The uOttawa Gee-Gees made waves all around the league on Saturday night by topping the no.1 ranked Carleton Ravens 68-66 and taking over the north division of the OUA. The win marks the first time since 2007 that the Gee-Gees defeat the Ravens in the regular season.
If the basketball was played in three quarters, it would have been all Gee-Gees on Saturday night as they led for the majority of the game and by 15 points heading into the fourth quarter. If history has taught us any lessons however it would be wise to not count out Carleton; and indeed the Ravens were able to chip their way all the way back into the game tying the score at 66 in the final minute of the game.
With 19.0 seconds left on the clock the Gee-Gees handed the ball to Johnny Berhanemeskel who dribbled into the lane and sunk the go ahead leaner, something fans might remember him doing in the OUA Wilson Cup championship last season. Tommy Scrubb was given the chance to tie the game up once again for the Ravens but failed to drop a hook shot in the paint, giving the Gee-Gees the important victory.
“They’re a great team and we never doubt their abilities because if you do they tend to make you regret it. It’s too bad we slipped up in the fourth quarter but if you let them go on a run that’s what they have the ability to do,” said Berhanemeskel. “This win is important for us because it gives us an advantage heading deeper into the season. We need to keep playing this type of basketball and hopefully close out the season strong.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that he [Berhanemeskel] is the best player to ever play here. His ability to play well in clutch situations is like no other player I have seen here. He wasn’t even playing that well tonight and was still able to have the confidence to sink that game winning shot,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “We wanted to beat them in front of our fans in our gym. Tonight we were able to do that. This group just continues to impress me and make program history.”
It wasn’t until the seven minute mark of the first quarter that the Gee-Gees opened the scoring as neither team appeared to be willing to give an inch on defence. Both teams did end up trading buckets in a very close first half however as the Gee-Gees took a 34-30 edge into the half time break.
The sell-out crowd seemed to ignite the Gee-Gees coming out of the half time break as uOttawa extended their lead to 16 thanks to a flurry of three pointers. In the end, the game came down to seconds which Johnny Berhanemeskel was able to make the most of by sinking the spectacular game winner for uOttawa.
"To be honest it felt like more than just any regular season win. It was very similar to last year’s OUA championship so it was a game loaded with emotion. We executed our game plan well and we are happy with that despite the lack of scoring in the fourth quarter. We want to carry the momentum from this win into the rest of the season," said Gee-Gees fifth-year Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue.
Caleb Agada also had a strong performance for the Gee-Gees as he played an important defensive role on all-Canadian Phil Scrubb, limiting his offensive scoring chances. Agada also contributed offensively with 17 points and 10 boards for the double-double. Phil Scrubb was the main contributor for the Ravens late run and throughout the game, notching 26 points and six rebounds. Thomas Scrubb finished the game with 15 points and 13 rebounds for the double-double.
The matchup was the first of two regular season games between the Carleton Ravens and uOttawa Gee-Gees. The next contest between the teams will be held at the Canadian Tire Centre on February 6 for the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic. uOttawa will be back in action next weekend when Lakehead University and the University of Guelph visit Montpetit Hall.