Second-half struggles paved the road to a winless weekend for men’s basketball.
The Gaels dropped their home opener against the Waterloo Warriors 70-66 last Friday and lost to the Laurier Golden Hawks 87-70 on Saturday night.
Head coach Stephan Barrie said the Gaels (0-3) had chances to come out on top, but both games came down to his team’s struggles in crucial moments.
“Every game has a key point where you have to win that two-minute part where it might go in your favour,” Barrie said. “I think we didn’t manage to do well in those specific spots. I think that hurt us.”
Barrie pointed to the second half against Waterloo (1-3) as an example of those moments.
After fifth-year guard Greg Faulkner put the Gaels up 12 points early in the third quarter with an alley-oop dunk, the Warriors stormed back to tie the game. Waterloo eventually held a three-point lead heading into the final quarter.
“We were up 12 probably two or three minutes into the quarter, and then we had a bad stretch that allowed them to get back to down three,” Barrie said. “And then we had a second bad stretch right at the end of the quarter.”
Though the Gaels kept it close in the fourth, Waterloo guard Myles Charvis silenced the crowd at the ARC by hitting five of his six free throw attempts in the game’s final minute.
Queen’s leaned on Faulkner offensively, as he went off for 29 points and seven rebounds. Guard Cy Samuels and forward Ryall Stroud both contributed double-digit totals in rebounds, helping the Gaels hold a 52-37 advantage on the boards.
Saturday’s game was a different story, as Queen’s couldn’t keep the game close after the first quarter. The team’s largest lead of the game was a two-point advantage late in the opening frame, while Laurier (3-1) built a 15-point lead by halftime.
The Gaels struggled to avoid turnovers, giving the ball up 17 times compared to the Golden Hawks’ nine.
Barrie said the youth of his roster is part of the reason for the early-season difficulties.
“Right now we’re playing seven guys in first- or second-year,” he said. “So that’s going to have an effect.”
Faulkner once again led the team in scoring, racking up 26 points against the Golden Hawks, while Samuels scored 14.
Despite the two losses, Barrie said he’s seen positive changes in some of his players’ performances, including sophomore post Mike Shoveller and rookie forwards Jesse Graham and Tanner Graham.
“There’s a lot of individuals that are improving significantly,” he said.
The Gaels travel west this weekend, taking on the Guelph Gryphons (1-3) tonight and Brock Badgers (1-3) tomorrow. Barrie said his team must execute in key moments to get a victory.
“Playing on the road is a lot tougher,” he said. “We’re going to have to make sure that during the course of the game we recognize when those key moments are and we step up at those exact times in particular.”
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