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Berhanemeskel hot streak leaves Lions reeling

Friday February 13, 2015
Johny and Gabriel
Richard A. Whittaker

Johnny Berhanemeskel had an electrifying first half performance to lift the Gee-Gees past the York Lions (9-8) on Friday night, making OUA history in the process. Ottawa moved its record to 15-1 with a 90-57 win while the fifth-year moved into the third spot in the conference’s all-time career scoring leaders with his 27 point performance.

Berhanemeskel now stands as the league’s most prolific guard of all time with 1,931 career points. He trails forwards Kevin Dulude (2,092) and Boris Bakovic (2,068) in the history books with three regular season games to play. He surpassed Kale Harrison at the 1,918 point mark.

Three-balls by Mike L’Africain and Berhanemeskel from the same spot on the right side opened the game on the right note for Ottawa. Combined with a flurry of York turnovers, the Gee-Gees took a 13-0 lead in the first three minutes before York called a timeout. The Lions did respond on the offensive end but could not stop Berhanemeskel, who hit his first seven threes and had 25 first half points.

The seven threes by Berhanemeskel tied a career high and was part of a 15-20 long distance barrage by Ottawa in the first half. The Gee-Gees shot 63 per cent from the floor in the first half, running away with the game and holding a 64-29 lead at halftime.

“Johnny is always extra focussed and frustrated after we lose to Carleton and he’s going to take it out on the next team. I had a feeling he might go off tonight,” said Derouin. “There’s more to come for him so we shut him down pretty much for the second half.”

Ottawa’s offence slowed in the third quarter, despite solid ball movement. The Gee-Gees were stalled in the low seventies for much of the quarter.

Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue was a positive force, pulling down a series of offensive rebounds and helping to limit York’s leading scorer Nick Tufegdzich to eight points and five rebounds in the game. Tufegdzich has averaged over 20 points per game for the Lions. 

“Team defence overall was solid and holding Nick to 8 and 5 was a big part of holding them to 57 points. I’m happy with the defensive effort tonight, however our focus dropped on the offensive end and we had some uncharacteristic turnovers,” said Derouin.

Mike L’Africain continued to patrol the point throughout the fourth quarter but still the offence sputtered. L’Africain scored 19 points including four threes and numerous pretty finishes in the paint – a solid performance for the fourth-year who is returning from injury.

Ottawa boarded a bus for Kingston after the game, travelling for Saturday’s 8 p.m. tilt with the Queen’s Gaels (5-11).