Reading Time: 2 minutes

Questionable officiating, lackluster play proves problematic as team takes first loss of season to rival Ravens

Photo: Marta Kierkus

The 2015 edition of the Capital Hoops Classic was the largest and most hyped yet, drawing a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) record of 10,780 people to the Canadian Tire Centre on Feb. 6.

The number-two Ravens flew in from a rougher road than usual, having posted losses to the number-one Gee-Gees and number-six Windsor Lancers this season, while the Gee-Gees came to defend their undefeated streak on the season.

But the story of the game quickly became less about the players and more about the referees.

In the first 20 seconds, Gee-Gees star Caleb Agada was called on two fouls for seemingly innocent plays, forcing him to the bench to prevent fouling out early. As the game moved along, the Gees were consistently called for the littlest of infractions that most referees would let slide. The Gee-Gees finished with a total of 22 fouls, most of which were dealt to their leading scorers.

Turnovers were also a big problem: The Gees accumulated 12 while Carleton had just four, partially because of defence but also because of petty calls. The crowd was regularly raucous about their disapproval of the officiating, and that criticism extended to a hostile Twitter feed.

But the Gee-Gees were not without their own major faults, making the mistake of forfeiting a 13-point lead to the Ravens before coming back again. The team did not execute well enough to find a good rhythm and get a solid lead. Carleton’s shooting touch became too difficult for the Gees to match in the fourth quarter when Ottawa surrendered the lead, ultimately falling 79-66.

Shooting guard Johnny Berhanemeskel carried the load for the Gees with a 28-point, five-assist performance, while bench production was once again only in the hands of Matt Plunkett, finishing with 10 points for the night.

As most of Carleton’s wins go, the question always comes to which Scrubb brother was the lynchpin that night. This time it was Thomas Scrubb, who posted 29 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists to lead his team to a win.

Gee-Gees forward Vikas Gill rated the effort of the team in their first matchup against Carleton on Jan. 10 a “10 out of 10,” but said they only gave half that at Capital Hoops.

“We let Phil and Tommy (Scrubb) get to the paint way too much,” said Gill. “They’re too talented to let them get there. We need to work on our defence and keep them out of the paint.”

Head coach James Derouin said his team will still have another chance to regroup, and take another hit at the Ravens.

“We’ll wait for our next chance against these guys,” said Derouin. “It’s pretty clear what we did wrong, I think it’s something we’ll be able to fix moving forward, and we’re looking forward to the next time we meet them.”

The Capital Hoops Classic itself outdid its reputation this year, with the record attendance responsible for an atmosphere and energy unrivaled by any other single CIS game in the country.

“It was phenomenal,” said Gill of the atmosphere inside the arena. “In my four years, it was by far the best I have ever been a part of.”

The Gee-Gees will be on the road for their next games Feb. 13–14, where they travel to take on the struggling York Lions and Queen’s Gaels in Toronto and Kingston.