Men’s basketball (7-4 OUA)
Visited Toronto (5-6 OUA) on Friday, January 13, 2012
uOttawa top scorers: Johnny Berhanemeskel 29 points, 10 rebounds; Mike L’Africain 16 points, 3 assists; Vikas Gill 14 points, 5 rebounds
Ottawa out-ran and out-played the Toronto Varsity Blues, capturing a key road victory on Friday night by a score of 88-67. The Gee-Gees stumbled in the opening quarter but then played a remarkable three quarters of highly entertaining basketball to win their fourth straight OUA match-up. Johnny Berhanemeskel (Ottawa, Ont.) was a terror on both ends of the floor, amassing a game high 29 points and 10 rebounds.
“Johnny had an amazing performance tonight, and everybody contributed. I’m real proud of our team,” summed up a pleased Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.
Toronto got off to a blazing start on the back of third year forward Alex Hill who was deadly from three-point land in the early going. Hill was 4-5 and Toronto as a team shot 7-13 from behind the line in the first half. Ottawa was able to neutralize Toronto’s hot-shooting in the second when they started to dictate the pace of the game, and played very effectively as a unit.
Chris Anderson (Ottawa, Ont.) helped to spark the second-quarter comeback, climbing nimbly on top of the scorers’ table to save a ball from going out of bounds, which Jacob Gibson-Bascombe (Toronto, Ont.) converted into a floater in the lane. Berhanemeskel put the Gee-Gees ahead by completing a three-point play he created by streaking down the court after Jordan Vig (Barrie, Ont.) had swatted away a Toronto shot attempt.
Mike L’Africain (Oakville, Ont.) and Berhanemeskel pushed the tempo of the game to a furious degree, showing their skill at high speed. The Gee-Gees were dominant when they were able to find open space; Berhanemeskel was often a blur as he relentlessly attacked the rim. The key to uOttawa’s success however was their ability to get back on defense while maintaining their torrid attack. The team rarely allowed Toronto to counter on transition.
“Tonight we wanted to run and run as much as possible,” explained Coach Derouin after the game. “We’ve been working on adding to our transition game, we shoot well in transition and it has helped us get on a roll.”
Ottawa also caught fire from three in the late going as Vikas Gill (Stittsville, Ont.), L’Africain, and Berhanemeskel combined to shoot 8-13 from long range.
The Gee-Gees will now look to continue their win streak when they tip off against the Ryerson Rams on Saturday night. The game is slated for 8 p.m. and will be available online.