Men’s basketball pull off two wins

Gaels take out Laurentian and York

Queen’s point guard Baris Ondul gets an earful from assistant coach Duncan Cowan Saturday.
Queen’s point guard Baris Ondul gets an earful from assistant coach Duncan Cowan Saturday.

The men’s basketball team beat the 3-14 Laurentian Voyageurs and 5-13 York Lions on the weekend to improve to 12-7 on the season. The Gaels gave the Voyageurs an 81-57 drubbing Friday night, led by forward Mitch Leger’s 24 points in only 25 minutes of playing time. Leger also recorded a game-high 12 rebounds.

“We knew if we played well, we’d have a good chance of winning,” Leger said.

He added it was tough to get motivated for the games, because the Gaels are already almost locked in to the fourth playoff seed in the OUA East.

“We’re kind of stuck in fourth place, and it showed in the first half there,” he said. “We didn’t play great compared to the way we did against them when we played in Sudbury [an 87-48 win for the Gaels], but we got a good talking-to at halftime, came out strong, and got some of our younger guys in there.”

Head coach Rob Smart agreed it’s difficult to motivate the team for these games because of the standings.

“We’re sort of in fourth place no matter what happens, so win or lose, it doesn’t really change the world,” he said. “It’s almost harder from a coaching point of view—like what do you do? Do you try to play the games like they mean a whole bunch, or do you try to get people a lot of minutes? I don’t know, I mean I really don’t know what the answer is.”

Rookie forward Travis Mitchell also had a solid game for the Gaels, chipping in 17 points in only 15 minutes while going 3-3 from three-point range.

Saturday night the Gaels faced the Lions, who they had beaten 78-56 in their previous match this year. Queen’s got out to an even slower start this time, leading only 27-25 at the break. Smart said he was happier with the team’s first-half effort than he had been Friday night, however. He said they were doing everything right, but the shots just weren’t going in.

After the break, shots started falling for the Gaels. They went on a 9-0 run to start the third quarter, and never looked back en route to a 74-67 win.

The team’s defence was key to their success, Smart said.

“You win games by defending, and we did,” he said. “You keep them down, and eventually you’re going to score.”

Smart said a continued defensive effort will be crucial as the Gaels prepare for the playoffs.

“We defend like that, and there’s not too many teams that are going to beat us,” he said. “We haven’t defended like that every night, so we’ll see. … I think that’s why (19-0) Carleton’s so good. It’s not their offence, it’s their defence.”

Leger led the Gaels again with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Travis Mitchell and Jon Ogden each added 14 points and five rebounds.

Queen’s will face the 15-4 Ottawa Gee-Gees and the 19-0 Carleton Ravens on the road next weekend. Guard Simon Mitchell said he’s confident the Gaels will do well against the powerhouses.

“We were pretty competitive with both Ottawa and Carleton the last time we played them,” he said. “I hope we can get at least one win.”

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