The U SPORTS sixth-ranked Gee-Gees men's basketball started slow and had a comeback bid fall short against second-ranked Carleton Ravens in the Capital Hoops Classic on Friday night.
The rivalry game welcomed 9,004 fans to the Canadian Tire Centre to take in the 13th edition of the game. The 82-64 loss lowers the Gee-Gees' record to 13-6, however does not effect Ottawa's third-place standing in the OUA East.
First-year forward Guillaume Pépin was as solid as he's been all season leading the Gee-Gees with 17 points, eight rebounds, and two steals. Point guard Calvin Epistola added a wellrounded 14 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Gage Sabean scored 12 despite struggling from three, while Olivier Cadieux provided a key seven points and two boards off of the bench.
Similar to last week's matchup against Ryerson, the Gee-Gees were hampered by a slow start. The Ravens outscored the Gee-Gees 25-7 in the first quarter, which provided a mountain too tall to climb for the rest of the game. For the remainder of the night, the teams were deadeven, scoring 57 points each over the next three quarters. In the third quarter, the Gee-Gees played their best basketball outscoring the Ravens by a 23-18 margin in the frame.
The Ravens heavily outrebounded the Gee-Gees by 21, which was key in thwarting the Ottawa comeback attempt. The Gee-Gees shot better from beyond the arc, shooting 29.4 per cent to Carleton's 28.6.
"When you spot a team as good as Carleton 15 or 16 points, you're playing uphill the rest of the game," said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. "In the third, we started to share the ball a little bit, we started to move it, started to attack and kick. It's sometimes as simple as our shooters made shots."
"We have a lot of young guys playing in this environment, we got off to a slow start because you're a little shell-shocked in the beginning," said fifth-year guard Brandon Robinson, following his final Capital Hoops game. "Being tied for the rest of the game after the first obviously shows we can keep up with them, it's just about getting that good start. There's a lot of growing to do."
Ottawa will take to the road next weekend as they make the short trip to Kingston for a matchup with the Queen's Gaels on Friday, followed by the York Lions on Saturday night in Toronto.