The Ottawa Gee-Gees opened up the 2011-12 CIS basketball season with a 73-61 defeat courtesy of the La Salle Explorers.
Using their height advantage and senior guard leadership, the Explorers took a 34-24 halftime lead over the Gee-Gees. Ottawa played evenly in the second-half and occasionally cut the lead to as low as five points, but was unable to get any closer.
“We gave a good effort against a good three-point shooting team that made shots against us in the second half,” head coach Dr. John Giannini. “Our guards look like veterans and our big guys, who I think are going to be very good, looked like they were in their first game.”
In an impressive debut, freshmen Gill Vikas connected on 6-of-10 three pointers to finish with a game-high 20 points. Sophomore forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubee was equally impressive and finished 16 points and four rebounds, but shot only 6-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Michael L’African another impact recruit for head coach James Derouin started the game and was the top assist man with four. Although undersized at the point guard position, L’African did a great job running the Ottawa offence against some pretty tough defence.
Johnny Berhanemeskel also contributed for Ottawa with 11 points and four rebounds.
Senior Guard Earl Pettis scored 18 points on 4-for-7 from downtown, and junior Devon White added 13 points for the visiting team.
La Salle shot 28-of-61 for 46%. Ottawa was 20-of-54 for 37%. The Explores held a 32-26 advantage on the glass.
The Gee-Gees were without the services of all-star guard Warren Ward and Shamus Ferguson (Toronto, ON) a 6’9, 235-pound centre transfer from NCAA Division 1Arkansas Pine Bluff.