Poor offensive production put men’s basketball’s post-season chances in jeopardy over the weekend.
The Gaels suffered a 71-49 shellacking at the hands of the McMaster Marauders on Saturday. The loss dropped their record to 5-10 and put them only a single game ahead of the Toronto Varsity Blues (4-11) for the OUA East’s third and final playoff spot.
Both clubs have four games remaining in their seasons.
Head coach Stephan Barrie’s team shot only 28.1 per cent from the floor against the Marauders (13-3), which he said was the largest contribution to the loss.
“It was just about not making enough shots,” Barrie said. “Whether that was missing some easy ones inside, open threes, ones that guys normally make, they just didn’t make that day.”
With McMaster sitting first in the OUA Central division, it was imperative that the Gaels play a strong offensive game.
“They’re the fourth-ranked team in the country for a reason,” Barrie said. “You’re certainly not going to upset them on a day where you can’t put the ball in the basket.”
Barrie added that the Gaels needed to find other ways to generate offensive production if they wanted to come away with a win.
The Gaels struggled to maintain possession of the ball, turning it over 19 times.
Apart from their offensive woes, the Gaels held their own on the defensive end.
“Defensively, we did some good things and held them to their lowest point total of the year, so defensively, there were some positives,” Barrie said.
Dependable scorer Greg Faulkner managed 17 points, but received little in the way of reinforcements. Guard Patrick Street had 12 points and two steals, while point guard Sukhpreet Singh had nine points. Singh also committed six turnovers.
This weekend, the men host Canada’s perennial top teams — the Ottawa Gee-Gees (14-1) and the Carleton Ravens (13-2).
“It’s a chance for [the players] to see where they’re at,” Barrie said. “You’ve got the two best teams in the country coming in, really talented, really powerful teams on both sides of the ball, so now we’re going to see how good we can be.”
The most important game of the Gaels campaign will come in the season’s final contest. They face the Varsity Blues on the road Feb. 21 in a game that will most likely decide which of the two makes it to the playoffs.
For Barrie, it’s how the team plays against the Gee-Gees and Ravens that will dictate whether or not next weekend is successful — not the results of the games themselves.
“We have to go into [the Toronto game] playing good basketball,” Barrie said. “Whether you win or lose [against Ottawa and Carleton] is not going to determine if we’re playing good basketball.”
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