Basketball bounces back

Men fall flat against Toronto, rise to beat Ryerson

Baris Ondul aims for the basket against Ryerson on Saturday at home.
Baris Ondul aims for the basket against Ryerson on Saturday at home.
Photo by Anne Kloosterman

After an outstanding performance against the Gee-Gees in Ottawa last weekend, the men’s basketball team lost a decidedly low-key contest 59-44 to the University of Toronto at home on Friday. They followed Friday night’s game with a 76-67 win over Ryerson.

“We just didn’t seem to have an awful lot of energy,” head coach Rob Smart said of Friday’s loss.

While he could offer no real explanation for the team’s lacklustre play, he said the hype surrounding the game may have contributed to it.

“They were excited about playing, and I think sometimes when that happens they come out a little flat.”

He said it’s easy for players to waste energy anticipating a big game.

“You get overexcited and it drains you.”

The Gaels lagged from the start, allowing Toronto to jump out to a quick 16-2. Queen’s opened the second half with nine unanswered points run to narrow the score to 30-28 in favour of Toronto.

The Gaels couldn’t keep their composure after a Toronto timeout, though, as the Blues went on a 12-point run

The Gaels couldn’t keep their composure through a Toronto timeout. Back on the floor, the Blues went on a 12-point run, and the Gaels never caught up.

The win puts Toronto in a three-way tie with Queen’s and York for third in the province.

On Saturday, the Gaels faced the Ryerson Rams and, once again, came out sluggish. They trailed for the first half, and it wasn’t until a shuffle of the lineup after the break that they started to mount a comeback.

Smart said putting Simon Mitchell in made the difference.

“I didn’t start him, and he came in in the second half and just brought a lot of energy.”

He said Mitchell’s energy seemed to give the whole team a boost, and they finished off the match without much trouble.

“It just seemed to turn the game around.” Smart said the length of the season is likely also a factor in team’s fatigue. He said maintaining momentum through the break into the second half of the year can be especially hard for rookies, and the Gaels have five of them.

“First-year players are notorious for sort of hitting a wall in January,” he said. “The first time through, nobody’s seen you, and the second time they’ve seen you and know how they want to defend against you.”

Smart said the closeness of all the teams in the conference means nobody can afford to have an off night.

“There are five teams in our league that probably deserve to be in the [national] top ten,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s a team or a league that comes close to [our conference].”

He said winning games will come down to who can dig the deepest.

“I don’t know if there is any magic to it.”

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