Wrapping up on a quiet note

Men’s basketball defeats winless Paladins 75-53 in regular-season finale

Queen’s point guard Baris Ondul drives against RMC’s Gavin Viray-Cox Wednesday night.
Queen’s point guard Baris Ondul drives against RMC’s Gavin Viray-Cox Wednesday night.
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The men’s basketball team’s regular season ended not with a bang, but with a whimper—through no fault of their own. In fact, it was the luck of the draw that saw them close the campaign against the 0-21 Royal Military College Paladins in a game decided soon after the opening tipoff.

The Gaels had already locked up the fourth playoff seed, which meant there was even less on the line, but they still put in a spirited effort. The Paladins started strong out of the gate and even took a brief 4-0 lead, but Queen’s quickly rebounded to lead 18-10 by the end of the first quarter and then went on a 30-9 run in the second to lead by 29 points at the halftime break. The Gaels added 27 more points in the second half to clinch a 75-53 victory.

Forward Mitch Leger said it was tough for the Gaels to get motivated considering the Paladins’ lacklustre record.

“Combining RMC with the last game of the year, we were kind of slow off the start,” he said. “If you can’t be sharp in games like these, how are you going to be sharp against good teams?”

Guard Baris Ondul said he was already motivated for the match.

“It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, you’ve got to be furious to be in the game at the CIS level,” he said. “We have our playoffs ahead, and we need to get our momentum going. We see these games as an opportunity to get ready for the playoffs—that’s our motivation.”

Queen’s rotated players throughout the match. Travis Mitchell and Jon Ogden were the only two Gaels to record double digits in the points column, with 13 and 11 respectively, while only Ondul, Patrick Beswick and Alex Murphy played 20 minutes or more.

Head coach Rob Smart said he used the team’s halftime lead to give his younger players more game experience.

“Kids that didn’t normally play played the whole second half,” he said.

The Gaels now have a week off before they host a Feb. 20 playoff game against the OUA East’s fifth seed, which could be either the 7-14 Ryerson Rams or the 6-15 York Lions. Smart said he’s already preparing his team for their potential second-round matchup against the 21-0 Carleton Ravens, the top-ranked team in the country.

“Really, I think we’ve got to focus on Carleton,” he said. “If we can beat Carleton in the second round, if we’re good enough to beat Carleton, we’re probably good enough to win the first round. … To do anything significant as far as I’m concerned, you’ve got to beat Carleton.”

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