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Tihani threes tilt Top Ten matchup to Ottawa

Sunday November 29, 2015
Gee-Gees in action
Richard A. Whittaker

The no. 1 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees took an 88-57 win over the no. 6 ranked Western Mustangs in Ottawa on Saturday night, closing out the fall portion of the OUA regular season with a sparkling 7-0 record. It was another big defensive performance in combination with a big night from Mehdi Tihani which put the Gee-Gees in control of their first Top Ten matchup of the regular season.

Tihani, a fourth-year guard, started the game at shooting guard and proceeded to shoot 6-8 from long range and finished the game with a game-high 20 points. His six treys broke his previous regular season career high of three, which he had accomplished on four occasions.

“He’s a phenomenal shooter, but he’s also an unselfish guy,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin, “So sometimes he decides he’s not going to shoot. Tonight he was great at both ends of the floor.”

For Western, Peter Scholtes was the high scorer with 18 points along with 8 rebounds, while fellow fifth-year Greg Morrow added 15 points and seven rebounds.

Ottawa had five players in double-digit scoring, including fourth-year Caleb Agada’s fifth double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Post Brody Maracle scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, his highest total of the regular season.

A corner three by Vikas Gill and a steal which Tihani took coast to coast put Ottawa ahead 21-18 after the home side trailed 16-14 heading into the second quarter. Tihani was a big factor early for the Gee-Gees, guarding Greg Morrow at one end and scoring 14 points in the first half.

Brandon Robinson made an impact play midway through the third, sprinting back to recover and block a runaway layup attempt by Eric McDonald. Brody Maracle made it count at the other end, muscling his way through two defenders for an inside score which re-established a 50-34 lead.

The Mustangs stayed within striking distance until the fourth quarter, aided by 25 trips to the foul line. Ottawa opened the fourth on a 5-0 run, which included a soaring block from Agada. That set the garnet and grey up to control the final frame and at the midway mark Western had managed just two points. Ottawa continued to look for Tihani, who sank two more treys.

“By three or by thirty, this is a huge win,” added Derouin. “They were physical with us in the third but we responded by going back into the post.”

The Gee-Gees will compete in the Rouge et Or Holiday Tournament, December 28-30 in Quebec City, facing Laval, UNB, and Calgary before returning to OUA competition on January 16 at no. 2 ranked Carleton.