Rookie Alex Carson summoned his inner Stephen Curry to help the Tigers’ men’s basketball team defeat the Cape Breton Capers 95-60 at the season opener on Nov. 4 at the Dalplex.
Carson was the Tigers’ prized off-season recruit and it didn’t take long for him to prove why. He hit five out of six three-point shots to tie with teammate Jarred Reid for a game high 18 points.
“The sky is the limit for him,” said Tigers’ head coach Rick Plato on Carson. “The two things about him that make him special is he is a great kid, he has got unbelievable work ethic and he can shoot the basketball as you saw tonight.”
Carson credits his teammates for helping him have a strong offensive night.
“I’m just finding my open spots and getting ready,” said Carson. “My teammates are penetrating and I know they are looking for me so I just got to get my hands ready and knock them [shots] down.”
Dalhousie went on an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the game and did not let up. Sven Stammberger got the Tigers first five points which were followed up by the Tigers hitting five straight three point shots from guard Ritchie Kanza Mata and forward Carson. Jean-Louise Kenny scored eight points to lead the Capers in the first quarter but the Tigers were up 27-13 going into the second.
Carson and Kanza Mata continued to lead the way for Dalhousie in the second quarter, both scoring six points. Kashrell Lawrence scored the most impressive bucket in the quarter. He stole the ball at his own three-point line, ran down the court and scored a layup while taking contact and battling two defenders. The Tigers took a 52-29 lead into half time.
Reid took control of the third quarter for the Tigers. He scored 12 points, which was the same number of points the Capers scored in the same quarter. Alex Carson hit his most impressive shot of the night as he scored a three pointer while off balance.
In the fourth quarter with a 76-41 lead the Tigers rested their starters. Both teams scored 19 points in the final quarter. Jack MacAulay scored 13 points to lead the Capers while Sasha Kappos scored eight points for the Tigers. Kappos made use of his 6’10 height to get the ball in the paint and finish layups.
The Tigers were efficient in the offensive zone. They shared the ball and hit a good number of their shots. They had six players score three or more points. They shot 55.4 per cent of field goal attempts and hit 45.8 per cent of their three point attempts.
“It was just a good team effort. You know, I can’t really single one guy out cause they all played really really well,” said Plato.
The Tigers are battle hardened coming into the season. They played six Ontario teams plus Concordia and University of Maine on the road during the pre-season. They only lost two of the eight games.
“That was by design,” said Plato. “I wanted to toughen us up.”
Carson credits the pre-season for helping him prepare for his first university basketball season. He also says it helped the team get to know each other.
“We really came together over those three weeks of pre-season tournaments,” said Carson
The Tigers held Cape Breton to 60 points in the game. Plato wants his team to hold every team they play to 60 points. Plato understands that is a huge expectation for a team that held teams to a league best 74.1 points per game last season.
“I just believe they can do it if they want to and for us to be the team we want to be…it starts in the defensive end,” said Plato.
The Dalplex was packed for the team’s home opener with an official attendance of 660 people. Carson hopes that many people will show up for every home game.
“I love all the fans that came out tonight. It’s great to have that atmosphere,” said Carson. “Hopefully it’s like that for the whole season and we will keep winning for them.”
Even with a 35-point victory Plato knows he and his team cannot get cocky.
“I take nothing for granted, not in this league. You can’t afford to take anything for granted.”