ottawa Guardsmen] club program since he was in Grade 8.
"I think with a guy like Owen, it's really tough to be successful doing one or two things," Smart added. "We've worked hard all year on trying to do some things differently on posts. I'm sure whatever we pick to do will be the wrong thing to do and then we'll be down and have to come back."
Shutting down Acadia from the perimeter will also be paramount. When Carleton has lost, it's because teams were hot from outside.
"We just got to focus on not letting him go to his strengths," Springer-Williams said of Scott.