One down, two more to go is what the Gee-Gees can now tell themselves. uOttawa defeated the Saskatchewan Huskies 94-73 in a game that was neck and neck until the very final quarter. Ottawa outscored the Huskies 27-14 in the final frame and will advance to the national semi final game, Saturday night. at 8 p.m.
Sportsnet also has live coverage of Saturday’s semifinals at 6 and 8 p.m., on Sportsnet 360.
“I’m happy with the outcome of tonight’s game for sure. I thought we seemed a little bit fatigued though which made us a little more sluggish than usual. We will need to be shaper tomorrow so I hope we can get a good night sleep so the guys can come in and be one hundred per cent,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.
The Gee-Gees will play the fourth seeded Victoria Vikes tomorrow night. The Vikes defeated the McGill Redmen 63-54 earlier in the day with first team All-Canadian, Terrell Evans recording 19 points and 11 rebounds. The last time Ottawa and Victoria met at the CIS championship was in 2005 in the consolation final where Victoria took a 70-69 victory in Halifax.
The Gee-Gees’ start to the game was a good demonstration of the teams’ style as Johnny Berhanemeskel opened the scoring with his signature three-pointer in transition while Mike L’Africain and Terry Thomas connected for a transition alley-oop on the following possession.
The rest of the half was a see-saw battle between the two highly offensive orientated teams. After trailing by nine points with two minutes left in the half, the Huskies were able to make a push before the halftime break to bring the score to within three points. Despite six lead changes in the first half alone, the Gee-Gees were able to take a slight 43-40 edge into the halftime break. Ottawa’s starters were solid once again, combining for 35 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Every time uOttawa appeared to pull away the Huskies showed why they belong in the Final 8 as they constantly came storming back to bring the game to within a few points. Vikas Gill had a big performance off the bench for the Gee-Gees, hitting big shots at big moments in the game and shooting 3-5 from deep.
The turning point in the game appeared to come in the early going of the final quarter as the Gee-Gees were able to go on a run and extend their lead to 11 points with 5:45 remaining. The rest of the game was all Gee-Gees as they poured on the offence and coasted to the big victory.
Terry Thomas led the way on the score sheet for uOttawa notching 24 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Johnny Berhanemeskel had 20 points and seven assists and Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue had 11 points on 5-6 shooting. As a team, the Gee-Gees were able to come up with 11 steals, leading to 12 fast break points. The garnet and grey were lethal from long range as they buried 14 three-pointers in the game.
“This entire tournament will be a grind for us and we will need to be at our best in order to go all the way. A lot of our players played very hard tonight and I’m proud of my guys. We were able to double-down in the fourth quarter and we found our groove so that separated us,” said Thomas.
Matt Forbes was the Huskies top scorer with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double on 8-12 shooting from the field. Second team All-Canadian guard Stephon Lamar chipped in with 15 points and eight assists. The Huskies will now regroup and face the McGill Redmen tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in a consolation contest.
Other action in the day includes Alberta taking a 72-62 victory over the St-Mary’s Huskies, and the Carleton Ravens beating out their OUA counterpart McMaster Marauders 82-64. All teams will resume action tomorrow throughout the day.