OUA East: Gee-Gees keep 2nd place hopes alive; Blues rally in Kingston

Ottawa 99 Laurentian 90… Gee-Gees rode a terrific effort from 5’11” point guard Calvin Epistola and strong work inside for an important road win in Sudbury.  Epistola, starting in place of injured 5’11” Sean Stoqua (ACL), had a team-high 22 points, adding 5 assists and 5 rebounds in 39 strong minutes in a career-best game.  More importantly, Epistola had a driving lay-in on the final possession against two Voyageur defenders to give Ottawa a nine-point win, offsetting Ottawa’s 8 point loss at home to Laurentian in January, giving Gee-Gees the advantage in any tie-breaking scenario.  Ottawa now trails the Voyageurs by two games with three remaining.  Gee-Gees finish at Nipissing tonight and then home to Queen’s and York next weekend while Laurentian hosts #1 Carleton tonight followed by road games at Toronto and at Ryerson.  Rams also have a legitimate shot at second place (at Queen’s tonight).  Gee-Gees also hold the point spread tie-breaker against Ryerson in head-to-head.  Ottawa won despite 38 points and 14 assists from 6’2″ Kadre Gray, primarily by dominating inside with 6’6″ Kenny Jean-Louis (9-14 fg/20 points), 6’7″ Brody Maracle (15 pts/5-8 shooting) and 6’9″ Jean Pierre-Charles (12 points/5-7).  Ottawa played a solid road game with just 13 turnovers and shot 89% from the charity stripe after coming into the game with the conference’s worst free throw percentage as a team.  uOttawa’s 6’4″ Gage Sabean also made critical shots at big points in the game with a pair of transition threes in the first half when it looked like Voyageurs might pull away early and then a big three late from the right pocket that bounced around for a couple of seconds before falling through.  Ottawa outscored Laurentian 57-47 in what was a wild second half.

Toronto 90, Queen’s 80… The Blues went a blistering 5 for 6 from three-point land during a 4 minute stretch late in the fourth quarter, leading to a 15-0 run that erased a five-point deficit to shock the Gaels in Kingston.  6’3″ Sage Usher had 22 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and combined with 6’3″ Reilly Reid (13 points/all after halftime) to each knock down a pair from downtown during the run and 6’4″ freshman Evan Shadkami had another as part of his 17 point effort.  Blues shot 13-26 from three overall and turned it over just 5 times all night in the important road win that puts them that much closer to clinching an OUA East playoff spot.  With just three games to play, Varsity leads Nipissing by two games in advance tonight’s action which sees Lakers hosting uOttawa Gee-Gees in North Bay and Toronto travelling to North York to face last place York Lions.  Blues outscored Queen’s 59-37 in the second half, offsetting a 17 point effort from 6’1″ Jaz Bains.

Carleton 78, Nipissing 59… Lakers hung tough for much of the game but Ravens pulled away in the fourth for the road win as 6’1″ Yasiin Joseph finished with 21 points and emerging 6’6″ reserve Mitch Jackson had all 16 of his points after halftime for Carleton.  Jackson has become a key cog up front off the bench for the Ravens with his length and finishing ability inside, last night going 7-8 from the field.  Ex-Raven 6’6″ Justin Shaver led Nipissing with 15 points and 6 rebounds including a three during a third quarter flurry that got the Lakers back to within six.  But Carleton closed the quarter strong and then pulled away to lead by as many as 21 midway through the fourth.

OUA East Standings

Carleton 20-0

Laurentian 16-4

Ottawa 14-6

Ryerson 14-6

Queen’s 11-9

Toronto 10-10

Nipissing 8-12

York 2-18

Tonight’s Games:  Carleton at Laurentian, Ottawa at Nipissing, Ryerson at Queen’s, Toronto at York.

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