Plunkett leads the way for offence as Gees down the Voyageurs 93–81
The Gees took the first step towards a national title on Saturday, Feb. 25 when they faced off against the Laurentian Voyageurs in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarterfinal.
The Gees came out strong, going up 9–2 early in the first quarter. But the Voyageurs battled back, taking a 12–11 lead, their first and only of the game, with just under three minutes left in the period.
The Gees didn’t let the Voyageurs gain any momentum, storming back to enter into the second quarter up 22–12.
The Gees extended their lead in a mostly back-and-forth second quarter, going up 43–29.
After missing two weeks with an injury, and only playing 16 minutes in last week’s game, fifth-year Caleb Agada led the team with 13 points in the first half.
The third quarter saw the Gees break away from Laurentian, riding the high off of their excellent three-point shooting. Matt Plunkett drained three from behind the arc, and Gage Sapean added two of his own to put the Gees up 71–49 going into the final quarter.
The Voyageurs pushed back in the fourth quarter to get within 10 points of the Gees in the final minute. Frequent fouls disrupted the flow as the game wound down, and when the final buzzer went, the Gees had soundly defeated Laurentian 93–81.
Matt Plunkett lead the way offensively for the Gees with 18 of his season-high 21 points, and five of his game-high six three-pointers, coming in the second half.
Head coach James Derouin said he wasn’t overly concerned with Laurentian’s push at the end.
“It kept to a three or four possession game and the clock was in our favour there. So my biggest concern was just (that) the fouling was going to keep stopping the whistle and stopping the game and the clock and that was going to extend the game. But we managed to make our free-throws and they missed some shots late and ended the game.”
The Gees now move on to the final four, where they will play Ryerson. The two teams most recently met on Feb. 18, with the Rams coming out on top 94–88.
“I’m looking forward to seeing another Ottawa-Ryerson game, that’s for sure,” said Derouin. “I mean, the last one was amazing: big baskets, star players playing well. We’re really excited about making it to the final four, no matter who we face.”
“Any chance in the OUA you make it to the final four, you’re lucky to be there.”
While Derouin was happy with his team’s effort, he still sees areas they need to improve ahead of the OUA final four.
“The offensive rebounding and the box-out’s our major concern. You know, 23 offensive rebounds for (Laurentian) today kept them in the game and gave them the extra possessions and that’s something we’ve got to clean up. We can’t keep giving the ball back after we get the good stops.”
Since consistent shooting has been somewhat of a struggle for the team this year, Derouin was pleased to see his players stepping up and sinking some threes.
“Our shooting has been inconsistent. There’s times it looks really good. There’s times it looks really bad. I can’t tell you the answer, but to get (Sapean) and Plunkett going from three tonight, (Adam Presutti) made a big one as well. I mean, the threes help us. We’ve got to make shots to win this thing this year and it’s good to see a few go down today.”
The OUA final four takes place at the Ravens’ Nest on March 3 and 4. Ottawa will play Ryerson at 8 p.m. on March 3, and the gold and bronze medal games will take place on March 4. Tickets can be purchased from the Carleton Ravens’ website.