GeeGees Image

Ravens spoil uOttawa’s perfect record in hard fought Capital Hoops Classic

Friday February 6, 2015
Action shot at Capital Hoops.
Richard Whittaker

This year’s MBNA Capital Hoops Classic was indeed a classic as the country’s top two teams played hard in front of the 10, 780 crowd - the event’s and the CIS’s highest ever attendance for a regular season game. Once the final buzzer sounded it was Carleton who came out on top 79-66 thanks to a fourth quarter surge capped off by some Gavin Resch three-pointers.

The loss puts an end to a perfect season for the Gee-Gees who are now 14-1 on the season. The loss will have no immediate effect in the standings however as the Gee-Gees still sit in first position in the OUA North Division and first overall in the OUA.  

The story of the night was the battle between uOttawa’s Johnny Berhanemeskel and Carleton’s Thomas Scrubb; the pair traded buckets throughout the contest. Berhanemeskel finished with 28 points and five assists while Scrubb finished with a game high 29 points of his own.

“I think foul trouble in the first half really hurt us because we took some really undisciplined fouls. We kind of dug a hole for ourselves in the first half, then went on a run in the third, only to run out of gas in the fourth. It is pretty clear what we did wrong and I have full confidence that those things can be fixed for next time we play them,” said head coach James Derouin in a post-game interview.  

“The atmosphere in here was the best I’ve ever seen, it was amazing. We were all really excited about this game and the crowd did not disappoint,” said Gee-Gees fourth-year Vikas Gill. “We always preach the same thing and that is defence. We always say that if we can play defence the offence will take care of its self. We did that in the third quarter and that’s why we were able to come back like that but couldn’t carry it over to the fourth unfortunately.”  

uOttawa had a cold start to the game shooting only 5-13 in the opening quarter. Carleton appeared to attack the paint at will in the early going, scoring 14 of their 24 first half points inside the painted area. Johnny Berhanemeskel carried his team on his back through uOttawa’s slow start, scoring 12 of the Gee-Gees first 15 points.

After going on a run highlighted by threes from Mike L’Africain and Matt Plunkett the Gee-Gees were able to get back into the game, bringing the score to within six points midway through the second frame. Thomas Scrubb would have his word however, dropping 16 points of his own in the half.

The Gee-Gees first half struggles had a lot to do with the amount of shots being taken as the club shot a better percentage than Carleton in the first half (50 per cent), but were only able to muster a season low 24 shot attempts to the Ravens 37. Caleb Agada was limited to only six minutes in the first half after running into very early foul trouble.  

“Having Caleb out with foul trouble in the first forty seconds of the game really changes our game plan because he is such a big part of what we do. He responded well when he came back out in the second half but to be honest our game plan was pretty thrown off by that,” added Derouin.

Things instantly heated up in the second half as the Gee-Gees came storming out of the gates with a 11-4 run to bring the score to 50-46 with plenty of time remaining. Johnny Berhanemeskel gave the Canadian Tire Centre a glimpse of why he is amongst the country’s best scorers when he answered a Carleton rush with a steal and smooth finish in transition while being fouled.

The play appeared to spark the team as Ottawa would tie the game up at 51 nearing the end of the third quarter. The crowd also appeared to gain a spark as the cheers and chants got louder and louder as the game went on. Berhanemeskel continued to embrace the spotlight as he would drive the lane and score once again for uOttawa, giving his team the lead for the first time.

After holding the Ravens to only nine points in the third, things turned sour for uOttawa in the final frame as the Ravens attacked the heart of the Gee-Gees defence and were able to regain a nine point lead with 3:00 minutes remaining.

It was Carleton’s Gavin Resch who delivered the dagger with a deep three, pushing the Ravens lead to 11 which would be enough to put the game out of reach for the garnet and grey. Resch finished with 13 points on 3-6 shooting from long range and 4-5 from the free throw line. Phil Scrubb also chipped in with 13 and five assists.