Gee-Gees look strong ahead of big game despite Ryerson loss
The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team are now 13-5 on the season heading into the Capital Hoops Classic.
Starting off their four-game homestand versus the York Lions and Queen’s Gaels, it appeared the visiting teams were going to be no match for the home team in this house.
Gage Sabean led the way with 17 points versus York on their way to a 92-58 routing.
“I was really happy with our defence in the first half especially, it really set the tone for the game,” Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin said. “Gage came aggressive shooting the ball, that’s always helpful. And Kevin Civil, one of our rookie point guards, really had confidence out there tonight.”
In the second game versus Queen’s, the rookie Civil was strong once again with 17 points as they beat the boys from Kingston 84-68.
The Jan. 25 game was a different story, with the team facing a big challenge in the second-seeded Ryerson Rams.
For a while in the first quarter, Ryerson dominated the Gee-Gees and took an early 11-0 lead. Sabean, Calvin Epistola, and Makenzie Morrison would each sink two-pointers, cutting the Rams’ lead to 11-8, but they wouldn’t get much more as Ryerson would take the first quarter 20-10.
‘’We came out flat. I mean we spotted them 11 in the first two minutes, down 20-10,” Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin said. “I think we won the next three quarters and were pretty much basically tied. If I could get that first quarter back, we had some great looks after that.”
Despite being down 32-14 at one point, the Gees did push back. It was not enough to take the lead, and the game finished 85-75 at the final buzzer.
‘’Brendan (Morrison) had a layup in and out, Gag looked good—once we got past the first quarter I was happy with our effort,” Derouin said. “Some of our young guys stepped up. Kevin, Guillaume (Pépin) especially as rookies—I really liked what they did in the second quarter for us.”
Pépin thought his team did better this time, commenting on what his team did differently versus their last Ryerson game.
‘’Having home court advantage helped—at Ryerson we really struggled to hit our threes, but tonight we were able to, so that helps and it gave us the result we got,” Pépin said. “We also played good defence, but it’s hard to guard guys like (Jean-Victor) Mukama.’’
The next night, the Gees faced an easier adversary to gain some confidence back heading into the big game.
Taking on the U of T Varsity Blues, Sabean had a 30-point night, while Civil had another big one on the way to a 96-69 blowout.
Now the Gees will face off against the top-ranked, undefeated Ravens in a showdown that promises plenty of action and major playoff implications.
Earlier this season, the U of O dropped their first matchup vs Carleton 87-69. They have not played the boys from across town since, and are looking to get some revenge on the biggest stage of the year.
The men’s Capital Hoops Classic tips off at 8 p.m. on Feb. 1. at the Canadian Tire Centre.