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Gee-Gees look to keep top ten form on the road

Tuesday January 3, 2012

Men’s Basketball (7-1 OUA, ranked 10th CIS)
At York (4-4 OUA), Friday January 4, 20 :00
At Laurentian (5-3 OUA), Saturday January 5, 20 :00

The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team enters the new year ranked tenth in the CIS and tied for second spot in the OUA East standings thanks to a six game winning streak over teams from the OUA West. After a break from action in December, the team’s first weekend back features road matchups against York and Laurentian.

The Gee-Gees used strong team defence, steady post play by Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue, and scoring performances by Warren Ward and Johnny Berhanemeskel to achieve their 7-1 start. Despite their first half successes, the Gee-Gees face an increasingly deep OUA East field for the remainder of the season and know that with teams starting January bunched closely together, each game is crucial.

“Going into the divisional play means the games become even more difficult and more important. No one wants to give up even one game,” said head coach James Derouin. “The interlock is to put yourself in a good position, but the division is won or lost in the second semester.”

With a 4-4 record, York has come out on the winning side of two one-point games with 6-5 freshman forward Daniel Tulloch providing important baskets down the stretch. Tulloch, who is averaging 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, has provided solid support for York’s all-star guard David Tyndale. Tyndale, now in his fifth year, leads the Lions with 16.5 points per game.

Laurentian won five games in a row after losing their season opener to Brock, but faltered on the road dropping their two final games before the break to Guelph and Lakehead. During the break, Laurentian lost close games to no. 4 ranked Cape Breton and St. FX. The Voyageurs are 4-0 at home heading into this weekend and feature a scoring duo comparable to Ottawa’s Ward and Berhanemeskel. Manny Pasquale (17.6 ppg) and Alex Ratte (17.0 ppg) lead the Voyageurs attack and are capable of catching fire for big performances.

Of note for Ottawa, Warren Ward’s strong start to the season sees him approaching a career milestone. Sitting at 488 career rebounds (regular season), Ward could potentially move into fourth in the Gee-Gees rebounding record books this weekend and become only second player in uOttawa history to tally 500 rebounds and 1000 points. Ward’s current totals place him in sixth on the school rebounding list, and second all-time in career points scored (1265).

Berhanemeskel could also move into the top ten list of all-time Gee-Gee scorers. At 877 career points heading into this weekend, the third year guard needs just six points to overtake Gee-Gees assistant coach Clarence Porter for tenth spot.

Both games this weekend will be carried live on SSN Canada.