6’4″ Zane Martin had 15 of his team-high 17 points after halftime, going 6-9 from the floor in the final 20 minutes and leading game-deciding 30-8 run in the third quarter as Towson moved to 2-0 on their tour of Canada with a decisive 76-64 victory at Carleton tonight.
6’5″ senior Mike Morsell added 13 points and 6 rebounds including several tough takes inside as well as an important three for Towson during the third quarter run as the Tigers were able to score virtually at will in the second half (19 for 36 from the floor) against a Ravens group that has no real shut down defender, smaller guards than normal and, at least tonight, a definite lack of consistent rim protection. Carleton did get a 19 point deficit down to 8 midway through the fourth but Martin, Morsell and 6’3″ Brian Starr had their way scoring over the smaller Carleton guards and Towson’s superior athleticism took over.
Ravens started very well defensively and on the offensive glass, building a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter as 6’6″ T.J. Lall and 6’3″ Marcus Anderson made a series of early 3’s and Carleton had numerous second chances. But Carleton went about 10 minutes with just one field goal and fell behind by 8 before a late second quarter flurry put Ravens up by 1 by halftime.
5’10” Emannuel Owaatoah, who started off 0-4 and hit the bench with 2 quick fouls, came out on fire early in the second half with 5 consecutive points to give Carleton a 6 point lead and it appeared the Ravens would pull away with their usual post-halftime run. But the Tigers stiffened defensively and got out in transition, even knocking down three 3’s in the third for a dominant run that put the game away with leads as large as 18 by the end of the third quarter.
With only two experienced Carleton-system veteran seniors on the floor tonight (7’0″ Cam Smythe and 6’5″ Mitch Wood), this Ravens group is much less experienced in the Smart coaching system arguably than any other team in the Smart coaching era and, at least at this early stage, there were numerous holes exposed this evening.
Defensively, Carleton struggled on the perimeter when the ball got below the foul line given the lack of size and strength at the guard spots, as Towson’s guards either shot over or through Raven defenders. While Carleton did win the rebounding battle early, Towson was able to reassert themselves on the glass (8 second-half offensive rebounds) and get to the rim much easier than against team’s of Carleton past.
6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor had the game’s first bucket on a first-big pin down in the paint but scored only 1 point thereafter, missing several bunnies inside and remains a work-in-progress as a finisher. Smythe remains a solid role player but hardly the post presence who can be counted on to run offense through. Wood, while a tough defender who understands positioning and plays with a fiery grit that is contagious, is simply very limited as an offensive player and athlete in this kind of game.
Lall looked comfortable as a starter and made three 3’s in a solid effort while Anderson is trying to take the offensive reigns after the losses to graduation of 6’4″ Connor Wood and 6’2″ Kaza Kajami-Keene. Owootoah – all 17 of his points after halftime – showed some flashes of offensive brilliance but again had difficulties when bigger defenders closed out on his perimeter shots (3-11 3’s) and struggled guarding down the stretch.
Expect the Ravens roster to be augmented before the start of the season as the end of the bench had some new faces (stay tuned) but regardless of any potential new influx of talent, this may be coach Dave Smart’s most challenging season since he arrived at Carleton.
Ravens host Alabama on Wednesday after the Tide hammered McGill by 40 tonight.