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Ward paces Ottawa to lopsided win at Queen’s

Thursday February 2, 2012

The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team recorded a win in their final road game of the regular season, using sparkling first half shooting to cruise to a 99-80 victory over the Queen’s Gaels. Warren Ward recorded a near triple-double, leading the team in scoring, 28, and rebounds, 12, while also adding seven assists.  Johnny Berhanemeskel added 21 points, including four three pointers to help no. 8 ranked Ottawa record their highest offensive output of the season.

The teams rapidly exchanged points to open the game, running the floor and firing from long range. Ward had the hot hand in the early going, scoring eight first quarter points, and Moe Ismail hit a long three to give Ottawa their largest lead of the first quarter at 21-16.

Both squads were feeling comfortable from downtown in the early going – each team sank four in the first quarter and opened the second in a similar fashion. Ottawa hit a remarkable 10-of-13 threes in the first half, while Queen’s sank six of their 17 attempts.

 Queen’s had plenty of second chances thanks to good positioning on the boards; the Gaels grabbed eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone. That allowed them to retake the lead at the end of the first quarter with the score at 26-24 in favour of the tricolour after the opening ten minutes.

While the first half featured breathless back and forth action, the second half slowed to a crawl with players taking exception to contact in the half court sets at both ends. The veteran Gee-Gees handled the distractions well, using a 23-17 third quarter to ensure the game was out of reach.

A Vikas Gill three-pointer at the six minute mark of the third made it 71-46 as Queen’s opened the second half ice cold on offence. Ottawa also tightened up their work on the boards, out-rebounding the Gaels 14-9 in the third quarter and 41-35 overall.

Mike L’Africain had another solid outing at point guard, growing the Gee-Gees lead by setting up a number of pretty plays with Berhanemeskel and Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue in the third quarter on the way to recording seven assists on the night.

Moe Ismail, who shot 5-for-7 from downtown, finished the game with 15 points off the bench for Ottawa.

The win distances Ottawa from the fourth-place Gaels and clinches a home playoff game. The Gee-Gees currently sit in third in the OUA East with a record of 13-4.

Box Score            1              2              3              4              F

Ottawa                 24           29           23           23           99

Queen’s               26           14           17           23           80