Men’s Basketball (8-5 OUA)
Hosted Carleton (13-0 OUA) on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Place for the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic. (Rogers TV, Team 1200, SSN Canada)
uOttawa – Vikas Gill 7 points, 6 rebounds; Johnny Berhanemeskel 7 points, 4 rebounds; Shamus Ferguson 2 points, 9 rebounds
Carleton – Tyson Hinz 22 points, 11 rebounds; Willy Manigat 11 points, 2 rebounds
The undefeated Carleton Ravens remain so after tonight as they convincingly defeated the host cross-town Gee-Gees in a low-scoring 74-34 affair at the sixth annual Capital Hoops Classic at Scotiabank Place.
Uncharacteristically poor shooting from both teams on the floor produced a low-scoring first half with a 22-16 Carleton lead after 20 minutes. As the Gee-Gees stayed within a few baskets of the Ravens, Carleton shot a meagre 28% from the floor, 15% behind the arc and 50% from the free throw line. The Gee-Gees didn’t fair any better, shooting 33% from the floor and 0-8 from the three point line, an area they dominated their last five games at 55%.
With Carleton averaging 96 points per game, the Gee-Gees can be proud of the defensive effort they put up, most notably in the first half holding Carleton to 22 points. “I thought defensively in the first half we did some really good things, we were really competing,” said head coach James Derouin, “And in the second half, we came out almost satisfied. They came out hungry and they went right at it and that just set the tone for the whole second half. It’s almost like we thought we’d done our job by being close at half and then sleepwalked through the quarter. And then they got their momentum going and it really just fell apart from there.”
The second half shifted things for the Ravens as they blazed through a 16 point run in the first four minutes until a three by second-year guard Johnny Berhanemeskel (Ottawa, Ont.) broke the ice. But the damage was done; and despite the Gee-Gees slowing the Carleton scoring train, the Ravens extended their lead to 24 points after the third. The Ravens also much improved their shooting percentages, while the Gee-Gees further dropped.
And by game’s end, it was Carleton, the number one ranked team in the country, who continued to display why they’re at that position as they finished with a 40 point lead over the mentally exhausted Gee-Gees.
“They did the tough things that we didn’t do down the stretch; they got to the free throw line way more, turnovers definitely killed us,” said Berhanemeskel, “We weren’t even getting shots; they were coming down the other way and scoring while we weren’t even getting chances to score and they were coming back the other way again.”
Berhanemeskel and rookie Vikas Gill (Stittsville, Ont.) each contributed seven points to the effort tonight. Rookie Shamus Ferguson (Toronto, Ont.) controlled the boards for the Garnet and Grey with nine rebounds on the game. Attendance at the sixth annual Capital Hoops Classic peaked at 7022 during the men’s game at Scotiabank Place.
“For any team, going into that game you have to realize that’s national level basketball. If you can play at their calibre and compete with them, then you have a chance to get to nationals,” said Berhanemeskel, noting times the Gee-Gees did play at the Ravens’ calibre. “There were definitely glimpses. They’re the number one scoring team in the country right now and going into the half we held them at 22-16. I know we struggled offensively big time, but we held them. But we can definitely go forward and look at that game tape in the good half and see some good things we did defensively.”
“Mike [L’Africain] and Johnny [Berhanemeskel] had a hard time with their ball pressure and denials; they saw a whole other level of defence,” said Derouin, “You tip your hat to Carleton’s defence and to where they are with their program right now. I wanted our young guys to see the level of defence and intensity, the level of physical play that Carleton comes with. I left them out there because they’re the future of this program and they have to deal with it and see as much as they can.”
“They struggled, they’ll learn,” concluded Derouin, “We have to shake it off and move forward; put this behind us. The danger is how our confidence is affected by this game moving forward.”
Berhanemeskel echoed the same sentiments, “We need to have a short memory and finish off the season strong.”
The Gee-Gees will have a chance to rebound this weekend, as they host a pair of key games with RMC on Friday and Queen’s on Saturday, both at 8:00 p.m. at Montpetit Hall.