Looking to keep their record perfect, the no. 2 ranked uOttawa men’s basketball team will travel to southern Ontario for road games at the University of Waterloo (1-3) and Wilfrid Laurier University (3-1). The two teams play very different styles but, like the Gee-Gees, both love to shoot the three-ball, which is something uOttawa will be focusing on in practice this week.
The Gee-Gees are coming off two big wins last weekend versus the Laurentian Voyageurs and the Nipissing Lakers. Johnny Berhanemeskel went about his business once again for the Gee-Gees, posting 20 or more points in both games in limited time on the court. The fifth-year is averaging 22.8 points per game while dishing out six assists season.
It has been the play of unexpected sources that has been most impressive however as the emergence of Matt Plunkett and the reliability of Matt Nelson are important aspects of the Gee-Gees season so far. Plunkett has come off the bench and averaged the third highest points per game on the team with 13.0 while pulling down 6.0 rebounds, all in only 19.0 minutes per game.
The third-year’s play has been turning heads as he was named the uOttawa Male Athlete of the Week and has been garnering attention from opposing teams. Nelson has also made his contributions, averaging 7.5 points in 11.0 minutes of playing time while shooting a CIS-best 92.8 per cent from the field (15-of-16).
“Matt [Plunkett] has been fantastic for us so far this season. It's made our team even deeper, especially while Alex Ratté has been out with injury. Matt Nelson has also made a big jump this season and has been an impact for us. Both are big parts for our success this year but also moving forward,” said head coach James Derouin.
Ottawa will start of the weekend at Waterloo on Friday night for what is expected to be a low-scoring game with the Warriors defensive style of play. Waterloo ìs currently 1-3 and coming off the first win of the season, which over the Queen’s University Gaels. Still Waterloo will have to try and put a stop the country’s highest scoring team as the Gee-Gees currently average 104.2 points per game, 10 points higher than any other CIS team.
“We feel really good now but we still feel we could do better. As weird as this sounds we feel like we aren’t as good offensively as we could be. We are missing some easy reads here and there but that’s easily fixable. On the plus side we are feeling optimistic about our defence and we can tell we are getting better,” said Gee-Gees fourth-year Vikas Gill, who has transitioned to the post position this season after playing forward for most of his CIS career.
“Personally I love playing post because I used to play it in high-school. Shooting threes is always fun and all but the change for me is extremely welcomed and it makes the game much easier for myself. The transition has been very smooth and I think it fits well into this year’s plan,” added Gill.
On Saturday night the Gee-Gees will tip-off versus the Laurier Golden Hawks who are currently riding a three-game win streak after dropping their season opener to the Ryerson Rams. Laurier has upheld its reputation as an offensive team this season, ranking third in field goals attempted per game with 73.0. Laurier has also given up the fifth most turnovers in the CIS, however, with 11.8 per contest - something the Gee-Gees will certainly attempt to exploit.
“I am expecting two very different looks this weekend. Waterloo is strong defensively and will try to slow the game down while Laurier is very talented offensively and will be tough to stop. Both teams love to shoot the three ball. So we will have to focus on that this week,” added Derouin.
Both games will tip-off at 8:00 p.m. and will be available for online view on OUA.tv