The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team will recognize the twentieth anniversary of the 1992-93 Wilson Cup winning squad on Saturday night’s game against the Ryerson Rams. Many members of the team will return to Montpetit Hall where they hoisted the trophy in March of 1993. Through the years many of the alumni have stayed involved in the program, and the University of Ottawa is proud to tell their story.
The only team in the history of Gee-Gees men’s basketball to capture an OUA championship title, the 1992-93 Gee-Gees were a very talented group who also set many program milestones along the way. The success of this monumental team comes down to much more than a provincial title – and the road to the Wilson Cup proves just that.
From the start, it seemed as though players would agree that it would be a special year. With a strong veteran core, a group of talented rookies, and an experienced coaching staff led by head coach Jack Eisenmann in his fourth season, the Gee-Gees appeared to have all the ingredients required for a highly successful team. But any team can look good on paper – it’s what happens in the change room and on the court that matters.
Having started out their pre-season with eight consecutive wins, including a win against the nationally ranked Waterloo Warriors, and claiming their second home Tip-Off tournament title in 19 years, the Gee-Gees were already starting to make program history.
However, much to the surprise of their fans – and surely themselves – the garnet and grey hit a mid-season slump, going 1-5 in holiday exhibition play, and this turn of events continued to plague them as they opened up the regular season in January. In their season opener, the Gee-Gees suffered a crushing 97-82 loss to Laurentian and, after losing to Queen’s a week later, they were 2-10 in the last 12 games.
Finding themselves in fifth place in the OUAA East at the start of February, it was questionable if the Gee-Gees would even make the playoffs. Nonetheless, as Eisenmann had expressed to the Fulcrum earlier on in the preseason, "The team has only one goal this year, and that's to peak at the right time - in the playoffs."
And this resilient Gee-Gees team did just that – even a little ahead of schedule. A win against York on January 30th sparked an incredible seven game winning streak – the rest of their regular season games – to secure a spot in the playoffs and provide some much needed post-season momentum.
The Gee-Gees continued their winning ways by defeating York in first round action to set the stage for the OUAA East Final against Toronto. With a win, the Gee-Gees would not only earn a chance at their first OUAA championship banner, but would also secure a berth to the national championships in Halifax. A focused and driven Gee-Gees team did not leave any room for error, as they out powered the Varsity Blues both offensively and defensively to an 87-67 victory and collected their ticket to Halifax for the first time in 18 years.
And there was nothing left to lose as they matched up against the nationally ranked Western Mustangs for the OUAA Championship on Saturday, March 13, at Montpetit Hall. With a commanding 48-28 lead at the half, the Gee-Gees controlled the entire game and soared to an 88-48 win to raise the Wilson Cup over their heads for the first time in Gee-Gees men’s basketball history. The Gee-Gees also made OUAA history with the largest margin of a victory in a Wilson Cup game. It was a balanced effort for the garnet in grey, with five players scoring double figures. Gee-Gee Bobby Brown earned championship MVP honours, while Clarence Porter was named to the OUAA East first all-star team and Dave Reid to the second all-star team.
And their success did not end there. The only unranked team at the national championships, the Gee-Gees went on to defeat the Winnipeg Wesmen in the first round to advance to the semi-finals and become the first Ottawa team at the time to advance to the second round of CIAU basketball championships.
The search for the 2013 Wilson Cup continues for the third-place Gee-Gees. They host the University of Toronto on Friday night before tilting off against the Rams on Saturday night. Both games begin at 8 p.m.
Notes from ’93:
Gee-Gees power forward Clarence Porter led the country in field-goal percentage. Though only six-foot-four, Porter uses his quickness and leaping ability to make up for it as his 66.4 per cent shooting clip and 9.7 rpg average can attest. It was the second-best season field goal percentage in uOttawa history, and Porter also led the team in ppg with 16.9.
In the pre-season, Eisenmann made players carry bricks while defending the basket at practice, and even bring with them to away games.