The Carleton Ravens should be familiar to the more astute college basketball fans out there, with the Canadian college basketball power showing up on schedules as an opponent either during an NCAA team’s summer trip to Canada or in the preseason. And the Ravens have enjoyed some success in recent years, beating Wisconsin last summer and beating Memphis twice during the Tigers’ trip north of the border this past summer.
Carleton’s won ten of the last 12 Canadian national titles, and on Sunday they played an exhibition against Syracuse for the second consecutive year. Led by brothers Phillip and Thomas Scrubb the Ravens led by as many as 15 at one point, only to see sophomore guard Ron Patterson and senior forward Rakeem Christmas spark a second-half comeback for the Orange.
Patterson scored 12 of his 15 points and Christmas scored all 13 of his in the second half as Syracuse won by the final score of 76-68. Of course freshmen Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough will get much of the early attention for the Orange, given both their talent and the production Syracuse lost from last season’s team (Tyler Ennis, C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant), but the “supplementary” options will be just as important in 2014-15.
All 12 of Patterson’s second half points came from beyond the arc, and area that proved to be problematic for Syracuse last season. The Orange shot just 33.1% from three in 2013-14, a figure that ranked tenth in the ACC. Of course much was made of their issues putting points on the board as well, with Syracuse’s ability to hit the offensive glass aiding them for much of the season, and with Christmas, McCullough and Tyler Roberson the Orange have the bodies needed to earn second-chance opportunities.
But as we saw during their season ending stretch of six losses in their last nine games, that won’t be enough. If a player of Patterson’s caliber can step forward, and Trevor Cooney avoids the slump he was mired in for much of last season, Syracuse will be better equipped to account for the loss of three of their top four scorers. Joseph led Syracuse offensively with 19 points to go along with four assists (one turnover), and McCullough added 14 to go along with six rebounds. And after struggling defensively in the first half Syracuse limited Carleton to 29 points in the second.
Above are highlights from the exhibition, courtesy of Syracuse Athletics.