Akeem Wright drives to the hoop during the Oshawa Power's exhibition game against the London Lightning. Oshawa managed to hang on for a tense 88-85 victory. The Power will play their home-opener Thursday night at the GM Centre.
November 2, 2011
By Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express
It’s been one game, but the National Basketball League of Canada is looking like it will be providing more than a few nail biters.
In the league’s first-ever regular season match-up, the Oshawa Power dropped a close one to the Quebec Kebs, 104-101.
The Power’s first loss comes after a pair of exhibition games against the London Lightning. Oshawa played to rowdy GM Centre crowd in the second game, winning in yet another tight contest, 88-85.
Against Quebec, Oshawa carried a 51-46 lead into halftime before having the script flipped on them in the latter part of the game.
Brandon Robinson led the way for the Power, finishing with 16 points. The 6’5’’ shooting guard added five rebounds as well.
Oshawa point guard Tut Ruach scored the first points of the game, a three-point shot, and in doing so, became the first player to score in league history. The York University alum finished with only three points, but dished out plenty of help to his teammates with 10 assists.
“At the time the shot felt like most other baskets I’ve scored in my career,” says Ruach about the history-making bucket. “Looking back now it feels great to be a part of what will hopefully become a storied history in professional Canadian basketball.”
Canadian Kevin Francis nearly compiled a double-double in his first outing, ending the game with 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Kebs’ Tommy Mitchell was the game’s leading scorer with 28 points. His four three-pointers were tied with teammate Royce Parran, who added 21 points of his own.
“We just have to keep learning from these games and building continuity, that’s the key,” said Oshawa Power Head Coach Mark Strickland after the London exhibition. “That’s going to take time. We’ve got to keep wearing teams down.”
Oshawa’s first-overall draft pick Morgan Lewis chipped in 12 points against the Kebs. After the London game, Lewis spoke about two facets of the team’s play that could be improved: chemistry and consistency.
“If we can work on our chemistry and consistency I think we’ll do big things in this league this year,” says Lewis.
The University of Findlay product was also pleasantly surprised with the fan support at the GM Centre after the Lightning game. Approximately 1,700 basketball fans turned up for the exhibition.
“I was shocked. I honestly didn’t expect this kind of turnout,” remarks Lewis, who nearly had the play of the game as well during a close fourth quarter.
Lewis received a pass in mid-flight from Ruach that brought many crowd members to their feet; but the guard just missed his end of the alley-oop. After the game Lewis bemoaned the miss and caught some good-natured ribbing for failing to convert the potentially world-shattering slam.
The Power are hoping for a similar turnout at the team’s home-opener, Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at the GM Centre. Oshawa will take on the Moncton Miracles in the team’s first regular season game in front of the Power faithful.
Tickets are still available and can be had by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-877-554-8457.
Oshawa was also forced to say goodbye to Canadian product Denham Brown before the Quebec contest. Brown signed with Argentinean club Ciclista Olimpico for the 2011-2012 season.
“The Oshawa Power was grateful to have Denham Brown at our training camp. He was a
role model to the younger players trying out for our team; especially the Canadian players
and provided leadership and experience as we built our roster, says Gary Durrant,
president of basketball operations for the Power. “We know Denham will be successful in Argentina and wish him the best of luck with his new team.”