The Algoma Thunderbirds will fly into Ottawa’s Montpetit Hall on Saturday night for no. 1 ranked Ottawa’s lone game of this week.
The slight break in the schedule comes on the heels of Ottawa’s 2-0 road trip to Lakehead and Guelph where fourth-year wing Caleb Agada said the team was prepared to be pushed by the travel. “The road trip was tough – it feels very long and it uses up a lot of energy. We had to be mentally prepared knowing that we would be tired in the games but we felt good grinding out the wins. Defensively we had to be team-oriented and not take as many risks to leave other people open.”
Defence has been highlighted for Ottawa early on this season with rebounding, blocking, and steals a consistent focus. Agada leads the team with 8.8 rebounds per game but the team effort has given the Gee-Gees a rebounding advantage in every game.
Interestingly, Algoma has also racked up steals this year, tying Ottawa with 10.3 per game. Third-year guard Sean Clendinning showed clutch three-point shooting in an overtime loss to Laurier and leads his team with 10.3 points per game. Most of Algoma’s scoring has come from the guard positions while Ottawa has methodically worked the ball down low and have both Nathan McCarthy and Brody Maracle contributing 9.3 and 10.3 points per game, respectively.
Despite being guard-heavy on offence, the Thunderbirds have struggled to shoot the ball and rank last in the CIS with a 30.3 on-target rate compared to Ottawa’s fourth best 48.7 per cent. The Thunderbirds have also been significantly out-rebounded, seemingly setting Ottawa up for success. The Gee-Gees picked up a 91-63 win in Sault Ste. Marie last year.
“We want to test our defence and do it collectively as a unit to see how good we really are,” says Agada, who also leads the Gee-Gees with 3.5 steals per game.
All OUA regular season basketball games are webcast live on OUA.tv.
Tickets are available online and are $2 cheaper per ticket when purchased at least 2 hours in advance. Please note that for basketball doubleheaders, this means tickets must be purchased by 4 p.m to qualify for the discount as the ticket includes the women’s game at 6 p.m.