Team looks ahead to nationals after OUA loss

Ravens dominate the glass; Western to work on shooting, rebounding for CIS

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Reaching for the ball

Laura Barclay

SLIPPIN’ THROUGH THE FINGERS. A loose ball escapes the grasp of Mustangs forward Keenan Jeppesen in Saturday’s Ontario University Athletics men’s basketball final at Alumni Hall. The Carleton Ravens defeated the Mustangs 71-57 in front of the home crowd.

On Saturday afternoon, the Western Mustangs were looking to win the Ontario University Athletics championship by defeating the Carleton Ravens, but instead were roundly outplayed and suffered their fourth loss of the season, 71-57.

“I just think that we battled for 40 minutes,” Ravens head coach Dave Smart said. “We managed to keep ourselves in the game when we were struggling by rebounding, keeping some loose balls alive and giving ourselves some extra possessions.”

The Mustangs were looking to get a big win and gather momentum heading into the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships this weekend in Ottawa.

However, the Ravens consistently out-hustled and out-worked the Mustangs on both ends of the floor and never let Western into the game after going up by as many as nine points in the first quarter.

On the offensive end, the Ravens were extremely efficient and unselfish.

In a credit to the incredibly well-balanced attack instituted by Smart, eight Ravens players scored at least six points, while game MVP Stuart Turnbull of Carleton led all scorers with 19.

“We didn’t do anything special out there; we all just play our roles. It’s a big stage and an important game, but we are just trying to get better for nationals,” Turnbull said.

The Ravens ran a pick and roll offence with great ball movement throughout the entire game, giving themselves numerous open looks from beyond the arc, which they converted at a decent rate, shooting almost 40 per cent from the floor for the game.

Even when the Mustangs did force the Ravens into misses, the entire Carleton team swarmed the offensive glass and got rebounds, giving themselves numerous second-chance opportunities.

The Ravens out-rebounded the Mustangs 45-28 in the game.

“We got dominated on the glass out there tonight. We need to rebound better and be more confident with our shooting if we want to win in the national tournament,” Mustangs forward Brad Smith said.

The Ravens used their production on offence and on the glass to lead the Mustangs after every quarter; only trailing for the first few minutes of the game after the Mustangs came out with intensity and quickly went up 4-0.

This early production was not a sign of things to come however as Western was horrendous from the field, converting less than 30 per cent of their field-goal attempts for their worst offensive output of the season.

This was largely due to Carleton’s play on the defensive end.

“Carleton is the best defensive team in the country,” Mustangs head coach Brad Campbell said.

“If you are going to play [them], you need to create open looks and make the shots. I think that today we had the opportunities because we did create those open looks, but didn’t bang them down.”

Carleton shut down the painted area with its impressive interior defence while simultaneously contesting every shot Western took from the outside.

To their credit the Mustangs continued attacking the rim and for stretches they were successful at scoring and drawing fouls. They cut a 19-point lead to 11 in the fourth quarter, but their lack of shooting success limited their ability to contend.

Mustangs forward Keenan Jeppesen played well with 14 points, 11 rebounds and a terrific defensive showing and Western’s leading scorer Smith chipped in with 16 points, but did so on five of 17 shooting.

After the game the Mustangs were looking forward to nationals and not dwelling on the loss.

“It was a great learning experience for us,” Campbell said. “Whoever is going to win nationals is going to have to beat Carleton and we just saw what it is going to take today. We are going into nationals and hopefully we are going to get a rematch next week.”

The Ravens finished the OUA regular season and playoffs with a 24-1 record and will go into nationals ranked first overall in the CIS. The Mustangs are seeded fourth.

SCORING SUMMARY

  1 2 3 4 F
Western 12 11 14 20 57
Carleton 19 14 18 20 71

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette