Gage Sabean puts up team-high of 15 points after returning from injury
The University of Ottawa men’s basketball team opened their second homestand of the season against the York University Lions on Friday night. With an excited home crowd in the bleachers, the Gee-Gees aimed to stay undefeated in the 2019-20 regular season.
Ranked third in the country, the Gee-Gees were 6-0 in the regular season as the game kicked off.
Montpetit Hall welcomed Gage Sabean, a fourth-year guard who averaged 15 points per game last season, back to the court after an injury that forced him to miss the beginning of the season.
Wearing their home greys, the Gee-Gees won the opening tip-off thanks to centre Marlon Kordrostami who sent the ball to Calvin Epistola.
After the first 10 minutes of play, the Gee-Gees trailed 20-17, but in the second, the U of O turned things around. An early jump shot by Kordrostami gave the Gee-Gees their first lead of the game 23-22. Three-pointers by Sabean, Thomas Chilton, and Sean Stoqua put the momentum on the home team’s side and extended the Gee-Gees lead to 47-35 at the end of the half.
In the second half, nearly every Gee-Gee on the court contributed points. With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Sabean sank another basket from behind the three-point line to make it 60-37 for the U of O.
At that point, Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin put some new faces into the game for the Garnet and Grey. With a mix of rookies and vets on the court, the Gee-Gees maintained their lead. Chilton, Dragan Stajic, Charles-Antoine Gaba, and Cole Newkirk all contributed to the score as first-year players.
“We have a bunch of kids who work really hard and earn minutes,” Derouin said after the game.“I’m really thrilled with the rookies, I think we’ve got a really special group.”
In the final 10 minutes of play, the rookies continued to show their presence. Stajic put up a three-pointer, and Newkirk threw in a flashy dunk. The game ended as a 100-75 win for the Gee-Gees. In his return, Sabean put up 15 points.
“Having Gage back makes a huge impact. He is one of the best shooters in the country, he showed that tonight,” said freshman player Newkirk. “He made the shots he needed to make.”
Kordrostami also contributed with 15 points, while Epistola added 14 points and Stajic 12 points.
Now 7-0, the U of O has found success while having to adjust the line-up due to injuries.
“We’re helping each other on and off the court, making sure everyone understands what this program is about,” fourth-year player, Olivier Cadieux said.
“It’s really about building some kind of flow with the key pieces,” Derouin said. “The bump in the road is whether we can get everyone healthy and everyone playing in time to catch a really nice rhythm for the nationals in March.”
the team will be back at Montpetit Hall Gym at 8 p.m. on Nov. 23, to take on the 6-3 Lakehead team and close out the weekend. Holding on to third in the country, the Gee-Gees will look to stay perfect in the season.
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