Men’s basketball lose final regular season home games

Gaels have now lost seven of their last 10

The Gaels have two games remaining before the postseason.
The Gaels have two games remaining before the postseason.

Men’s basketball’s recent string of inconsistent play persisted this past weekend with consecutive losses to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams.

Queen’s showed promise in the opening two frames against U of T on Friday. They led 43-31 at the half, connected on seven threes and shot 58 per cent from the field. But in the fourth quarter, the Gaels found themselves on their back heels. U of T embarked on a 17-2 run to close the final frame, hitting five consecutive threes to defeat the Gaels 90-80.

Saturday’s game against Ryerson saw more of the same from Queen’s. The Gaels fell behind early —the Rams opened the game on a 9-0 run — and couldn’t muster a successful comeback. Despite an 11-0 Queen’s run in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late, as they lost 86-78. 

“I think that first five minutes, it’s something that — when you look at the end of a game — [it] comes back to bite you later,” men’s head coach Steph Barrie said after his team’s loss to Ryerson, as he alluded to their opponent’s 9-0 run to open the game. “We came out a little tentative and a little flat.”

Albeit a slow start for his team, Barrie was impressed with how they battled back in the fourth quarter, particularly considering their second-half play just a night prior.

“[Against] Toronto, I thought our second half was awful … But tonight we battled hard, we got down, we came and were much better in the second half,” he said of the Gaels’ late 11-0 fourth quarter run.

When asked if he could credit part of the loss to his team’s shooting woes — they converted on just 32.5 per cent of their shots through the first three quarters — Barrie was more concerned with the Gaels’ play in their defensive third.

“The reality is, some nights your shots aren’t going to go down,” he said. “[I]t’s more about the defensive side … you can control more of the defensive side.”

He also said that a team’s shooting percentage on any given night depends on how well they’ve been shooting as of late as well as their opponent’s defence.

“[Ryerson] is probably the longest, most athletic team in the league, so they’re going to bother shots in a way that other teams don’t,” he explained.

Now tied for fifth place in the OUA East with U of T, the Gaels head into their final two regular games before the playoffs focused on what they can control. For Barrie, this is playing a complete and consistent game.

“We still haven’t put together a 40 minute game where we’re clicking on all cylinders,” Barrie said, in reference to his team’s up-and-down play over the weekend. “That’s where we’re still fighting to get to.”

It certainly won’t get any easier for the Gaels, who travel away next weekend to play basketball powerhouses UOttawa and Carleton. However, Barrie remains optimistic of his team’s prospects before the start of the postseason.

“I learned a long time ago to let go of games. Once they’re over — they’re over,” Barrie said. “Whether we win, whether we lose … it’s all about moving to the next game and getting better in whatever way you can.”

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