6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor had 16 points and 11 rebounds while unheralded 6’0″ Yasin Joseph came off the bench to ignite a third-quarter rally with back-to-back threes as Carleton completely turned it around after a listless effort on Monday night against Towson to defeat Alabama 84-71 before a standing-room only crowd at the Raven’s Nest in Ottawa.
Unlike Monday when Ravens struggled to get north and south off the dribble, missed several open perimeter looks and generally defended with little energy, Carleton came out focused, establishing a quick 11-2 lead on heels of consecutive 3’s by 5’10” Eman Owootoah and 6’6″ T.J. Lall. Ravens made 6 of 11 threes overall in the first 10 minutes to lead by 10 and led by as many as 14 before going into halftime up 11.
Carleton pushed ahead by about 14 early in the third when Tide coach Avery Johnson switched to a zone and Carleton was stymied offensively. Several Alabama run outs and threes later, Bama rode a 15-0 run to lead by 1 midway through the third and it appeared that the consensus Top 25 team in the USA would pull away. But then Joseph (19 points – 15 after halftime, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) took over, knifing in the lane off the dribble for a high-off-the-glass lay-up and then knocking down consecutive 3’s to bring the crowd into it again and Ravens were never threatened thereafter.
6’4″ Mitch Wood (7 points, 3 rebounds) shook off a tough game Monday night with a sterling effort at both ends, getting to the rim with his left hand, knocking down an open 3 and then later a 15 footer as the fourth-year senior displayed the type of leadership a great team needs in these types of games. Ekiyor was active all evening competing around the rim and finished numerous tough takes inside after missing several bunnies against Towson.
But Joseph was a revelation tonight. Now in his fourth season out of Ottawa Glebe, Joseph barely dressed for his first two seasons and was 11th-12th man last season but is another testament to the ridiculous work coach Dave Smart and staff do developing players. Joseph was fearless attacking Alabama’s guards off the dribble and challenging the long, athletic Tide front line, turning the game around.
Lall finished with 12 for the Ravens with 4 3’s in all while steady 6’3″ Marcus Anderson added 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, also competing on the glass. In all, Carleton shot 12 for 29 from three offsetting a 9 for 40 effort on Monday vs. Towson.
The Tide has at least three players who will likely have careers in the League led by 6’7″ sophomore Braxton Key, who has an NBA body already, handles it, can guard virtually any position 1 through 4 and has steady 3 point range. Key, who finished with 14 points including 3-4 3’s tweaked his knee late in the fourth and came out of the game, as did stocky 6’3″ guard Collin Sexton, another virtuoso in the back court who was playing just his second-ever college game but showed a maturity and strength with the ball beyond his years. Sexton finished with 15 points and 8 assists in 30 minutes while fellow freshman 6’5″ John Petty showed off his sweet stroke with 16 points on 4-7 from downtown – Petty, a Top 30 player who chose the Tide over Kentucky, also has a chance at a career in the League with a quick release and fine touch.
Alabama moves across town tomorrow to face uOttawa Gee-Gees featuring several new players including 5’11” point guard Sean Stoqua, the Ottawa native who transferred from Acadia.