Jean-Louis comes up big off the bench with 16 points to pace Gees

The University of Ottawa Men’s basketball team took to home court following a 74-53 loss to cross-town nemesis the Carleton Ravens at the Raven’s nest, a result Gee-Gees fans have come accustomed to hearing. But the Gees were looking to respond at home against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs on Nov. 17 following a disappointing effort at Carleton.

Both teams went back and forth early on. Western led 8-6 four minutes into the game. Alex Muise hit a nice three-pointer from a great pass by Calvin Epistola to cut into Western’s lead. Turnovers were hurting the U of O in the first, they had eight giveaways in the first eight minutes and trailed 12-9.

Coach James Derouin talked about his team’s early struggles. “It was a grind out there tonight, it was an emotional week. That’s our fourth game in seven days,” said Derouin. “Western defended our stuff really well, they gave us problems all night. Our turnovers really let us down.”

The first quarter wasn’t kind to the Gees as they struggled with ball control and missed a few easy shots on the offensive end.

Western started with a quick three to draw their lead out to 17-11, but Gage Sabean came right back with a three of his own. Kenny Jean-Louis started to catch fire in the second quarter with six points in a two-minute span. The Gee-Gees had a 20-19 advantage with 6:39 to play.

A big three-pointer by Brandon Robinson as the 24-second shot-clock expired and gave the Gees a 23-21 lead with five minutes left to play. A good defensive block by Chase Tynes resulted in a three-pointer on the other end by Mackenzie Morrison. It continued to be a tight affair, and the Gee-Gees had a close 30-28 lead with 1:30 left.

Despite a rough start, the Gees looked to improve as the game went on, outscoring the Mustangs 19-14 in the second quarter on their way to a 30-28 lead at half. The Garnet and Grey were winning the battle on the boards with a 23-12 advantage, but Western had the ball control advantage, forcing the Gees to turn the ball over 13 times.

Turnovers continued to plague the Gee-Gees offense, but they remained in the game trailing 33-32 with 6:40 to go. Robinson showed great hustle to run the floor and swat a Western layup off the glass.

Eriq Jenkins was continuing to hurt the Gees with 15 points, giving the Mustangs a 46-42 lead going into the final quarter.

Jean-Louis got the Gees started in the final frame with a big drive and layup. Sean Stoqua hit a corner three to tie the game 49-49 with just under eight minutes to go. Sabean hit a corner three to give the Gees a 52-49 lead with less than seven minutes remaining.

A Pierre-Charles layup from Robinson gave the Gees a 57-54 lead with three minutes to play. A Jean-Louis three gave the Garnet and Grey a 60-56 lead, but Western responded with a drive to cut the lead to 60-58 with 1:26 to go.

Another big three from the Gees, this time from Epistola on a great feed from Stoqua continued to help put the game out of reach for the Mustangs. A Pierre-Charles and one with 17.8 seconds left ultimately put the game to bed.

Big shots and stops were made when they needed to be, coach Derouin said of his team’s clutch play. “We made big buckets and big stops when we needed to tonight, Kenny obviously gave us a great lift off the bench, and Calvin hit a big three down the stretch.”

The Gee-Gees next home game will take place on Jan. 5 against the University of Toronto at Montpetit hall at 8 p.m.