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PREVIEW: #6 Gee-Gees striving for upset victory over #2 Ravens in annual Capital Hoops Classic

Greg Mason.
Greg Mason.

The 13th annual Capital Hoops Classic takes place this Friday night at the Canadian Tire Centre between bitter rivals and perennial OUA powerhouses, as the #6 Gee-Gees men's basketball team (13-5) takes on the #2 Carleton Ravens (17-1). 

Sine 1963, the Ravens hold a 92-40 advantage in all time head-to-head matchups over the Gee-Gees, including a 10-2 advantage since the inception of the Capital Hoops Classic game in the 2006-2007 season. The Gee-Gees last victory came in the 2016 event as they defeated the Ravens 78-72, after also winning the inaugural event in 2007.

Since it's inception, the game has attracted 104,344 spectators, breaking the 100,000 mark last season, solidifying itself as the premier event in Canadian university basketball basketball. 

The Ravens took the first matchup between the two teams this season as they handily defeated the Gee-Gees 87-69 on October 26th at Montpetit Hall. In that game, Gee-Gees fifth year guard Brandon Robinson scored a game high 19 points, however it was not enough to overcome a monster night from the Ravens T.J. Lall, who finished with 31 points.

After a loss to the Ryerson Rams on Saturday night, this marks the first time this season that the Ravens have not been ranked at the top in the weekly U SPORTS top ten poll. Meanwhile the Gee-Gees have risen steadily this season after starting the season ranked ninth in the country, and held onto their sixth spot this week after splitting last weekends games with a loss to the Rams and a win over the Toronto Varsity Blues. 

Coming into the game, both teams are among the elite teams in the country when it comes to thee point shooting. The Gee-Gees rank second in U SPORTS in made three pointers per game (10.7), and third in three point shooting percentage (36.0%), while the Ravens rank sixth in U SPORTS having made 34.9 percent of their attempted threes this season.

After a disappointing end to last season, in which they lost to the Rams in the OUA quarterfinals, the Gee-Gees returned 11 players from last years roster as they look to take the next step and return to contending for the national title. On the other side of the court, the Ravens took home the U SPORTS bronze medal last season, which put an end to their seven year run as national champions. The Ravens have returned 12 players from last years roster, including their leading scorer this season, Eddie Ekiyor.

Leading the way for the Gee-Gees this season on the offensive end of the floor has been first year standout Guillaume Pépin, who is averaging a team high 15.5 points per game, which is third highest among all U SPORTS rookies this season. As well, third year guard Gage Sabean has been having the best year of his career, as he is currently averaging 14.9 points per game, while shooting 43.6 percent from behind the three point line, which ranks fifth in the OUA.

Veterans Brandon Robinson, Mackenzie Morrison, Calvin Epistola, and Andrew Degroot will look to lead the way for the Gee-Gees in front on a raucous crowd, as they only current Gee-Gees who have won a Capital Hoops game in their career.