The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees defeated the Murray State Racers by a score of 81-57 in the first of a series of three games against NCAA competition.
The Gee-Gees got off to a blazing start going on an 8-0 run and showing a lot of defensive energy in the first two minutes of the ball game. The effects of limited practice time, the loss to graduation of four starters and a rookie head coach showed as the Racers were cold from the field, finally scoring with just 5:48 left in the first quarter.
The Racers continued to struggle to open the second quarter, playing too much one-on-one with limited off-ball movement. The Gee-Gees cooled down as well, scoring just 11 points in the second frame. Murray State scrapped back near the end of the half however, with two foul shots off of a fast break foul bringing the Racers within 6.
The Gee-Gees lived and died by the three-ball, making 42 attempts and converting on 17 (0.405). Midway through the third quarter the Gee-Gees were shooting the ball better from behind the arc (0.415) than from the free-throw line (0.375). The Gee-Gees have been working on their inside game all summer, but were undersized against a bigger Racer team. “It wasn’t an ideal situation for guys who wanted to post up against this team, but we won’t face competition as big in the CIS during the year. We got some good looks [down low] near the end there, so we’ll continue to work on that the rest of the summer,” explained Vikas Gill, who finished the game with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
In the absence of graduated seniors Johnny Berhanemeskel and Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue, new leadership stepped up to the plate. “Mike, myself, Caleb and Matt are working to step up together. It’s hard to fill those two’s shoes, so we’ll have to do it collectively, they are two of the best leaders I’ve ever seen,” added Gill. Caleb Agada led the Gee-Gees with a double-double, recording 23 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Matt Plunkett put up 20 points, had 7 rebounds and 2 steals, with Mike L’Africain contributing 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to the effort.
Bryce Jones paced the Racers with 12, teammates Wayne Langston and Jeffery Moss each chipped in 10.
You can catch the Gee-Gees in action against Baylor on August 13th at 8 p.m. in Montpetit Hall.