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HOME PREVIEW: Must-see home opener weekend

Wednesday November 30, 2016
Photo: 
Gord Weber

GAME INFO:
McMaster (3-2) at Ottawa (3-0)
Friday, December 2
8 p.m.
Montpetit Hall
Tickets available online
Webcast on OUA.tv
 
Brock (4-0) at Ottawa (3-0)
Saturday, December 3
8 p.m.
Montpetit Hall
Tickets available online
Webcast on OUA.tv

The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team will host a major weekend of OUA basketball with three Top Ten Teams facing off on back-to-back nights. It is the regular season home-opener as well, making for a big weekend at Montpetit Hall.

Ottawa comes into the weekend ranked no. 4 in the country, followed by Brock at no. 5 and McMaster at no. 7 as part of the five OUA teams in the latest poll. McMaster’s two losses this season have both come at the hands of the Badgers, and by a total of four points.

The Gee-Gees are home following two weekends away which saw strong performances by Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles and Caleb Agada highlight an overall team defensive effort which ranks Ottawa second in U Sports with an average of 66.5 points against. Ottawa also showed its teamwork on the offensive end, and leads the nation with 19.7 assists per game.

“The guys know these are big teams. I’m not worried about them being ready,” says Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. "They’ll be locked in and focussed and we often tend to play better that way.”

“Our execution is definitely something we want to work on after the weekend as we seemed out of sorts at times,” adds Agada. “We’ll have a lot of energy this week because McMaster started the year out ranked ahead of us.” Agada also notes that the Gee-Gees remember last year’s 96-90 loss at McMaster – one of just two losses during the regular season.

The two visiting teams bring different looks for Ottawa to handle, with McMaster relying heavily on three primary players, David McCulloch, Connor Gilmore, and Rohan Boney, while Brock spreads the minutes around.  “You know where Mac is going to hit you,” says Derouin. “Brock hits you in a lot of different ways.” Brock is being led this season by First Team All-Canadian Dani Elgadi’s 15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

One key matchup to watch against McMaster will be Ottawa’s Brandon Robinson taking on Chris Thompson. Both players provide key minutes and energy off the bench, and could tip the scales in a tight game.

Two other players to watch will be Adam Presutti taking on his former McMaster team mates, while Moe Ismail of the Brock Badgers returns to Montpetit Hall after three seasons with the Gee-Gees.