The uOttawa Gee-Gees completed a rare feat on Wednesday night when they defeated the University of Illinois at Chicago for their third consecutive victory against NCAA competition. The victory was not easily achieved however as the Gee-Gees trailed for most of the game only to come back in the fourth quarter and steal the game from the Flames, taking the win 79-76.
Johnny Berhanemeskel was dynamite once again for the Gee-Gees as he posted 25 points - the third consecutive game to start the pre-season that the fifth-year put up 25 points in a game. The Ottawa native shot 10-15 in the game and 5-8 from long distance while dishing out eight assists, and sank the game winning three-pointer with 38 seconds on the clock. The Gee-Gees shot 15-44 from long distance as a team and 44.1 per cent overall.
″They had a style of play that was fun to play against this early in the season. We practice throughout year, trying to achieve that level of intensity, so to have a team come here and bring that type of competition and physicality is great for our development,” said Berhanemeskel in a postgame interview. ″When you put in the work on a regular basis and work hard, you deserve to have confidence. We have a lot of players that can hit big shots and we all believe in each other and when you play that type of basketball, good things happen.”
uOttawa fell behind coming out of the halftime break and trailed by more than 10 points midway through the third quarter as UIC’s Gabriel Snider poured in the points for the Flames, finishing with 28 points and eight three-pointers in the contest. As a team the Flames were effective from long range as they shot 46.2 percent with 12 made treys in the game.
uOttawa was able to make some big stops on the defensive end to keep UIC at arm’s length for long enough to go on an offensive run, scoring 26 points in the final frame. The Flames found themselves down by three points with possession of the ball with 14.1 seconds remaining but were unable to capitalise on two three-point attempts, giving uOttawa the narrow victory.
″I think the big advantage for our team is that we have been in so many of these close games. I went with a very veteran line-up in the end and that’s because they feel very confident in their ability to come back and win a close game,” said Ottawa head coach James Derouin. ″I feel like we’re always good for at least one good run in a game. Unfortunately today it took until the fourth quarter to make that happen, but overall it’s a great win for the team. ‟
Caleb Agada produced his second double-double in three games to start the season with his 14 points and 11 rebound performance. Vikas Gill and Mike L’Africain also chipped in with 14 points apiece. Jake Wiegand was second in scoring for the Flames with 10 points and four rebounds.
uOttawa will be back on the floor on Sunday, August 17 for their final NCAA matchup, against the University of Memphis at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are still available and can be purchased at the door starting at 6 p.m.