The no. 5 nationally ranked Gee-Gees men’s basketball team opened the regular season with a 91-59 victory over the Algoma Thunderbirds (1-4) in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. on Saturday night.
Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles led the way for Ottawa, recording a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. “He brought energy and athleticism – a lot of those rebounds were in traffic and some of them came out of the sky,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin of Pierre-Charles. “He made a difference today for sure.”
It was a slow start for the Ottawa offence, taking four minutes to get on the board when it was Caleb Agada swooping through the defence for an up and under shot. Mackenzie Morrison closed out the frame with a pair of three-pointers to establish a 21-15 lead.
The Gee-Gees defence truly locked down in second quarter, limiting the T-Birds to outside shots and holding the hosts scoreless for the first seven minutes of the stanza. “Our rotations were great through that stretch,” noted Derouin.
Stronger ball movement at the same time on offensive end meant the lead grew to 35-15. Third-year forward Andrew De Groot scored a pair of buckets in the frame and finished with nine points on a night which saw every player on the scoresheet for uOttawa.
The lead grew to thirty during the third quarter as Ottawa continued to pressure the Thunderbirds inside. Algoma scored just six field goals from inside the three-point line, netting thirteen shots from long distance out of the total 19 that went down.
“They hit a couple of tough shots at the end of the shot clocks,” said Derouin. “Our close outs need some work, but you see our defensive potential there.”
Calvin Epistola was also solid for Ottawa, providing good pace from the point and contributing eight points with three assists and two steals. As a team, Ottawa was 10-11 from the free throw line and out-rebounded Algoma 37-10.
At Laurentian and Nipissing
Nov. 25 and 26
Webcast on OUA.tv