The ARC was pulsing on Friday night as the Queen’s versus Carleton match-up brought in 750 fans, the most the facility has seen all season. Despite a slow start and a little lost momentum in the fourth quarter, the Gaels beat the Ravens 76-62.
The energy could be felt as the Gaels warmed up for their first game against the nation’s top ranked team. The bleachers had a mix of fans, including Queen’s students, other varsity athletes, and Kingston locals looking for a fun Friday night activity.
The Gaels started the first quarter off slow with the Ravens taking the lead out of the gate. However, they didn’t let their slow start define their play.
“I think offensively we were not taking good shots, and I think we were not really attacking the rim enough to attract their defense and get good shots,” Head Coach Stephan Barrie said in an interview with The Journal.
Useless, lazy fouls riddled the first quarter, giving both teams many chances at the line.
“When they get off script, we all of a sudden look very average and that’s what we have to fight,” Barrie said of these early mistakes.
Queen’s made deliberate use of timeouts early on to reset and take back the momentum. When Queen’s started to attack the paint, they turned the game around as Carleton’s collapsing zone defense couldn’t stop them.
“We just kind of got our rhythm after that,” Barrie said.
The Raven’s couldn’t touch the Gaels after they took back the lead late in the first.
Cameron Bett came off the bench and lead the game in scoring with 22 points for the Gaels. The Syllas brothers, Luka and Cole, both scored in the double digits, while Connor Keefe dominated the boards with 10 rebounds.
Second-year forward Michael Kelvin proved himself as a dependable force: he made 50 per cent from the three and led Queen’s in blocks. His consistent shooting and hustle helped the Gaels maintain control of the game.
Kelvin’s consistency comes from never giving up on the ball. In a press release, he said the “team’s philosophy is grit.”
“I thought we had good intensity. Our focus was pretty good for most of the night, especially defensively,” Barrie said.
Much of Carleton’s success this season is attributable to Aiden Warnholtz, who has consistently led his team in shooting. However, the Gaels managed his offense by maintaining ball possession and executing a controlled offense. The Gaels did a good job of peeking on offense and used crisp passes to move the ball around the outside.
The Gaels used crisp passing to move the ball down the court and around the outside as their three-point shooting in the second put them on the road to victory. They drained six of seven from behind the arc, shooting 50 per cent as a team in the quarter.
Cole Syllas’ shot didn’t always drop, but that didn’t stop Queen’s attack. Instead, he pivoted and looked to set up his team for a game-high 12 assists.
“Find an open man and make magic,” he said in a post-game press release.
Make magic is exactly what Queen’s did. Their victory over Carleton leaves them undefeated this season, but they aren’t getting caught up in the success.
“This was a good win, but we’re going to put it behind us,” Barrie said.
“You don’t win a championship in November. The reality is it’s a race to the end of February and playoffs.”
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