The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team captured the top spot at the Jack Donohue Tournament by completing their undefeated weekend with an 88-70 victory over the Queen’s Gaels on Sunday afternoon. In the early matchup Sunday, the McGill Redmen topped St-FX 81-77 to finish 2-1 in the tournament and earn second place.
The tournament win was the second in as many weekends for Ottawa, as the team now sports a 6-0 preseason record. Mike L’Africain was named the tournament MVP following his eight-assist, six rebound, and twelve point effort in the tournament’s finale.
“We know we have a long way to go, and we’re hungry heading into the season,” said L’Africain after the game. “I know I have a different role this year, and I’m settling into that.”
L’Africain opened things up with a no-look pass to a wide-open Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue and then picked the pocket of Queen’s tournament all-star Roshane Roberts for an easy score underneath.
Ottawa continued to generate good shot opportunities throughout the first half, but never quite pulled away from the Gaels and led 43-39 at the halftime break. The second half slowed down on the offensive end for both teams, but Ottawa broke through with a run built on steals and free throws to start the fourth quarter which carried the home team to the win.
“I knew we were going to string together a run eventually,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “Our bench stepped up today and they were great on Friday. I’m really happy with the contributions across the board from everybody.”
Ottawa’s Johnny Berhanemeskel led all scorers with 26 points in the game, and also picked up six rebounds.
The Gee-Gees put themselves in position to win the tournament by topping St-FX 94-81 on Saturday evening. Mike L’Africain had a big game as the Gee-Gees led throughout, extending their lead to as much as 20 with 7:30 to play.
L’Africain shot 5-of-8 from long range on the way to his game-high 26 points. Second-year Caleb Agada was next in line for Ottawa with 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while big man Rodrigo Madera paced the X-Men with 20 points.
In the late game Saturday, McGill withstood a late fourth-quarter charge by the Gaels which tied things up after the Redmen had led throughout the contest. McGill’s lineup produced evenly, with five players hitting double-digits, but it was late baskets and leadership from Vincent Dufort which allowed the Redmen to prevail 72-62.
McGill then finished out the tournament with an 81-77 win over St-FX. McGill led 46-31 at halftime but had to scrap through an X-Men charge and resilient zone defence in the fourth to finish second in the tournament. Rookie guard Thomas Lacy sank six three-pointers for the Redmen, and fellow freshman Dele Ogundokun had a breakout game with 14 rebounds and 10 points.
Jack Donohue Tournament Results
Friday, October 11
Queen's 74, St-FX 73
Ottawa 94, McGill 88 (OT)
Saturday, October 12
Ottawa 94, St-FX 81
McGill 72, Queen's 62
Sunday, October 14
St-FX 77 vs McGill 81
Ottawa 88 vs Queen's 70
Mike L’Africain - Ottawa
Francois Bourque – McGill
Vincent Dufort - McGill
Jordan Clarke – St-FX
Roshane Roberts – Queen’s
Johnny Berhanemeskel – Ottawa