Friday, 22 October 2010

Ottawa 66 Toronto 55

In a sloppy affair that feature several missed layups, numerous second chances, a ton of fouls and turnovers, the Gee-Gees used a deeper bench and tight defending to handle the rebuilding Varsity Blues.  Ottawa was rarely threatened in the game and even when the Blues looked like they would make a run to bring the game back, costly mistakes allowed Ottawa to re-stretch their lead.

Early on, the Gee-Gees did a fine job running wing ball screens into pick-and-pops to get good looks and layups, grabbing an 18-7 lead as 6'6" Warren Ward and 6'6" Nemanja Baletic took turns knocking shots down and getting to the rim.  Later Ottawa scored the first 7 ponts of the second quarter and led by 13 but Toronto then fell back into a tight zone.  The Gee-Gees shot selection then turned mediocre and the only real stretch of solid Blues defensive rebounding allowed Toronto to get some easy transition scores to get back to within 6 with the ball and one possession left in the half.  Unfortunately, the Blues turned it over and 6'2" Jacob Gibson-Bascombe hit a three at the buzzer to provide Ottawa with a nine-point lead at the half.

The Blues then scored the first 4 points of the second half and had momentum down only 5, but slick freshman Johnny Berhane knocked down one of his 3 3's on the game and sophomore Akeem Gardner followed with a conventional three-point play and the lead was back up to 11 at 39-28 with the Blues rarely threatening thereafter.  The lead then stayed between 15 and 9 the remainder of the way.

Ottawa did a great job defending the perimeter with their quickness, depth and athleticism however Toronto bigs Drazen Glizic and Andrew Wasik had their problems finishing around the rim and the Gee-Gees got several important putbacks on the "o" glass exposing a growing concern for Blues bigs - the inability to grab a big defensive board.  6'5" Cornell transfer Alex Hill, a lefty with a strong ability to slash to the goal, showed some flashes of becoming the go-to wing player Toronto needs to score consistently while 6'1" fifth-year guard Anthony DeGiorgio played valiantly, getting to the rim and finding guys on some occasions but his inability to consistently knock open shots down tonight hurt Toronto's runs.

The Gee-Gees started 6'3" freshman guard Luc Minani in place of Gibson-Bascombe although G-B got more significant time at the point - tonight they showed the potential to be a nice combo for new coach James Derouin, now 2-0 vs. CIS in his young career.  6'5" freshman Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue was a presence inside at both ends for the Gee-Gees, not backing down from any physicality and showing fine finishing skills and energy around the rim.  Together with 6'9" fifth-year center Louis Gauthier, Ottawa has a fine pair of impact bigs who complement Ward and the athletic wings.

Tomorrow night's 8 PM pits the Gee-Gees against the very impressive St. FX X-Men, who hammered UQAM in the first game.

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