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Scorching Wisconsin Badgers regroup take down Ottawa Gee-Gees improve To 1-1 on Canadian tour

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Ottawa, Ont. – (BasketballBuzz) – A night after finding out that Canadians can shoot and play the game they invented the University of Wisconsin Badgers rolled into Montpetit Hall focused and eager to get their first win of their 2013 Canadian Tour.

The Ottawa Gee-Gees coming off a 90-74 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs in their NCAA preseason opener came out gunning from beyond the arc and opened up the game on a 9-2 run and found themselves up 41-36 late in the first-half. But Wisconsin closed out the half on 19-3 run, took a 55-44 advantage in a well played opening 20 minutes and never looked back to defeat the Gee-Gees 101-92 and even their preseason record to 1-1.

For the second straight night 6’7 sophomore forward Sam Dekker led the way for the Badgers with a great all-around game, finishing with a team-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shots.  Dekker absolutely destroyed the Gee-Gees on both ends of the floor while picking up eight rebounds, seven assists in the process and leaving Gee-Gees head coaching James Derouin searching for answers.

“Well, I mean they have an NBA caliber guy, in Dekker, he’s a nightmare match-up, you put a big on him he can blow by you, put a small guy he can post up.” “He hits threes and can rebound well.” described Ottawa Gee-Gees Head Coach James Derouin after the game.

“We don’t see a guy like that too often.” concluded the fourth-year head coach.

Badgers Head coach Bo Ryan has seen plenty of talented players during his 13 years at Madison and also believes Dekker has the ceiling to be amongst the top players in the country.

“He’s a very a good player, he’s one of the best players in the country, is one of those guys that wants to get better, hes learning, I mean he is a high level college basketball player.”

Mike L’Africain controlled the Gee-Gees offense early and scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first-half. Johnny Berhanemeskel also showed signs of brilliance adding 23 points and five rebounds. Other Ottawa players in double figures were sophomore guard Moe Ismail who came off the bench and finished with 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting from behind the three-point line.

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The Badgers shot a scorching 56.5% from the field and 57.7% from the outside – nailing 15-out-26 three-pointers. Ottawa also shot the ball well going 47.8% and burying 13 three-pointers in a single digit losing effort.

Overall the Badgers displayed significant improvement from their preseason opener, they shot the ball well, displayed their front court versatility and looked like a team that could be dangerous once Big Ten conference play roles around.

Starting guard Ben Brust rebounded well from a poor showing against Carleton with 18 points and five triples. Other Badgers players to reach double-figures included George Marshall 15, Duje Dukan 14 and Frank Kaminsky with 12 points and 4 rebounds.

“I think we were more comfortable on the offensive end, if you saw and broke down our game we got in our sets much quicker and got shots, against Carleton we didn’t get as many good shots, we have a lot of good shooters and if we get open looks we are going to knock them down” discussed Dekker after the game.

Wisconsin will now travel to Toronto for game against another Ontario University Association (OUA) East opponent when it visits the Ryerson Rams at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The Gee-Gees will take on the Syracuse Orange next.

Game Notes
Ottawa Gee-Gee’s point guard Mike L’African injured himself late in the game and is expected to miss the game against the Syracuse Orange.

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NCAA

Montreal’s Bennedict Mathurin commits to Arizona Wildcats

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montreals bennedict mathurin commits to arizona wildcats
Montreal's Bennedict Mathurin selects the Arizona Wildcas

The Arizona Wildcats got a big time commitment from Bennedict Mathurin — Canada’s top guard in the class of 2020.

The 17-year old Mathurin opted to reclassify from the 2021 class — fast tracking his potential NBA eligibility in the process. Standing at 6’6″, 195 pounds, the Montreal native has all the attributes to make an immediate impact at the NCAA division I basketball level — with a NBA ceiling written all-over his resume.

Perhaps not a household commodity, due to his lack of participation in any Canadian FIBA youth sanctioned events — Mathurin was named MVP of the 2019 Canadian National Basketball U17 Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The Canadian guard/forward led a loaded Quebec team to a perfect 5-0 record — claiming the province’s first U17 title since 2010. Mathurin dominated the entire tournament, including a electric, eye-popping 33 point, 7 assist, 6 rebound performance in the opening game against Team Ontario.

In the championship game against same Ontario squad, Mathurin was equally impressive — scoring 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in the 84-77 victory.

Mathurin is currently showcasing and strutting his growing all-around game in Mexico City as part of NBA Academy Latin America — an elite basketball training center for top male and female prospects across the Caribbean Central and South America.

The Canadian prospect kicked off 2020 and new decade in style with a 30-point, 6 rebounds outburst in a 93-74 win over FC Barcelona U18 team at the Hospitalet tournament.

A lockdown defender with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander like wingspan, Mathurin has the ability to get from the three-point line to the rim with just one dribble. At 6”6′ he’s also able to see over much smaller defenders and is a willing and effective passer that looks to attack at rim can finish with through contact.

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Part of the continuous and overflowing rising crop of future NBA talent from Canada’s second largest city — Mathurin may just be the top guard to come out of Montreal since current Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort pledged allegiance to the desert State of Arizona.

montreals ben mathurin nba academy vs champlain st lambert
Montreal’s Ben Mathurin – NBA Academy takes one Champlain St. Lambert

Holding multiple offers from the likes of NCAA basketball programs as Virginia, Alabama, Washington State and Nebraska — Mathurin narrowed his decision to the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks.

“Those two schools were my finalists because the other schools recruited me a little later, and I said to myself, that if I was going to visit other schools it was going to take a lot more time to get to know the coaching staff and also lots of time to get to know for example who (players) was coming back and leaving.” discussed a well spoken Mauthrin in a live french announcement during half-time of the Toronto Raptors’ and OKC Thunder game.

On what tipped the balance between the two finalist schools, Mauthrin added that the “history of Arizona, the style of play and the fact that every player has a role, and that is my style of play.”

For head coach Sean Miller the commitment of Mauthrin is a significant scoop for a player that was just starting to gain national notoriety and will likely mature into another future Canadian NBA player.

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NCAA

Abu Kigab career night powers Boise State Broncos

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abu kigab career night powers boise state broncos

Canadian Abu Kigab (St. Catherines, Ont.) dropped a career best 33 points, 11 rebounds to power the Boise State Broncos 103-72 past the CSU Northridge Matadors.

The 6’7″, 211-pound junior forward was efficient as a heat pump, knocking down a hot 11-of-16 field-goals, 3-of-4 triples and 8-of-9 free-throws in just 26 minutes — including a two-hand alley-oop — to bring the home crowd to it’s feet while recording his 30th point.

Kigab’s output is one the best performances by a Canadian playing NCAA DI basketball and as per the Broncos’ public relations team “It’s just the 17th 30 & 10 game all-time by a Bronco and seventh in the last 25 years.” Chicago Bulls’ rookie Chandler Hutchison was the last Boise State player to reach the milestone — erupting for 39 points and 14 rebounds at the 2018 NIT.

“We were all making the right play and some nights that’s just how it is,” Kigab said. “I just go out there and try to win the game. I’ll do whatever it takes. Sometimes I might have to score more, sometimes I need to rebound more, sometimes I need to pass more. Whatever my team needs, that’s what I’ll do.”

Highly recruited coming out high school, Kigab was part of the historic Canadian national team that captured the country’s first-ever basketball gold medal at the 2017 U19 World Cup. The hybrid forward averaged a double-double with 14.7 points and 10.6 rebounds — earning a nod in the all-world all-star team alongside MVP RJ Barrett.

Must Read:  BasketballBuzz CIS Men's Basketball Top 25 Power Rankings Week 5 - Dec 06 2011

Abu Kigab commits to Oregon Ducks

The St. Catherine’s product committed to the Oregon Ducks — playing a season and half before opting to transfer to Boise State. Kigab showed promise in his first three games under Dana Altman hitting double-figures scoring in all three non-conference games before completely falling out of the rotation. In 45 games with the Ducks, Kigab scored just a total of 82 points while playing only 418 minutes.

Since becoming eligible and joining the Broncos starting lineup on December 22, Kigab has helped the team to a 3-1 record — including two straight double-doubles and has scored a total of 64 points.

Based on early results it’s fair to say that the change in scenery and shift from the Pac 12 brand of basketball to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) has benefited Kigab’s game.

The Broncos compete in the tough Mountain West Conference with the likes of San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico and Nevada. The Conference has a history with Canadians and holds the title of producing former Running Rebel and No. 1 NBA pick Anthony Bennett. The MWC currently features eight Canadians across multiple teams — including Elijah Mitrou-Long (UNLV), Nolan Narain, Sabry Philip and others.

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