It was a tale of two different halves on Sunday when the Gee-Gees welcomed the Memphis Tigers to town for their final match-up against NCAA competition. When all was said and done, it was a combination of cold shooting from the Gee-Gees, stingy Memphis defence and strong shooting that led to a 34 point third quarter for the Tigers which was the difference in the game as they cruised to a 104-89 win.
The University of Memphis had five players in double digits as Nick King led the way with 25 points on 11-15 shooting, while pulling down seven rebounds. Kuran Iverson followed with 18 points and five assists. As a team, Memphis out-battled the shorter Gee-Gees squad in the paint as they captured 39 boards, compared to Ottawa’s 23.
After shooting a blistering 63.2 per cent (12-19) from long range in the first half, the Gee-Gees came out of the half-time break flat, shooting a dismal 3-18 from the field in the quarter. They pushed back in the final frame but the deficit was too much for the Gee-Gees to overcome versus a team such as Memphis.
“We definitely got exposed in the post and on the offensive glass today. That is why you play these games though. I give full credit to them they came out of halftime ready to go and it ended up being the game. We didn’t respond as well as we did versus Indiana and that would turn out to cost us tonight,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.
“If someone would have told me a week ago that we would win three games and take only one loss in these games against NCAA opponents I would be really happy. There is obviously a lot of positive here. We walk away with the same focus as last year as we head into training camp. If we can defend and we can rebound, offence will take care of itself,” added Derouin.
Johnny Berhanemeskel, who is heading into his final season with the Gee-Gees, continues to post impressive numbers against NCAA competition this pre-season with another big night, scoring 33 points and adding four assists on 12-15 shooting. He and Mike L’Africain have been pivotal for the Gee-Gees so far in this young season as they have been the team's highest point producers and driving motor. L’Africain finished the game with 20 points, six assists, and four rebounds.
“We didn’t play as well as we should have in the second half so it’s a good lesson for all of us. Offence will happen, we know that, but what you do on defence and the ways you communicate and talk. All the things you can control are going to make the biggest difference down the stretch. At the end of the day, every team is going to be this good when you get far into the season so you have to figure these things out sooner than later,” commented Berhanemeskel.
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