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CAPITAL HOOPS PREVIEW: Gee-Gees seek to even season score, repeat on big stage

Thursday February 2, 2017
Joueur de basketball avec le ballon surveillé par un joueur adverse.
Greg Mason


Ottawa vs Carleton
Friday, February 3
8 p.m.
Canadian Tire Centre
Tickets available online
Webcast on (Carleton production)

Heading into the eleventh edition of the Capital Hoops Classic the rivals once again sit within striking distance of each other at the top of the U SPORTS national rankings. Carleton is holding steady at no. 1, while the Gee-Gees follow closely at no. 3. For the Gee-Gees, there is more motivation coming into this game having suffered their only loss of the year to the Ravens less than a month ago in the Bytown Battle. Carleton overpowered Ottawa en route to a 81-40 win, the loss undoubtably adding gas to the fire for the Gee-Gees, who have ripped off four consecutive wins by an average of 24 points per game. 

Last year, the Gee-Gees played one of their best games of the year tactically defeating the Ravens in the Canadian Tire Centre for the first time since 2007. Last year, the team accomplished the feat without the services of injured Caleb Agada, who despite battling strep throat last week, will be in fighting shape for Friday.

“It turns out that (Capital Hoops) was one of our best games last year,” said head coach James Derouin. “Later on, we couldn’t repeat that performance. So we’re trying to keep that into perspective this year.”

A key for Ottawa is to identify what went wrong in their last game against Carleton and improve at forcing their brand of basketball on the game. “The fact that we only have the one game this week helps, we can just focus on them,” said fifth-year forward Matt Plunkett. “A lot of things got exposed the last time we played them, so we’re trying to make adjustments and correct that, we’re not taking it lightly.”

Game planning for Carleton is always a difficult feat, given the performance the Ravens put on against the Gee-Gees last month, the team has some key areas to focus on. Scoring is the biggest key, the team got off to a bad start from the floor and never got their shots to fall, this time, it will be key to get high percentage looks and get on the board early. The Gee-Gees have succeeded in games where they have thrown the first punch and will need to do so on Friday.

Establishing a better presence within the paint will be essential in the game as well, Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles and Brody Maracle both need to attack the paint, setting up passes to the outside for open shots on the perimeter.

“We do a good job feeding it to Jean and Brody, and when the other team loads up on bigs in the post, it’s the perimeter guys’ job to hit shots when they pass it up,” said point guard Calvin Epistola.

The game is always surrounded with excitement and will be a great opportunity to showcase collegiate basketball to a wide audience. Student tickets are sold out on campus, however general public tickets are still available online. The last two events were witnessed by over 10,000 spectators, which will be a benchmark likely met again this year.

Fans are reminded that the Canadian Tire Centre has strict no bags and no re-entry policies.  As well, those fans who are visibly intoxicated will not be granted admission to the venue.