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Memphis Tigers roar back with 104-89 win over Ottawa Gees-Gees

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Ottawa, Ont – The Memphis Tigers continued to improve and show signs of a team coming together with a dominant second-half performance to defeat the Ottawa Gee-Gees 104-89 in a high-scoring NCAA/CIS preseason affair at Monpetit Hall in the Nations Capital.

Much like their first game against the Carleton Ravens the Tigers found themselves starring at the barrel of yet another three-point barrage as the Ottawa Gee-Gees nailed 7-of-8 triples in the first quarter and jumped out to an early 31-25 lead over the Tigers who shot 10-16 (62.5%) in the quarter but found themselves trailing by six points after the first ten minutes. Gee-Gees back-court duo of Mike L’African and Johnny Berhanemeskel knocked in nine points each for Ottawa. Memphis got a strong start from Shaq Goodwin and Chris Hawkins with six early points.

The three-pointers kept on coming in the second quarter as Ottawa cashed in onfour straight triples and extended their lead to a game-high 50-37 (13-points) with 3:53 remaining in the second-quarter forcing a Memphis timeout. The Tigers returned from the huddle and outscored the Gee-Gees 10-3 to closeout the half trailing 53-47. The Gee-Gees knocked in an additional five triples in the quarter and shot a torrid 12-of-19 (63.2%) from the outside in the first-half. Johnny Berhanemeskel finished the half with 19 points on 7-of-9 shots, a perfect 4/4 three-pointers and Mike L’African added 15 on 5-of-9 triples. The Tigers got 8 points in the quarter from sophomore Nik King and shot 21-35 (65.6%) in the opening 20 minutes.

Memphis came out of the locker-room focused and continued where they left off in the first-half by completely dominated the Gee-Gees in a decisive third-quarter in which the Tigers ripped off 21-5 run grabbing a double-digit lead at 68-56 with 3:38 remaining in the quarter. The Tigers limited the Gee-Gees to just 1-of-6 shooting from outside in the quarter and pounded the ball inside, outscoring Ottawa 34-13 for 81-66 lead after three-quarters. Determined to keep their perfect start to the season the Gee-Gees got off to a quick start in the fourth and despite Berhanemeskel’s 12-point quarter which helped cut the lead to single digits, Ottawa had no answer for Memphis when they pounded the ball inside and on the glass.

“We attacked the paint, made free-throws and hurt them on the glass, but the first-half they were shooting and I was like does anybody miss in Canada?” mentioned Memphis head coach Joshua Pastner during post game.

One area where the Tigers have not struggled with his three-point shooting after going 2-of-9 in the loss to Carleton Memphis connected on only 5-of-15 from outside the arc. “We are going to have to spend more time in the fall, this is an area that we really have been exposed and we gonna have to spend time making shots” added Pastor

Nick King (Memphis, Tenn./East) led five Memphis players in double-figures with a team-high 25 points and seven rebounds. 6’9 sophomore Kuran Iverson added 18 points, 6 rebounds and five assists and Shaq Goodwin finished with 16 points, 5 blocks and 2 blocked shots. “We are progressing as a team, we are young team, we are playing hard and crashing the glass. Coming to Canada we knew these teams could shoot, but we didn’t know they could shoot this well. The coaches said we weren’t rebounding at half-time and had to lock-down on their best player.”

Must Read:  Carleton Ravens outlast rivals Gee-Gees in epic 111-107 triple-overtime classic

“Coming into the third-quarter again we came together as team in the locker-room and established what were going to on defense and the game-plan and just went out there and executed.” discussed Shaq Goodwin after the game.

“Ahh man great country, great country we love it, beautiful city, beautiful food can’t wait to see more of it. Everybody in Canada has great hospitality, you walk down the street people speak to you, [Hey, how are you doing?] have a casual conversation , it’s great coming from the US where it’s very rare to find that.” add Goodwin when asked to describe is time in Canada.

Ottawa was paced by fifth-year senior guard Johnny Berhanemeskel’s 33-points on 12-of-15 shooting including a perfect 5-5 from downtown. Mike L’African was held in check in second-half and finished with 20 points, six assists and a team-high four rebounds in 35 minutes and Caleb Agada chipped in with 10 points, two rebounds and two assists.

“Today we got exposed on the post, on the o-glass also turnovers and bad shots, give all the credit to Memphis their defense was extremely active to start the third-quarter and it gave us fits and we crumbled under the pressure.” Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin commented in our post game interview.

“I’m disappointed that, I’m disappointed because I thought we lost our composure, we lost our poise and for a fourth and fifth-year veteran team, obvious some of that was due to the opponent but I though to come out in the third-quarter we really just layed an egg out there, came out selfish we didn’t take care of the little details like finding a body and boxing out. End of the second-quarter and start of the third-quarter was the game right there.” Derouin continued.

Memphis finished the game shooting 64.1% on 41-64 shots and was better from the foul-line at 17-22 (77.3%). The Gee-Gees ended-up going 30-67 (43.3%) for the game and 17-35 from threes including a poor 14-of-23 from the charity stripe. Rebounding edge went to the Tigers with 39-23 (+16) advantage of the glass.

The win gives Memphis (1-1) their first win off the season and a taste of victory over a Canadian opponent. The Tigers will continue their Canadian tour with a game against the McGill Redmen (0-1) in Montreal.  The Gee-Gees wrap-up their NCAA schedule with an impressive 3-1 record which included wins over Indiana Hoosiers (109-104), Vermont Catamounts 73-66 and the University of Illinois-Chicago 79-76.

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New wave of Canadian Freshmen making NCAA splash

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New Wave Canadian Basketball Freshmen Making NCAA Splash

There’s a new wave of rising Canadians basketball players making an early NCAA splash. Below we take a look at freshmen players that are making their mark on the college basketball landscape. Like previous years, look for most of the names on this list to become household names come March Madness and a select few to continue Canada’s NBA takeover.

Oshea Brissett New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Oshea Brissett (Mississauga, ON) – Syracuse Orange

Oshea Brissett – Syracuse Orange

Brissett has been arguably the best freshman in college basketball. The 6’8″, 210 lbs forward from Mississauga, Ontario is beasting the opposition, averaging 13.6 points per game, including a team-high 9.2 rebounds (55th in all of the nation.) A true special talent, he has already racked-up four double-doubles in his first eight games, missing two more by just a single rebound. Look for Brissett to continue his torrid start to season as he helps the Syracuse Orange make a run at a conference title in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Although early in the season, Brissett is looking more and more like a true one and done prospect. Expect a green room invitation come June 2018 at NBA Draft.

Canadian Lindell Wigginton Iowa State Cyclones NCAA

Lindell Wigginton (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) Iowa State Cyclones

Lindell Wigginton – Iowa State Cyclones

Looking for stability at the guard position? Well, look no further than Lindell Wigginton. A true versatile bucket getter, with major hops (38″ vertical), he currently leads all Canadian freshmen in scoring at 16.3 points per game while contributing in other aspects with 4 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia product is shooting a healthy 46.3 % from the field,  48.9% from three-pointers and has reached double-figures scoring in 7-of-9 games, including a season best 28-points, 7 rebound performance against Northern Illinois. Although, the tougher part of the Big 12 conference schedule remains, it is clear that in less than ten games Wigginton has solidified himself as a go to option in the fast paced Cyclones offensive system. Expect the 6’2″, 188 lbs guard to flourish all-season long as he looks to fulfill is long time dream of playing in the NBA.

Nickeil Alexander Walker Virginia Tech Hookies New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Nickeil Alexander Walker (Toronto, ON) Virginia Tech Hokies

Nickeil Alexander-Walker – Virginia Tech Hokies

Must Read:  Ottawa Gee-Gees get past Vermont Catamounts for second straight victory over NCAA team

Talk about talent. Standing 6’5″ tall, weighing-in at 210-pounds, is Toronto, Ontario freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker. A diamond in the rough find for head coach Buzz Williams and Virgina Tech. The Hokies, traditionally not a prime destination for top Canadian prospects is seeing just how special Alexander-Walker can be early-on. The 19-year-old kicked-off his NCAA career with scoring outbursts against Detroit Mercy (24 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Citadel (29 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and is an integral reason for the Hokies early season success. A knock-down shooter (.529%, FG% .477% 3-pointers) with a 7-footer wing-span Alexander Walker is averaging 14.4 per game, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. A triple-threat he is comfortable handling the rock as well as, dishing off no looks, as he is scoring.

Shai Gilgeous Alexander Kentucky Wildcats New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Shai Gilgeous Alexander Hamilton/ON) – Kentucky Wildcats

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Kentucky Wildcats

It’s hard to talk about Shai-Gilgenous-Alexander (6’6″, 180 lbs, Hamilton/ON) without mentioning the aforementioned Nickeil Alexander-Walker. After-all, both are cousins, their names resemble each other, their games even more. What-else, they played, dominated and caused headaches for coaches as a dynamic high school back-court duo for Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, winning a State title along the way. Now they find themselves on the biggest stage of college basketball doing similar things for highly respected basketball teams. Despite coming off the bench Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 28.2 minutes per game, good for second on a team that also features a bevy of NBA prospects, including Hamidou Diallo, P.J Washington. A efficient natural stat-stuffer he’s averaging 10.1 points, a team-high 4.4 assists per game along side 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.

Marcus Carr Pittsburg Panthers New Wave Canadian NCAA Freshmen

Point Guard Marcus Carr (Toronto/ON) – Pittsburgh Panthers

Marcus Carr – Pittsburgh Panthers

A true floor general, Marcus Carr (6’1″, 185 lbs, Toronto/ON) has taken charge and ignited the Pittsburgh Panthers rebuilding offense. Carr’s strong play has propel the Panthers to a early four-game winning streak. The pass-first guard scored a career-best 23 points in a overtime win over St. Mary’s and has scored in double-digits in the five of the past six Panthers contests. Currently averaging 12 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds, including shooting a 48% from the field, 48.1% from downtown and Steve Nash like 921% from the charity stripe. Despite his size Carr is strong enough to finish through contact and loves to gets under your chin with defensive pressure.

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Montreal’s Luguentz Dort commits to Arizona State Sun Devils

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Montreals Luguentz Dort Arizona State Sun Devils

Five star Canadian Guard Lugentz Dort has committed to Bobby Hurley and the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Dort a 6-5, 220lbs, product of Montreal, Quebec has been one of the most exciting Canadian Basketball prospects in recent years, combining raw speed, with gifted athletic ability, the the 2018 elite top prospect is expected to boast the Sun Devils credibility in a tough PAC 12 conference.

Dort narrowed down his list of top schools from Baylor, eventually settling with the upstart Sun Devils program that will help him transition from a two-guard to a more accomplished point-guard.  After all, Coach Hurley knows a thing or two about playing the point, having played the position for the Duke Blue Devils  in the early 90’s and over 269 games in the NBA.

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Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada

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Alabama Crimson Tide Avery Johnson Return To Canada

The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.

The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).

The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.

Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.

Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the  2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.

Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.

Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.

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