Men’s Basketball (10-5 OUA)
Hosted Queen’s (0-14 OUA) on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at Montpetit Hall (Rogers TV, SSN Canada)
uOttawa – Johnny Berhanemeskel 31 points, 4 rebounds; Mike L’Africain 12 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
Queen’s – Mackenzie Simpson 19 points, 5 rebounds; John Lenz 12 points, 7 rebounds
A near perfect game by second-year guard Johnny Berhanemeskel (Ottawa, Ont.) helped lead the Gee-Gees to victory over the visiting Queen’s Gaels by a score of 87-58.
The Gee-Gees looked sharp to open the game, but back to back threes from Queen’s kept the Gaels within striking distance. The Gee-Gees shot a deadly 59% from the floor in the first half. Berhanemeskel led the charge with his perfect 19 point half, 8-8 overall and 3-3 from behind the arc.
A one-hand dunk by 6’2” Berhanemeskel late in the third brought down the house and Queen’s was forced to take a time-out in an attempt to regroup. Second-year forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue (Gatineau, Qué.) opened the fourth with a set of three baskets as the Gee-Gees continued to build their lead.
Berhanemeskel went on to only miss one shot, a deep three attempt, the entire game, finishing with a season-high 31 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Rookie point guard Mike L’Africain (Oakville, Ont.) finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
“We didn’t hit as many shots as we could’ve,” admitted L’Africain, “I thought our best thing tonight was our ball movement; I thought everyone was unselfish and we ran our offence pretty much to perfection. Today I thought we were finding the right people, being aggressive and taking the right kind of shots.”
“Johnny was on fire tonight. I didn’t want to take him out because he hadn’t missed; he was unbelievable tonight,” said a very impressed head coach James Derouin. “Of all the guys, he took Wednesday’s loss [to Carleton] the hardest. But I think he woke up this morning and decided that it was behind him and that he was going to come and play hard tonight. He was a leader tonight from the beginning. I thought Johnny and Mike’s energy tonight was excellent from start to finish.”
“Our confidence isn’t shattered from Carleton. Every single one of us is more motivated and ready to go,” asserted L’Africain, though admitting “It will be more of a confidence booster [to win] next weekend and the weekend after. Everyone’s playing stronger and better; everyone’s stepping up.”
“Losing Warren, I think a lot of teams have taken a deep breath against us,” said Derouin, “But we got a couple wins, and they’re going to come at us even harder. The next games are big games for standings. Those four wins against Laurentian, York, Toronto and Ryerson are going to be the toughest of the season. They’re all at home, and we’re going to need a big crowd.”
The Gee-Gees will be at Montpetit Hall again next weekend, hosting Laurentian on Friday, January 27 and York on Saturday, January 28 at 8:00 p.m. Fans, be sure to come out to support your Gee-Gees in these crucial games.