The no. 3 ranked uOttawa Gee-Gees will hit the road this weekend to play out the final two games of their four-game road trip. The team travels to Brock University on Friday night followed by a tough game on Saturday at McMaster University.
The Brock Badgers have had a rough 0-4 start to the season, most recently taking a 93-72 loss to Laurentian University. They have struggled offensively as they are ranked 31st in the country in points per game with 69.8.
Saturday night will be the biggest night of the weekend for the Gee-Gees as they tip-off versus Tyler Black and the McMaster Marauders. Black is a big presence in the post and has been dominant this season, averaging 21.8 and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 52.5 per cent from the field. McMaster suffered their first loss of the season last weekend at Laurentian University.
“We are still planning on sticking to our game plan and doing what we do. Our number one priority will be keeping Black off the glass because if we don’t he has the ability to kill us in that department,” said Derouin. “They are an extremely talented team and we will have to be on the top of our game in order to come home with a win.”
The Gee-Gees will have no easy task in defeating the Marauders on Saturday night as they play extremely well on home court, most recently upsetting the no. 6 Ryerson Rams during their season opening weekend. uOttawa will have the advantage of having the country’s top scorer, Johnny Berhanemeskel, at their disposal. The Ottawa native is tied for first place in points per game in the CIS with 26.5 while shooting 47.1 per cent from the field.
“I think we just have to stay hungry and know where we want to be in March. Making adjustments in practice weekly is important when playing in a tough conference because we can’t afford to take any steps back,” said Berhanemeskel. “I think we all know we’re not playing our best basketball yet and that we still have ways to go before we give ourselves any reason be over-confident, especially on the defensive end of the floor.”
The OUA East is proving to be one of the most difficult divisions in the country this season. The opening part of season sees the OUA divisions cross over and the East has clearly taken the upper hand, posting a combined 23-8 record. As result the Gee-Gees hold a perfect record of 4-0 but are still sitting in tied for first with no. 10 Laurentian and no. 1 ranked Carleton.
“For the most part this team is very humble. We have to be because it’s not like we sitting alone with a perfect record in first place. We have to remember that there are two other teams in the OUA East with perfect records. We are kind of hoping the West comes up with some wins to create some separation in the east,” said Derouin. “This team is led by some very humble guys in Johnny (Berhanemeskel) and Gab (Gonthier-Dubue) which helps the guys stay composed and focused.”