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Men’s Basketball Weekend Preview: Pressure-Packed Road Trip

Thursday January 12, 2012

Men’s Basketball (6-4 OUA)

At Toronto (5-5 OUA) on Friday, January 13, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.

At Ryerson (5-5 OUA) on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.

The Gee-Gees are heading into what could turn out to be their most important games of the season as they travel to Toronto and Ryerson, with playoff-type pressure though still more than a month away from the post season.

“It’s two tough games, and two huge games in terms of the standings,” said head coach James Derouin, “Priority wise, probably the most important games of the year, because of where the standings will fall.”

Both Toronto and Ryerson are hot on the heels of the OUA East second-place Gee-Gees, trailing just a game behind. Carleton has already run away with first place in the OUA East, but in a division likely to be void of many upsets, the games this weekend will be establishing where teams are likely to finish at regular season’s end – and no one wants to finish fourth with the possibility of facing Carleton early in the playoffs.

The Gee-Gees have a long-standing rivalry with the Varsity Blues, most recently ousting them in the OUA East Quarter Final to advance to the Wilson Cup almost one year ago. In regular season action last year, the Gee-Gees split their two games with both the Varsity Blues and Rams, taking both a win and a loss to both teams.

Rookie point guard Mike L’Africain (Oakville, Ont.) was named uOttawa Desjardins athlete of the week for his instrumental role in the Gee-Gees' two road wins last weekend.  With those two wins, the Gee-Gees were just shy of the CIS top 10, coming in at eleventh in the national ranking. But the Gee-Gees will be playing without star fourth-year guard Warren Ward (London, Ont.) this weekend, who may be sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

“Without Warren, that throw a little monkey wrench into our plan,” said Derouin, though noting the depth at that position with expectations for second-year Chris Anderson (Ottawa, Ont.) and third-year Ryan Malcolm-Campbell (Mississauga, Ont.) to step up. “We’ll do the best we can without Warren. It changes our game plan and how we’ll play, but that’s why you have 12 guys on your team; injuries happen. It’s a part of the game; there’s no choice, you have to move forward.”

The Gee-Gees are also less than a week away from the storied Capital Hoops Classic where they will face off against their cross-town rivals Carleton at Scotiabank Place. Tickets for this midweek January 18 match-up can be purchased by emailing ggtix@uottawa.ca.

Live video of Saturday’s Ryerson game will be available here: http://www.ryersonrams.ca/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=22300&ATCLID=205033644