Ottawa, Ont – For the second straight game it was lights out for the Ottawa Gee-Gees who once again torched a NCAA division opponent with their three-point shooting earning them a well deserved 73-66 win over the visiting Vermont Catamounts of the American East Conference.
A day after shocking the Indiana Hoosiers by knocking down 18-0f-30 three-pointers for a 109-101 victory to kick off the 2014-15 schedule, the Gee-Gees were back it again, this time on their home floor of Montepetit Hall. Ottawa continued their three-point barrage making 12-out-37 shots from downtown (32.4%) to improve to 2-0 in the young season. The victory marks the first time University of Ottawa has beaten NCAA division teams on back-to-back occasions.
Fifth-year senior guard and 2013-14 CIS second-team All-Canadian Johnny Berhanemeskel continue his big game tradition against and NCAA teams with 26 points and four rebounds including 5-for-9 from deep. The sharpshooting guard scored 10 first-quarter points on 4-of-4 shooting to give the Gee-Gees a 23-18 lead after the first-quarter. Vermont used their superior height advantage and pulled down 10 first-half offensive rebounds to stay in the game, despite the Gee-Gees six first-half long range bombs, giving Ottawa a seven-point lead (40-33) at half-time.
The Catamounts continued to chip at the Gee-Gees lead in the third-quarter as Canadian freshman point guard Trae Bell-Haynes (Unionville, Ontario), (7 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds) and Drew Urquhart (Vancouver, BC) ) (4 points, 2 rebounds) made their presence felt in a physical quarter that end of the Gee-Gees holding a slim 54-50. The fourth and final quarter belong to Berhanemeskel who poured in 14-points in the fourth quarter to give the Ottawa their second-straight victory. Mike L’African struggled with his outside shot (1-6) and finished with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds and was the only other Gee-Gee in double figures.
“We were able to make three’s tonight, we didn’t shot it well, but they shot poorly, 2-for-18, the three-point shot was definitely the difference in the game, rebounds are even, free-throws were pretty close. Johnny hit some big ones for us in the fourth quarter tonight to help us out but it wasn’t pretty tonight” lamented Ottawa Gee-Gees fourth-year head coach James Derouin.
“We are fourth and fifth year guys we’ve had back-to-back medals at nationals, played big games in the final four in back-to-back years, this is the third year for these guys, they are veterans, they don’t get phased” added Derouin when asked to describe the maturity of composure of his team early on in the preseason.
Ottawa’s record versus NCAA division teams improves to 5-25 with the back-to-back victories over Indiana and Vermont. Their five wins ranks third amongst Canadian universities with Carleton Ravens with 16 wins and the UBC Thunderbirds at seven wins. Despite the historic lopsided results Derouin sees the positives in these games and hopes that more media attention is given to Canadian university basketball.
“To tell you the truth, when I first started I didn’t like these games I felt like they were early, I felt like we didn’t have anything to gain, we were so young and inexperienced we just come in take a beating and leave, and what was the point. But as we started to improve every year I started to get more and more excited about the games and started to understand how valuable th
ey are to exposing your weaknesses and that’s why I look forward to these games now.
“It sort of a family thing when it comes to CIS we are all pulling for each other, there is not a guy on my roster that was offered a scholarship by anybody so for us and these kids to pull back-to-back wins against teams that didn’t offer any of these guys I mean it’s great for them. You get a change to show these guys, Vermont didn’t offer a single one of these guys, We know Indiana didn’t which is fine that is a big program.
“To get a win over Indiana is something that these guys will tell their grand-kids about and that is really special, I hope that it continues to draw attention to just how good the basketball is up here and we should get not only media coverage, but television coverage this a really good product. We show NCAA games ahead before we show CIS games on TV. TSN has got five channels, Sportsnet has six channels and here we are beating NCAA teams. I like to see that being recognized. The win yesterday got North American attention, you Americans tweeting about it, got Canadians talking about it and even Americans that didn’t know we had a league up here, all of a sudden then know.”
“Hopefully people appreciate the product and how hard these kids work. Talk about kids that are full rides in the States, these kids pay tuition, these kids are training all summer long, these guys aren’t on full rides, that should be appreciated a little more” and win does that”
The Gee-Gees (2-0) will look to keep things rolling when it tries for three-straight victories over a NCAA opponent. Up next Ottawa will take on Illinois-Chigaco Flames on Wednesday August 13 at Monpetit Hall.
The Gee-Gees played without starting forward Gabe Gonthier-Dube and transfer Alex Ratte (Laurentian).
Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide 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.
Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights
Calgary Dinos senior guard Thomas Cooper had himself and impressive CIS/Usports career to say the least. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native, a 6-5, 200 lbs guard earned himself two first team All-Canadian awards while leading Dinos back to the championship game for the first time since 1966.
No. 1 Carleton Ravens 81-40 lock-up rivals No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees
Ottawa, ON – The twelve-time defending CIS/USports National Basketball Champions and No.1 Carleton Ravens went into Monpetit Hall and completely dominated the No. 2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, locking up their Bytown rivals with a blistering 81-40 win.
The Ravens, the top defensive unit in the country, allowing an incredible low of only 60 points to opponents, dominated every aspect of the much anticipated game holding Ottawa to four points in the first-quarter and thirteen in the second for a grand total of seventeen first-half points and 35-17 half-time lead.
The first-quarter ended with Ravens leading 11-4 as both teams slugged it out in front of a jam packed standing room only Monpetit Hall which hasn’t seen the Gee-Gees get dismantled like this on their home floor in 32-game OUA conference games – snapping home winning streak which dated back to 2012.
Fifth-year senior Guard Connor Wood caught fire in the second-quarter after a cold start scoring all but 14 of the teams 24 points in the quarter and finished with 16 in the half and game-high 19 points. Starting point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane added 10 points, six rebounds in just 19 minutes.
The Gee-Gees were limited to 6-of-32 (18.8%) shooting, 3-of-17 from the outside in the opening 20 minutes and managed to only connect on 12-56 (21.4%) of their field goal attempts for the entire game and only 6-of-26 from the outside.
Carleton shot 50% in the second-half and finished 31-68 from the floor and 13-of-28 from downtown while turning the ball over 9 times compared to the Gee-Gees 18.
The 40 points allowed by the Ravens is their lowest against the Gee-Gees since a 74-34 smack-down in January 18th, 2012 at the Sixth Annual Capital Hoops Classic.
Carleton Ravens 6’10” freshman Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) and senior forward Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) finished one point shy of double-doubles with 9 points and 8 rebounds respectively, and shutdown the Gee-Gees dynamic duo of Caleb Agada (12 points, 4 rebounds) and former Ravens Jean Emmanuel Pierre (7 points, 6 rebounds). Gee-Gees Guard Brandon Robinson had a team-high 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-4 triples.
Carleton’s record stays unblemished at a perfect 10-0, 16-0 against Canadian competition and 22-2 overall with the only losses coming from two NCAA opponents on the road in Rhode Island – Providence Friars 87-69 and in Philadelphia against LaSalle Explorers 79-73.
Both teams will meet again in just over two weeks (Feb 3rd) at the 2017 Capital Hoops Classic at the ScotiaBank Centre.
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