By Natasha White, Basketball Reporter
See if you can follow this preseason logic: Dalhousie men’s basketball beat Saint Mary’s handily, winning four of five scrimmages. SMU barely beats Ottawa 89–88, therefore Dal should beat Ottawa easily, right?
Wrong. This time the travelling Ottawa Gee-Gees had luck on their side, edging the Tigers 72– 9 in last Friday’s match-up.
Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin had his team armed and ready for battle.
“This is a big win for us. We have huge respect for (Dal head coach John)Campbell. His team is always well prepared defensively. They handled our regular game, so we had to go to the drive and dish.”
Gee-Gees guard Luc Minani and centre Louis Gautier paired up for 38 of Ottawa’s points, with Gautier owning Dal’s inside. Dal’s help defence either came too late or came too much. Overcompensating for the gaping middle, four Tiger defenders collapsed in, only to have the driving Gee-Gees stop and pop or kick it back out to arch. Ottawa’s waiting Johnny Berhanemeskel benefitted from the kick-outs, draining four threes.
Dal’s Simon Farine had another strangely sub-par performance, coming out of the first half with only three points and finishing with 12. Fellow starting guard Juleous Grant also had a lacklustre game, contributing just five points to the losing cause. However, centre Joe Schow continued to show off his range, hitting some pretty bank shots from outside. Hustle player of the game goes to Tiger Sandy Veit who hit a 15-footer from the baseline. Veit would follow-up on the next trip down the court, ripping the ball out of a rebounding Gee-Gee’s hands and adding a put-back for two more points.
Heading into half-time Dal had a 36–30 lead. After going up 12 early in the third, Dal inexplicably lost focus and the Gee-Gees pounced. Dal saw their lead evaporate in a two-minute span mid-way through the third. The game became a wee bit chippy by the end of the third, when double technicals were called on Tiger Will Yengue and Gee-Gee Warren Ward, who exchanged shoves under Ottawa’s basket. Ottawa’s Gautier also added an undisciplined technical with under three to go in the game.
“He’s a fifth year, he should know better than that,” said Derouin.
It all came down to the last shot. Dal had possession with 14.9 seconds to go, down by three. Farine broke free to hit a baseline three. Rimmed out. Rebound, back to Grant for another three attempt to tie the game. Rimmed out. And that’s how it ended.