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Gee-Gees Facing National Powerhouse at Sixth Capital Hoops

Monday January 16, 2012

Men’s Basketball (8-4 OUA)

Hosting Carleton (12-0 OUA) on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Place for the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic.

Historically, it’s been the highest attended regular season game in the CIS and it features one of the country’s fiercest rivalries. On Wednesday, the next page in the history books will be written as the Gee-Gees travel to Scotiabank Place for the sixth year running to take on the rival Carleton Ravens.

The Ravens have captured last four Capital Hoops titles, while the Gee-Gees won the inaugural tilt in 2007. That year was the last season the Gee-Gees triumphed over their cross-town rivals; Carleton has gone on to win the last 12 contests between the two teams, a run the Gee-Gees would love to put an end to.

“One thing about this team is no matter who we’re playing, they compete,” commented head coach James Derouin on the stiff competition facing his team, “Our worst loss of the year is by six points. We’ve been in every single game that we played. It’s going to be like last year, we’re going to give them a game. I have a lot of faith in our young guys. They’ve handled everything so well so far.”

The Gee-Gees will need to control Carleton’s Tyson Hinz, last year’s CIS player of the year, as well as Carleton’s current leading scorer and last year’s CIS rookie of the year Philip Scrubb if they hope to compete against the number one nationally ranked team. Though Scrubb’s competition last year for rookie of the year, the Gee-Gees’ own Johnny Berhanemeskel (Ottawa, Ont.) is only narrowly trailing Scrubb in scoring this season and is now the leading Gee-Gees points-getter with Warren Ward (London, Ont.) out of the line-up due to injury. Carleton will also need to keep their eye on Gee-Gees rookies Vikas Gill (Stittsville, Ont.) and Mike L’Africain (Oakville, Ont), who went 11/13 combined behind the three-point line in last weekend’s two road wins.

The Gee-Gees are comfortably sitting in second in the OUA East, with Carleton holding the top position with their undefeated record. The reigning CIS champion Ravens nearly pulled off an undefeated season last year, but an upset Lakehead win at the OUA championship ended that dream and, if anything, proved that Carleton is always beatable.

“I have such a huge respect for what Carleton’s doing this year,” said Derouin, “They’re the top team in the country, the best offensive team, the best defensive team. There’s talk about this Carleton team being the best ever. Without Warren, the core of our team is in their first and second year, and this is what it’s all about, getting experience. In two, three years, I want this group to be what Carleton is now. This team has to learn how to beat Carleton; to win a national championship you have to go through Carleton. The only way to do that is to try, and we’re going to try and learn from it. And hopefully we can maybe pull up the upset, which would be pretty great.”

Gee-Gees fans, basketball fans – you will not want to miss this must-see game of the year! Tickets are still available by emailing ggtix@uottawa.ca.

The game will be available live on SSN, as well as on Team1200 radio. You can catch the replay when you get home from the game; Rogers Cable 22 will be showing the game on tape delay at 9:30 p.m. For a video preview, click here.