Men’s Basketball (1-2 OUA)
Hosted Windsor (2-1 OUA) on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. (SSN Canada)
uOttawa – Warren Ward 22 points, 6 rebounds; Johnny Berhanemeskel 16 points, 2 rebounds; Mike L’Africain 16 points, 3 rebounds
Windsor – Enrico Diloreto 22 points, 4 rebounds; Jr Osuntola Rotimi 13 points, 7 rebounds; Lien Phillip 10 points, 7 rebounds
The Gee-Gees rewarded their home crowd, out in full force for tonight’s home opener, with a 69-65 win over the sixth place nationally ranked Windsor Lancers. And after losing their opening two games of the season in the final two minutes, it was the Gee-Gees turn to come out with the win tonight in a competitive match that stretched to the final seconds.
It was a slow start for the home court Gee-Gees and a rough first quarter that saw the Lancers jump to an early nine point lead. With the strong fan support from the full-house, the Gee-Gees began to find their groove in the second frame though, narrowing their deficit by four heading into the second half.
Windsor maintained the four point lead throughout much of the third, but a three pointer by fourth-year guard Warren Ward (London, Ont.) and from second-year guard Johnny Berhanemeskel (Ottawa, Ont.) seemed to be just the thing to get the Gee-Gees ahead in the game as Berhanemeskel finished the subsequent drive to give the Gee-Gees their first lead of the game. A three pointer from first-year point guard Mike L’Africain (Oakville, Ont.), followed by another from Berhanemeskel and a deuce from Ward would put the Gee-Gees squarely in the lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
And the Gee-Gees didn’t look back in the fourth quarter, and though the Lancers didn’t make it easy, the Gee-Gees powered to their first win of the season.
“You didn’t want to be at practice the week after [last weekend],” said L’Africain, “Our hopes were to go 2-0; we want to compete, we want to be a national championship team and we came out flat on the road. Tonight’s game was like our week, the beginning was pretty bad; we were down by 10. But we came together and we pulled it out together.”
“The first quarter looked a lot like last weekend,” said head coach James Derouin, “For me importantly, I thought that we stayed composed even though we had a really rough start. And we didn’t let it bother us; we stayed with it and we’re at home.”
“I’m just trying to pick my spots to be aggressive,” said L’Africain on the challenges of being a rookie point guard, “I’m playing with such great guys; there’s so many scorers on the court. And I found today was the first time I really truly did what I can do and it worked out, we got the win”
Derouin echoed the same sentiment, “[L’Africain’s] still learning when to score, when not to score. I thought he was aggressive tonight and that’s what we’re asking him to do. ”
“Warren responded tonight and looked like a leader,” commented Derouin, “When he’s playing like a leader, we’re definitely a team to be contended with. It’s more than just scoring, it’s the leadership and I thought he showed it out there with some big rebounds at crunch time a big basket when we needed it. ”
The Gee-Gees will return to Montpetit Hall to take on Western (1-2) tomorrow night, November 19, at 8:00 p.m. (SSN Canada)