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HOME PREVIEW: Reinvigorated division foes face-off at Montpetit

Thursday January 12, 2017
Gee-Gee player getting ready to make a pass.
Photo: 
Greg Mason

GAME INFO:

Laurentian (4-6) at Ottawa (7-0)
Friday, January 13
8 p.m.
Montpetit Hall
Tickets available online
Webcast on OUA.tv

Nipissing (4-6) at Ottawa (7-0)
Saturday, January 14
8 p.m.
Montpetit Hall
Tickets available online
Webcast on OUA.tv

After kicking off the second half of the season on the road, the Gee-Gees men’s basketball team returns home to face two divisional foes at Montpetit Hall. Although Ottawa have played and beaten both Laurentian and Nipissing this year, the rematches promise to be more explosive affairs.

The Gee-Gees have rattled off 16-consecutive victories since the preseason and with their latest two blowouts last weekend, they climbed from the no. 4 ranking to a familiar spot at no. 2 in the U Sports Top Ten this week. 

Laurentian is perhaps the bigger test of the two teams this weekend, as they present a modified lineup from the last time the teams met. Three Voyageurs have returned from suspension and are having an immediate impact on the team, combining for 22 of the team’s points in their win over no. 9 McMaster. This trio includes Anthony Iacoe, who scored 23 points on the Gee-Gees in the regular season finale last year. 

“Adding (Iacoe) to an already potent guard oriented offence makes them very tough to match up with,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “Despite the fact that we’ve seen Laurentian before, we’re going to be seeing a very different Laurentian team.”

Nipissing will be entering the weekend riding a high after defeating no. 6 Brock last weekend. The win was a milestone, as it was their first over a ranked opponent in program history. The two key aspects of the game that the Lakers excel at are fouls and ball movement. They rank number one in the nation in fouls per game with a paltry 12.5, and seventh in assists per game with 15.9.

The key player for the Gee-Gees once again is Caleb Agada, who has taken his game to another level as of late. The Burlington, Ont. product is averaging an impressive 18.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game in his fifth and final year in garnet and grey. Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles is also having a career year in his first at Ottawa; through seven games he has amassed more points than any of one his three seasons at Carleton and has tied season highs in three other statistical categories.

The Gee-Gees hot streak comes at a perfect time with the next week being the most gruelling run of the year. The team will play five games in only eight days, so maintaining complete focus on each separate opponent is crucial.

“Both of these teams are essentially new teams, we have to look at them like we haven’t played them before,” said forward Mackenzie Morrison. “Our team has something to prove every game, so we can’t have any slip-ups.”

The team is adamant that their upcoming matchup with rival Carleton on Tuesday will not affect their preparation for this weekend’s matchups.

“These are two tough games,” says Derouin. “Looking past these two teams with Carleton on the horizon would be a mistake for us."