Mike L’Africain counted 30 points in Ottawa’s 76-60 win over Queen’s on Friday night, the tenth victory of the regular season for the no. 2 ranked team in the nation. The fifth-year point guard began the night showing off his passing and came on strong in the second half, netting 20 points in the game’s later stages.
L’Africain finished with seven assists, many of which to Nathan McCarthy who was 8-for-10 from the floor for 16 points along with seven rebounds. His counterpart Brody Maracle added 13 points.
“Coach told me to score so I tried to get in there, but I didn’t shoot it too well,” said a modest L’Africain. “Every day is a process of getting better. We took a hard week of practice and really went after each other, especially on the defensive end.”
With L’Africain feeding McCarthy, Ottawa built a big 34-15 lead midway through the second quarter. The Burlington, Ont. native was dazzling down low early, using his length and confident post moves to establish control.
A late three from Queen’s brought the lead within 11 before Sukhpreet Singh added a pair of free throws to close out the second quarter with the score 40-31. Singh led the Gaels with 18 points but struggled from the floor, shooting 1-of-6 from three.
The Gee-Gees defensive effort was consistent all evening, but head coach James Derouin was quick to point out that Queen’s grabbed 17 offensive rebounds.
“We had to take what the defence was giving us, which was layups because they were staying at home on our shooters. That strategy takes us out of our ball movement and that threw us off a few times. With this group we can grind out wins.”
This game marks the seventh time this season that Ottawa has held opponents to 61 or fewer points.
The Gee-Gees will meet the York Lions on Saturday night at Montpetit Hall. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. The Lions (3-8) were thumped 96-53 at Carleton on Friday.