The no. 1 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees picked up their second win of the regular season on Saturday night, outpacing the visiting Laurentian Voyageurs by a 97-66 score. The team was led by a double-double from fourth-year forward Matt Plunkett who notched 19 points and 10 rebounds, including five three-pointers on a night which saw Ottawa shoot 50 per cent from long distance.
Mike L’Africain, who finished with a game-high 23 points, opened up the scoring for the Gee-Gees with back to back threes, but offence wasn’t issue for the team it was defence. The Voyageurs managed to score 16 in the first quarter and keep the Ottawa lead in single digits.
A Caleb Agada technical foul midway through the second quarter forced James Derouin to adjust his rotation. Though Derouin was disappointed with the call against his player, putting him on the bench accounted for his energy in the later parts of the game. “He’s got to know better as our best player. He was fresh at the end when everyone was kind of tired. He’s got to play like that from the start and that’s something we got to address, he sets the tone for us.”
Rebounds were an issue for the Garnet and Grey seemingly unable to come up with the put backs on the offensive end or the takeaway on the defensive end. The Voyageurs outrebounded the Gee-Gees 29-24 including 12 on the offensive glass.
Through two quarters, L’Africain who had 17 points to lead all scorers and Brody Maracle had 10.
It was more of the same offensively for Ottawa in the second quarter, Mike L’Africain seemed to be automatic from the three-point line while Maracle got on a streak highlighted with a exclamation dunk that ended a nice series of passes for his team.
Matt Plunkett took off in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. “Plunkett needed a breakout game and he got it,” shared James Derouin.
For Maracle, the performance was an opportunity for redemption and to finally showcase his talents in front of fans. “ I didn’t play well last night so I really wanted to focus today and have a better performance. Mike [L’Africain] played really well and he got me a lot of passes so it was easy on my behalf.”
It was the first time; he played in a home opener. “ It was awesome; I didn’t play a lot at Carleton so it was my first official game with fans and a lot of minutes.
Maracle, a Carleton transfer is finally coming along for the Garnet and Grey. “Preseason was huge for me. The guys have been great to me; getting me up to speed, giving me good looks and high percentage shots.”
Ottawa is on the road next week against Guelph and Lakehead.