Ottawa native and guard Mackenzie Simpson had a 32-point weekend in his hometown. But he couldn’t stop the men’s basketball team from dropping two games by a combined 61 points.
The Gaels’ winless record extended to 14 games after losing 96-64 to the first-place Carleton Ravens on Friday and 87-58 to the second-place Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday.
Guard Ryan Golden scored all of his team-high 17 points in the first half against the Ravens on Friday night, helping his team stay in the game through two quarters. He was perfect from beyond the three-point line, converting all four attempts as the Gaels went into the half trailing by 11.
But in the third quarter, Canada’s top-ranked team shut the Gaels out for almost seven minutes during a 26-0 run.
“We expected [them] to come out and play a much better second half,” Golden said. “We kept battling, but some defensive breakdowns allowed openings for their shooters and they made shots.
“Offensively, we just weren’t hitting shots … When a team like that decides to lockdown on [defence], it’s tough for any team to execute.”
Simpson led a strong fourth quarter effort with eight points, but he was no match for Ravens guard Elliot Thompson, who scored seven three-pointers.
Golden said the Gaels saw Friday’s game as an improvement. They put up their best shooting percentage of the season, going 21 for 47 from the floor and 57 per cent from the three-point line.
“Nobody expected [us] to compete at the level we did,” Golden said. “We hustled hard … we hit guys on screens and played a gritty, tough game.”
On Saturday against the Gee-Gees, the Gaels were behind by 17 points at halftime.
Despite a 15-point second half from Simpson, the Gee-Gees cruised to an 87-58 victory. Ottawa guard Johnny Berhanemeskel led all scorers with 31 points.
Golden said the Gaels’ lack of energy let them down on Saturday night.
“Our team needs to be the hardest working team in the country,” he said. “We aren’t going to be the most athletic or talented team on the floor. We need to play smarter and harder.”
Simpson finished the game with a team-high 19 points and added five rebounds. Rookie centre John Lenz had 12 points and seven rebounds.
The 0-14 Gaels will travel to Toronto this weekend to play the Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams.
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