The uOttawa Gee-Gees took their second victory in as many nights on Monday when they topped the University of Vermont Catamounts at Monpetit Hall. Despite slumping coming out of the halftime break, the Gee-Gees were able to maintain a lead for the majority of the game, topping their neighbors to the south 73-66.
Johnny Berhanemeskel was the offensive catalyst for uOttawa, scoring 26 points off 9-for-15 shooting along with five rebounds. It was the timing of his scoring that was important for the victory as the guard poured in 14 of his 26 points in the fourth frame, putting the game out of reach for the Catamounts.
“I like what we have done so far. Everyone on this team already seems to be settling into their roles really well and it’s working right now,” said Berhanemeskel. “I like the effort we put in here because if you look at the type of game we played yesterday and the type of game we played today, they were very different styles. The fact that we were able to adapt to that and come out with two wins is great to see.”
uOttawa showed some weakness in the paint at certain points throughout the game with the absence of fifth-year centre, Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue who is expected to return to play shortly. Nonetheless, the Gee-Gees have never won two games in a row versus NCAA competition, making the start of the season a successful one for the experienced squad.
“Composure has gotten better and better throughout the years for us and that may be a credit to the experienced we have gained. With the pace these NCAA teams play at, it’s a common thing that [CIS] teams crumble and have difficultly matching the intensity but I feel like we have done that so far and it’s something we can be proud of,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.
“I think if you look at things overall there has been a change from past years. It used to be that NCAA teams would come here and hand CIS teams a beating but that has changed and Canadian teams are neck and neck with those guys [NCAA] now. It’s kind of a family thing here in the CIS because we are all pulling for each other. We are hoping that these games will draw attention to how good the basketball is up here,” added Derouin.
The Gee-Gees will look to make it three in a row to start the pre-season on Wednesday when they take on the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames at 8 p.m. in the Monpetit Hall gym.
Teams 1 2 3 4 F
Ottawa 23 17 14 19 73
Vermont 18 15 17 16 66