Rouge et Or jumped on the Gee-Gees early, building double-digit first half leads and then holding on for an 87-77 win in what could be the biggest win in Coach Jacques Paiement Jr.’s coaching career at Laval. On the heels of an impressive one-point loss at McGill to end the first half, Laval shot 48% from the floor including 6 of 12 from 3 to take a 9 point halftime lead, getting a game-high 23 points and 5 assists from point guard Karl Demers-Belanger. Sophomore wing forward Alexandre Leclerc added 17 points and 8 boards as the two Laval stars combined to shoot 8 for 15 from 3.
Mike L’Africain led Ottawa with 21 points and 7 assists vs. 5 turnovers but the fifth-year guard shot only 3 for 17 from 3 as Ottawa made only 12 of 44 from downtown including 4 of 22 in the first half. Caleb Agada had 17 points in only 25 minutes amid foul trouble before fouling out. Vikas Gill had 14 points in the loss. The Gee-Gees were whistled for 23 fouls against 17 for Laval. Ottawa shot just 1 for 6 from the free throw line for the game.
So tomorrow’s Calgary/Ottawa game, tabbed as the game of the Holidays, loses some of it’s lustre amid opening-round losses for both teams.