Gees now 13-0 after match ups with Western and Windsor
Photo credit: Remi Yuan
The nation’s number-one ranked team has been on an absolute tear since first stepping on the court this season.
Their stampede over Ontario University Athletics (OUA) competition slowed but didn’t stop during one of the longest road trips of any team in the conference.
The Gee-Gees first pulled into London to meet a Western Mustangs team on the edge of the country’s top 10.
Although more heralded as a football rivalry, the Gee-Gees had their hands full against the province’s other pack of horses. The Mustangs’ only losses this season had come against top-ranked teams and they looked eager to take on the best.
The Gees were without the services of their injured starting point guard Mike L’Africain, pushing Medhi Tihani into the lineup.
Western fought early to keep the game in reach before surrendering a 10-point lead after the first quarter. The Mustangs would rally before the half as they outscored the Gee-Gees by six-points, leaving Ottawa with a narrow five-point lead into the second half.
The Ottawa squad’s starters were able to keep the Mustangs at arms length and pulled away in the fourth to secure a 90-82 win.
There were a handful of times where the game was too close for comfort, but behind the performance of Caleb Agada, Johnny Berhanemeskel, and Vikas Gill, the Gee-Gees moved on unscathed.
Conversely, the second-ranked Carleton Ravens ran into the staunch defence of the number-five Windsor Lancers and were handed their second loss of the season.
The Ravens’ loss could have big implications for seeding in the playoffs, but also for solidifying the Gee-Gees as the best team in the country.
The Gees moved down Highway 401 to take on the strong Lancers team invigorated by the previous night’s win against Carleton. Windsor’s gym was packed as two of the nation’s best collided.
Windsor could not match the size and athleticism of the Gee-Gees despite their poor shooting performance. Both teams had times when they could not settle into a rhythm, but yet again, the game was never in doubt for Ottawa. The game ended 81-70 in the Gees’ favour.
Through foul troubles and minimal bench efficiency, Gees head coach James Derouin had to rely on his star seniors to secure the victory.
Guard Berhanemeskel had 22 points, eight rebounds, and three assists on the night, and forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue posted 18 points along with five rebounds and assists.
The Gee-Gees have not seen a loss from Canadian competition since last year’s CIS final.
Ottawa’s next game will be against the 0-12 Algoma Thunderbirds on Jan. 30. From there, the team will go straight into preparation for another clash with the Ravens for the Capital Hoops Classic at the Canadian Tire Centre on Feb. 6.