The Queen’s Gaels defeated the Nipissing Lakers 98-84 in their second regular season game on Friday night at the ARC.
The first quarter was fast paced. The Lakers scored a basket in the first few seconds, but the Gaels ended the quarter hot up 24-16. However, the Lakers closed the gap in the second quarter by scoring a lot of second chance points and only trailed 41-39 at halftime.
During the third quarter, the Gaels broke away and closed the quarter up five at 67-62. Stakes were high heading into the fourth quarter, but Queen’s Cole Syllas controlled the glass late with some key second chance put backs, helping the Gaels prevail 98-84.
Issac Krueger, Cole Syllas, Luke Syllas, and Scott Jenkins all scored in double digits on Friday for the Gaels. The win was a team effort; the Gaels bench scored 38 bench points.
“They really tested us in the first half, but I am proud of the group. We responded really well in the second half,” Connor Kelly, a fourth-year guard for the Gaels, said in an interview with The Journal.
Connor Kelly is an incoming transfer student from Bishop’s University, and, so far, his three pointers have been a huge asset to the team. Kelly said the transition to Queen’s has been practically seamless.
“This group has been special to me, really welcoming. I am really excited for this group that we have here to see what we can do.”
Coming into the regular season, the Gaels had won all seven of their exhibition and playoff games. Cameron Bett, a fifth-year guard for the Gaels, said it’s important to not let early success give the team a sense of false confidence.
“[We need to continue] keeping our head straight and making sure we are taking the last wins and thinking that we are too big,” Bett said in a post-game interview with The Journal.
Head Coach Stephan Barrie is on the same page. He believes the team must take things day-by-day despite their currently undefeated record.
“We’ve got a lot of things—despite our record—to fix and get better at,” Barrie said in an interview with The Journal.
“To feel good about being undefeated would be pointless at this point. It’s really more about wanting to find out how we can get better.”
Stephan Barrie has been at Queen’s for 11 years, and this is his 10th season as the head coach of the Men’s Basketball team.
Barrie’s coaching career had humble beginnings; Queen’s went 2-20 in his first season at the helm. Since then, Barrie has established an up-tempo style of play and has led the Gaels to be one of the most successful teams in the OUA.
In 2019-20, the Gaels finished with a 14-9 record and earned a spot in the playoffs. Barrie’s coaching style is unorthodox—the team has no captains. He believes this gives everyone on the team an opportunity to be a leader in their own way.
“Leadership has to start in first year, not once you get into third and fourth year. We want everyone to expand their leadership abilities, and we let the leadership happen organically.”
With two regular season wins in their pocket already, the team is feeling cautiously optimistic. Already, the Gaels are ranked seventh in USports Top 10 Men’s Basketball teams.
Their next game is against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks on Friday Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. in the ARC.
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