After finding themselves on both sides of a fourth-quarter comeback over the weekend, men’s basketball finally got their first win of the year last night.
An 86-84 victory over the York Lions — their first contest with an OUA East opponent — propelled the Gaels record to 1-5 on the year. The victory came four days after the team came agonizingly close to winning against the Brock Badgers (2-3).
A furious 18-point rally in the final quarter to tie the game at the end of regulation wasn’t enough for the Gaels to keep it going in overtime, losing to Brock 98-89 on Saturday. Queen’s blew a late lead against the Guelph Gryphons (2-3) the night before, on the way to a 63-56 loss.
The battle with York (2-3) went down to the wire, as the Lions trailed by two points in the dying seconds of the game. They couldn’t hit a shot with three seconds remaining and the Gaels took home the win.
Veteran guard Greg Faulkner scored 23 points and added eight rebounds against the Lions. His 25.6 points per game lead the OUA.
The two previous losses set the tone for a win against York — one that head coach Stephan Barrie was confident was coming.
He said the other two games showed that Queen’s developing roster is able to keep games competitive to the final whistle, even if they don’t come out with the victory.
“We’re finding ways to be in games, to be in that position at the end,” Barrie said. “Certainly, when your record isn’t very good, there’s a lot of reasons to not be in that position and our guys are not falling down that trap.”
He added that the next step for the team is to execute in late-game situations so they’re able to secure more wins.
They were almost able to do so against Brock. Buoyed by Faulkner’s 40-point, 13-rebound performance, the Gaels stormed back in the fourth quarter, tying the game on a late shot from guard Cy Samuels.
“We knew and felt that the comeback was going to happen, it just took a little bit of time,” Barrie said. “Sure enough, in the fourth it started to happen and it rolled from there. Our guys at no point thought it was going to happen or doubted it was going to happen.”
While the Gaels took an early three-point lead in overtime, they didn’t reclaim it after Brock evened the game back up, eventually falling by nine.
“It’s disappointing for sure,” Barrie said. “They’re smart guys — you’re not a Queen’s student without having a pretty good IQ — and they know what they did to come back and that they were never down. That it takes a lot of character to be in that position.”
He said the team will grow from the confidence they gained in launching the comeback.
On the other hand, the Gaels took an early lead against Guelph on Friday, but lost due to an abysmal second half in which they only managed 14 points on 16.1 per cent shooting.
Faulkner once again led the way and scored 18 points to go along with 16 rebounds, while post Mike Shoveller also hit double digits with 14 points.
“It was a one-possession game in the last minute,” Barrie said. “We’ve got to execute a little better.”
The Gaels next game goes tomorrow when they take on the Algoma Thunderbirds (0-5) at 8 p.m.
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