Ottawa Gee-Gee Young Guns Take Care of UNB in Jack Donohue Opener
Johnny Berhanemeskel – Pts: 22, Reb: 9, Ast: 0, Stl: 0, Min: 27
Seamus Ferguson – Pts: 15 (7-11 FG), Reb: 11, Blk: 3, Min: 19
Alex DesRoches – Pts: 15, Reb: 9, Ast: 1, Stl: 2, Min: 31
OTTAWA,ON- UNB battled back with a strong second half, but this game was over early after Ottawa dominated the first half 51-19. The Gee-Gees came out with a strong 84-54 win in their tournament debut, despite a thin roster missing five veteran players.
Ottawa University’s Warren Ward was a First-Team OUA East All-Star last season, but is currently representing Canada at the Pan Am games in Mexico. Ottawa U is also dealing with early-season injuries to four of their veteran players, meaning coach James Derouin started a youthful lineup of all freshmen or sophomores.
The young guns got it done, though. And they got it done in a hurry.
After UNB’s Alex DesRoches got to the basket to open the scoring, the Ottawa University Gee-Gees hit consecutive threes by Johnny Berhanemeskel and Mike L’Africain forcing UNB to take an early timeout with 6:19 remaining in the first quarter.
When the Varsity Reds emerged from the timeout, it got no better as first-year Ottawa forward Vikas Gill hit back-to-back distance shots to bring the score to 12-2.
Speaking with Gill, he told NPH the focus should not be on offense because “right now we’re focusing on our defense. Last weekend we allowed eighty points in two games, and the offense is there with eighty-four points tonight.”
Ottawa continued it’s strong play on both ends when Seamus Ferguson substituted into the ballgame. His long 6’10” frame allowed him to intimidate on defense, score around the basket with a hook-shot, and hit the offensive boards.
UNB would score once more in the quarter, but Ottawa led 25-6 after one.
The second quarter was much of the same for Ottawa U who scored at will and locked down on defense. Johnny Berhanemeskel was an offensive force inside and out, and the highlight was an alley-oop play from Mike L’Africain to Seamus Ferguson for the dunk. The Gee-Gees led at halftime 51-19
UNB was competitive in the second half, but it was far too late, the damage had been done. Jordan Irvine scored, and Robert Linton hit a three-pointer to bring the UNB Varsity Reds within 30, down 66-36.
While that 30-point defecit doesn’t sound competitive, UNB outscored Ottawa in the second half by a score of 35-33.
Still, Ottawa impressed in the second half. Seamus Ferguson blocked two big shots in the second half while also providing offense. Johnny Berhanemeskel and Vikas Gill continued to score for Ottawa, and while UNB’s Seth Amoah scored two three-pointers in the final minute, Ottawa already had the game well in hand and came away with the thirty-point victory 84-54.
Vikas Gill reiterated the inportance for his team in this tournament is to develop some players that wouldn’t normally get to play, and “get the young guys like me and Mike (L’Africain) experienced with everything, with the refs, because it’s completely different from highschool. It’s great for us first and second-year guys.”
UNB plays their next tournament game at 6pm against McGill on Saturday, followed at 8pm by Ottawa taking on Laurier at the Jack Donohue tournament.