Basketball claims title at McGill Redbird Classic

Gaels rolling during preseason with tournament win in Quebec

The men’s basketball team is on a pre season roll. After wins over the Bishop’s University Gaiters and the Cégep de Sainte-Foy Dynamiques earlier in the month, they travelled to Montreal last weekend for the McGill Redbird Classic and came away with the title.

Queen’s started slowly at the tournament with a 79-75 loss to the Western Mustangs Friday night, but rebounded with a 77-65 win over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Saturday and a 71-67 victory over the McGill Redmen Sunday. The Gaels finished with a 2-1 record, tied with McGill for top spot, but claimed the tournament title thanks to their superior point differential.

Third-year forward Mitch Leger led the Gaels offensively throughout the weekend, recording a team-high 18 points Friday against Western and then expanding on that performance with 24 points against the Varsity Blues and a tournament-high 31 points against McGill. He also added 10 rebounds against the Redmen for the double-double, and was named tournament MVP.

Leger said the team got better over the course of the weekend.

“We didn’t play very well against Western,” he said. “I’d be surprised if any of the guys don’t think we can beat them the next time we play them. We played really well against U of T and against McGill. ... We improved over the weekend which is always what you want.”

Leger said his 31-point performance was thanks to the Gaels’ renewed emphasis on playing close to the basket, a contrast from their offence last year which focused more on outside shooting.

“We’ve kind of been focusing on getting the ball to the post more,” he said.

Leger said the team’s still young this year, but the extra experience many of their starters picked up last season will prove beneficial.

“We were young last year and had a lot of first-year guys.”

The team will travel to Quebec City this weekend to take on the Carleton Ravens, the Laval Rouge et Or and the Waterloo Warriors.

The Gaels lost 96-44 to the OUA powerhouse Ravens in the quarterfinals last season. Leger said they’ll be out to redeem themselves this time around.

“We’ll see how we stack up against them and how far we have to go before we feel we’re at their level.”

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