OTTAWA, ON – Led by Warren Ward’s 23 points and 11 rebounds, the Ottawa University Gee-Gees advanced to the CIS national Semi-Finals with an 82-70 win over McGill.
After a close first half where Ottawa took a narrow 28-27 lead, the Gee-Gees outscored the Redmen by 11 points in the second half and broke through the notoriously tough McGill defence.
Ward, a fifth-year senior, was pumped up for the first game of the tournament in Ottawa and the opportunity to play in front of his hometown fans and parents, both in attendance.
“It was a tough game,” Ward told NPH after the game. “We had to get the nerves out of our system a little bit, but I thought once the tempo picked up a lot then they played into our favour.”
McGill allowed 62.9 points per game this year, the second-lowest in the CIS, and were on a similar pace giving up just 28 points in the first half. But Ottawa broke through in the second half by turning defence into offence once they started trapping at the half-court line.
Ottawa forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue put in 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, point guard Mike L’Africain scored 13 and freshman wing Caleb Agada was an X-factor with 11 points and six rebounds.
Vincent Dufort led McGill with 18 points and nine rebounds and Te’Jour Riley added 16 points in the Redmen’s first appearance in the Final 8 in 33 years.
Dave DeAverio now coaches the Redmen after spending 19 years with the Ottawa team as a player, assistant and head coach. James Derouin, a former Gee-Gee player, has been bench boss for Ottawa since the 2010-11 season.
“He’s a great coach and they played a great game and I have a lot to thank Dave for me being in this position,” said Derouin. “We’ve just got to get back ready for tomorrow.”
“It’s the national championship semi-final. We know what Lakehead does, we know they defend, we know they’re one of the top defensive teams in the country so we’ve got to be ready to do what we did today.”
Ottawa will now take on Lakehead in the national Semi-Final, tomorrow at 5:30pm.
NPH Top Performers
Ottawa University Gee-Gees
Warren Ward – 23 points, 11 rebounds, 5-6 FT
Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue – 15 points, eight rebounds, 7-12 FT
Mike L’Africain – 13 points, two three-pointers
Vincent Dufort – 18 points, nine rebounds, three three-pointers
Te’Jour Riley – 16 points, six rebounds
Winn Clark – 13 points