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Two big NCAA games this week

Tuesday August 11, 2015
Richard Whittaker

After picking up a win to open the 2015 cross-border exhibition series, the Gee-Gees men’s basketball team will host two NCAA squads this week at Montpetit Hall. uOttawa will play Baylor on Thursday, August 13 at 8 p.m. and Valparaiso on Friday, August 14 at 6:30p.m.

This year’s border battle kicked off against Murray State. The Gee-Gees emerged victorious, winning by a score of 81-57. Caleb Agada led the Gee-Gees with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Matt Plunket put up 20 points, had 7 rebounds and 2 steals, with Mike L’Africain contributing 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to the effort.

Next, the Gee-Gees play host to the Baylor Bears who went 11-7 in the Big 12 and 24-9 during the 2014-15 season. Baylor outscored their opponents last season by a margin of 9.2 points, shooting 43.4 per cent from the floor and 37 per cent from beyond the arc. The Bears also averaged 8 more rebounds than their opposition, pulling down 39.2 per game. Baylor’s Rico Gathers is a dominating presence on the glass, after averaging a double-double with 11.6 rebounds and 11.7 points per game during the 2014-15 season; Gathers was named to the All Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Baylor’s backcourt will be missing its steady-handed Canadian point guard Kenny Chery, who averaged 11.4 points and 4 assists per game and graduated this year. 

The third and final matchup will feature the Valparaiso Crusaders, who went 13-3 to finish first in the Horizon League during the 2014-15 season. The Crusaders have made NCAA Tournament appearances the last two years and lose only one senior to graduation, returning 98.8 per cent of their scoring and rebounding contributions from last season. Valparaiso will be strong in the paint, with two key players to watch being Vashil Fernandez and Alec Peters.

Fernandez , is a 6-10, 260-pound centre and the reigning Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year who averaged 2.9 blocks per game last season and currently sits second in career rebounding records as he enters his final year of Valpo basketball. Alec Peters has been forecast as the second most complete player coming in to the 2015-16 season by the NCAA bleacher report. The 6-9 forward shot 46.6 per cent from behind the arc last year, is solid from the charity stripe (83%) and on the defensive end of the floor in addition to leading the Crusaders in scoring (16.8 points per game) and rebounds (6.7 per game) last year.

These next two matchups promise to be action-packed and exciting. You can purchase your tickets online at:

Please note that doors for the August 14 game will not open until warmup begins at 6 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. on August 13.