Saturday, 14 August 2010

New Mexico State 65, Carleton 53

Freshman Torontonian Christian Kabongo led four double figure scorers with 14 points as the Aggies built leads as large as 19 points, primarily on a stifling half-court defense which thwarted Ravens sets, allowing New Mexico State to finish 5-1 on their tour of Canada (including 1-0 in their only game against CIS competition). Steady 6'1" point guard Hernst Laroche (Montreal) added 13 points in 33 minutes for New Mexico State while 6'5" Tyrone Watson (Hamilton) got out in transition and had 7 points and 7 boards for the Aggies in the win.

It was apparent from virtually the opening possession that coach Marvin Menzies' group was well schooled on the defensive end, as their bigs were instrumental in helping to stop Carleton's ball screen action and the wings/guards able to guard the ball consistently, with little need for help. The result was an inability for the comparatively smallish Ravens to create advantages off the dribble that typically leads to open 3's or get the ball inside or rebound consistently, leading to a series of Aggie run outs and a 14-5 lead with about 8 minutes gone in the game. Later, the longer, more athletic Aggies weaved in a zone defense, doubling down on most post catches where quickness and size advantages created either poor looks or turnovers, allowing New Mexico State to maintain double digit leads for much of the affair, played in front of a half-full crowd estimated at just under 1,000 at the Raven's Nest.

Carleton 5'11" Willy Manigat (team-high 13 points on 3-5 3's and only 1 turnover in 24 minutes) was one of the few Ravens who was able to keep up athletically and in general the Ravens played every possession hard, allowing them to stay within striking distance until late in the second half. However, the Ravens never got the game under eight when it mattered, despite having several chances to get closer than that, the final time being with about 4 minutes left when 6'5" Kyle Smendziuk, who battled inside all night against a bigger Aggie group, got fouled inside and came to the line for two with Carleton down 61-53 and just over 4 minutes remaining. With the crowd sensing the final opportunity for any Carleton comeback to happen, Smendziuk (8 points in 20 minutes but just 4-10 from the free throw line), after a NMSU timeout, missed both and the Ravens did not score again.

Earlier, a couple of Aggie one and dones allowed the Ravens to creep to within 8 but a poor decision by Manigat in transition, leading to his only turnover of the game immediately followed by a jumper by slick-shooting 6'5" senior wing Gordo Castillo (13 points including 3-5 3's, team-high 7 rebounds in 40 minutes), Aggies best overall player on the night, re-cushioned NMSU's lead. While Carleton generally defended well as a group, the Aggies found their best matchup inside with 6'11" Hamidu Rahman dominating against an array of smaller, less athletic post defenders, going to the long-armed, smooth post on several possessions with good results (12 points on 5-5 shooting).

Without graduated 6'8" center Kevin McCleery as the offensive focal point, Carleton began their quest to find the player(s) to run their offense through and while 5'11" Mike Kenny battled hard against NMSU's steady 6'1" point Hernst Laroche, Kenny had two quick fouls on charge/block calls that both went against him early in the first half and was limited to only 22 minutes, going 1-7 from 3 and 1-9 overall. 6'3" Elliott Thompson also battled but was also only 1-7 from 3 as Carleton went only 7-32 (22%) from downtown for the game, usually shooting 3's with a hand in their faces as NMSU's length, whether from their man-to-man or zone, created problems. 6'5" Cole Hobin did his usual strong work guarding Castillo early and then switching off on the Aggie bigs occasionally and is trying to find his way offensively (10 points but only 1-5 3's).

Head Coach Dave Smart substituted his bigs liberally all night as Smendziuk, 6'8" Aaron Chapman, 6'8" Kevin Churchill and 6'6" Dan Penner all saw time in the post, with Smendziuk being the most active. Penner, who has seen limited action thus far in his Ravens career, looks much stronger and more athletic and certainly played with the confidence that should see him move into the discussion as a rotation-ready big. Regulars from last season Chapman (6 minutes) and 6'5" Tyson Hinz (9 minutes) saw limited action. 6'3" freshman Phil Scrubb came off the bench to play 28 minutes and had 5 points while getting acclimated while brother Thomas Scrubb started the game for Carleton.

New Mexico State was an efficient 53% from the field including 6-13 from downtown and outrebounded the smaller Ravens 38-28 although Carleton did get credit for 18 offensive rebounds. The Ravens were held to only 32% shooting from the floor, an indication of how strong NMSU's overall team "d" was on this night.

Carleton next prepares to meet Maine Black Bears two weeks from tonight at the Raven's Nest, part of a five game series for the Bears in Canada including 4 games against QSSF competition.


Ravens find out they have work to do (Ottawa Citizen)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought the Kondro article was a bit harsh on the Ravens.
The Ravens may have been the only true varsity squad NMS faced on this tour.
All the other teams were basically composite teams of current and graduated players.
The "Dawson College" team, especially, was bolstered with older former university players.
Carleton played the Aggies tough defensively, as one would expect.
But offensively, it was a struggle all night long.
Carleton passed the ball furiously around the perimeter on many possessions, desperately probing for a weakness that just wasn't there.
NSM badly out rebounded Carleton but it wasn't because the Ravens were not boxing out.
On many occasions the Ravens were in position to grab a board, only to have a pair of impossibly long arms reach above them to snare it.
Suffice it to say on most nights in league play Carleton won't face a roster of such long limbed athletes like the Aggies.
Still, the game thoroughly exposed Carleton's weaknesses.
The Aggies are really an exaggerated version of the York Lions, who will be the biggest and most athletic team Carleton will face in the OUA East this year.
York gave the reasons all kinds of grief at the Tait last year even with McCleery.
Now that he is gone, the post advantage certainly seems to have over to the Lions.
But it must be remembered it is only mid August...Carleton will get much better.