Gee-Gees outdo Gaels

Men overcome slow start but lose to second-place Ottawa at Bartlett Gym Tuesday

Men’s basketball forward Mitch Leger tries for a layup against Ottawa centre Dax Dessureault Tuesday. The Gaels lost 74-70.
Men’s basketball forward Mitch Leger tries for a layup against Ottawa centre Dax Dessureault Tuesday. The Gaels lost 74-70.

It didn’t look good from the start on Tuesday night.

The men’s basketball team took almost six minutes to score their first basket and finished the first quarter down 20-7 to the 13-3 Ottawa Gee-Gees. With the slow start, the Gaels were forced to play catch-up the entire game and were never able to catch the Garnet and Grey, although at times it looked as though they might.

The Gaels played a strong second quarter, narrowing the margin to only three points. The team’s inspired play was fuelled by forward Mitch Leger’s hard work. Leger gave the spectators a reason to cheer when he dove to keep a ball in play late in the first half. The second half started just as the first had with the Gee-Gees dominating the play and scoring nine straight points.

An Ottawa victory looked like a foregone conclusion until the Gaels hit four three-point shots in the last minute of play.

With 3.1 seconds left in the game, the Gaels intentionally fouled Ottawa’s David Lebentowicz to stop the clock. The veteran player missed both of his free throws but Queen’s wasn’t able to secure the rebound and went on to lose the game 74-70.

Queen’s guard Simon Mitchell finished with 21 points and Leger added 13.

Coach Rob Smart said he wasn’t impressed with his team’s performance.

“We just didn’t show up,” he said. “Part of the problem was that when we came back we didn’t get a consistent effort from eight or nine guys. If we had a consistent effort from eight or nine guys we might have been able to do it.”

Leger said his team lost because they didn’t play well, and didn’t deserve a victory.

“We didn’t come to play. We need to show up to play every game, especially the big games,” he said. “If we don’t, that’s what’s going to happen. No matter how close it was, it wasn’t like we deserved to win the game.”

Mitchell was equally unhappy about the team’s play, particularly their lack of rebounding.

“We got off to a really terrible start so we spent the rest of the game climbing back,” he said. “It was a struggle the whole game and down the stretch key rebounds were missed. It’s hard to win when they missed their foul shots … and then got the rebounds back twice in a row.” In spite of the loss, Mitchell says the team’s morale remains optimistic, particularly in light of the return of point guard Baris Ondul, who played his first game last night after being sidelined due to injury.

“The change room is still positive and it’s really good to have Baris finally back,” Mitchell said. “We need to get to third place to avoid Carleton until the final but now it’s just like preparing to play Carleton [earlier in the playoffs].” The Gaels look to take full points from their two home games this weekend against the 3-14 Laurentian Voyageurs and the 4-13 York Lions.

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