The time every university basketball fan has been waiting for has arrived. The no. 2 ranked uOttawa Gee-Gees will travel up the road to Carleton University for their first battle of the season with the no.1 ranked Ravens on Friday night. Not only will this contest be a game between two long-time rivals but it will also be the game that decides which Ottawa team will remain undefeated.
“One of the things we try to do here is keep our routines the same no matter who we are playing. It is, without a doubt, an important game for us but we try and take it as game like any other because there are many more games to be played after Friday,” said head coach James Derouin. “I do have to say that every time we play them it is bound to be a good game. We are excited to be on their territory and play a good game in front Ottawa’s many basketball fans.”
It has been four years since both Ottawa teams have been ranked first and second in the country and the feat has created much anticipation for this Friday night’s game at the Ravens’ nest. After last year’s thrilling triple-overtime game at Monpetit Hall fans are eager to see what is in store for this year’s instalment of the cross town battle. Nothing is a better indicator of this than the fact that tickets have been sold out for the event.
The game will also be a showcase of some of the country’s most prolific scorers in Ottawa’s Johnny Berhanemeskel and Carleton’s Phillip Scrubb. Berhanemeskel is currently ranked fourth in the country in overall scoring with 25.4 points per game while maintaining his reputation as a three-point assassin with 22 thee pointers made which ranks him fourth in the CIS. Scrubb on the other hand is fresh off training with the senior national team this summer and is currently ranked fifth in the CIS in overall scoring with 21.0 points per game.
“We are going to have to put some of our loose pieces together and play our best game of the season if we going to come out of there with the win. With that said, every time we play them we go into the game with the mentality that we are going to come back with the win. We battled them really hard last year but we have to get over the hump this season,” said Ottawa native Berhanemeskel. “The fact that we are one and two in the country adds to the intensity but it’s Carleton so I will be intense regardless.”
Both teams have shown great offensive efficiency this season as Carleton is currently ranked first in points per game with 96.6 while Ottawa follows closely in second with 95.4. The statistics point towards a shoot-out between the teams, however Derouin is quick to point out the past.
“I think if you look at the way these two teams have competed against each other in the past you see a trend. It is always a hardnosed and hard fought game from start to finish. Right now we are happy with our offence of course but in order to be a championship team we need to clean up our play defensively. I just hope we don’t need to take a loss to get ourselves back in check in that aspect of the game.”
Terry Thomas will also be making his début for the Gee-Gees this week after transferring from St-FX and sitting out for the requisite year. For fans who were unable to get tickets in time or were unable to attend the event, the game will be broadcasted online on SSN Canada and on Rogers Television.