Gaels open with a bang

Men’s basketball starts season with victory over Warriors, but falls to Golden Hawks

Queen’s forward Mitch Leger (14) and guard Tim Boyle defend against Laurier’s Justin Golob Saturday night at Bartlett Gym. The Gaels lost 97-84 to the Golden Hawks.
Queen’s forward Mitch Leger (14) and guard Tim Boyle defend against Laurier’s Justin Golob Saturday night at Bartlett Gym. The Gaels lost 97-84 to the Golden Hawks.

The men’s basketball team started the season with a bang Friday. They beat the Waterloo Warriors 72-67 a team that was 6-16 last season—who defeated the Gaels 92-62 in the pre-season.

Forward Mitch Leger scored a game-high 26 points Friday and added 10 rebound while point guard Baris Ondul put up 19 points against Waterloo and added six assists and three rebounds.

Waterloo head coach Tom Kieswetter said Leger, who missed the pre-season match because of injury, was the main disparity between the two games.

“Mitch didn’t play. That’s the denominator right there,” he said. “He was the difference tonight; we couldn’t get him stopped. He was hitting shots and played great, and that’s why they won.”

After the game, Leger said the Gaels were humiliated by their previous loss to Waterloo and were looking to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“You lose by 30, it’s really embarrassing,” he said. “We knew they’d come in thinking they could beat us by 30 again, so we just played hard and grinded it out.”

Leger said he was pleased with the team’s defensive play, as they were able to hold Waterloo to 67 points.

“They had 67; last time they scored 92,” he said. “To hold a team like that under 70 is pretty good.”

Leger said there was still room for improvement, though.

“It’s just little let downs,” he said. “The coach is always talking about dead plays, where we fall asleep. We’ve practiced for two months. We can’t really afford to do that any more, and we know better.”

Leger said the defensive effort, which was a strength on Friday, was absent Saturday in the Gaels’ 97-84 oss against the lightly-regarded Laurier Golden Hawks, who were 8-14 last season.

“The performance we had Saturday was just a complete defensive meltdown by the entire team, and I was one of the major problems with that too,” he said. “It was a lot of fundamental defensive breakdowns, things that we just kind of took for granted, defensive things we didn’t feel like doing hard in that game. … By the end of the weekend we felt pretty bad.”

Leger said the loss will fire the Gaels up for their upcoming road games against the Guelph Gryphons and the Brock Badgers, though.

“It’s pretty disappointing, but it gives us some motivation for practice this week and going into this weekend.”

Head coach Rob Smart said after the Waterloo game the difference between the two clashes with Waterloo was the Gaels’ defensive intensity.

“They can really score, but we defended and they’ve scored against everybody but Carleton and us tonight. Every other game they’ve played, they’ve scored a bunch,” he said. “I don’t think we could have played a whole bunch better tonight.”

Smart said he was pleased Queen’s was able to knock off the Warriors, who he said are much stronger than last year’s record shows.

“They’re a good team,” he said. “Of the teams I’ve seen in the country, I think they’re a top-10 team. They’ve beaten a lot of teams.”

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