Now at the top of the CIS rankings for the first time in program history, the Gee-Gees men’s basketball team will look to continue its undefeated season this weekend when the Lakehead University Thunderwolves and the University of Guelph Gryphons come to town. uOttawa will be riding on a lot of momentum after taking down their cross town rivals and long-time nemesis Carleton Ravens in dramatic fashion last weekend.
The play of fifth-year guard Johnny Berhanemeskel has been a major reason for the team’s success thus far this season as the Ottawa native is averaging 22.9 points per game, ranking him third in the nation. The all-Canadian is also enjoying a successful season in all offensive categories as he is currently dishing out 4.7 assists while pulling down 3.6 rebounds per game.
“I would say that right now everyone on this team is feeling pretty good. The guys have been playing with confidence all season and that is something that is in our control so we won’t let anyone take that away from us,” said Berhanemeskel. “This weekend is big for us because it’s our last weekend on home court for a couple of weeks and we need to keep building off last weekend’s performance.”
Lakehead (5-4) is coming off a weekend split versus the Brock Badgers (3-6), dropping the first game and taking the second in what were two close contests. Dwayne Harvey and Anthony McIntosh have been an offensive tandem for the T-Wolves both averaging 12.0 points per game and just around seven rebounds per night.
A Lakehead-uOttawa matchup has been one loaded with heroics in past years and could be revived once again this Friday night. The T-Wolves defensive game is something the Gee-Gees will attempt to break through this weekend with their run and gun style of play. Lakehead’s defence has held opponents to 68.7 points per game, good for fifth best in the CIS.
“They are a very well coached team are an extremely tough team to play because they are so physical. They’re a very tough matchup for us and it’s going to be a battle on Friday night,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “Both teams coming in play a defensive style so realistically it’s the physicality of both teams that concerns me for this weekend because we are a finesse team.”
After a slow 1-3 start to the season, the Gryphons appear to have sorted things out - they are currently riding a four game winning streak most recently taking victories by large margins over Nipissing and Laurier. Guelph forward Trevor Thompson has enjoyed a productive 2014-15 season so far averaging 14.1 points and 6.2 boards per game.
Ottawa’s starting point guard Mike L’Africain is questionable for Friday night’s game versus Lakehead after suffering an injury to his hand in last weekend’s game against Ravens. Caleb Agada is expected to continue to play a large role in the offence as the third-year is averaging 16.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game so far this season.
Both games will games will tip off at 8 p.m. following the women’s games and will available on OUA.tv for online viewing.