Hurting at home

Men’s basketball falls to top-ranked teams

Queen’s guard Baris Ondul drives against Carleton’s Elliott Thompson Saturday night. The Ravens beat the Gaels 100-75.
Queen’s guard Baris Ondul drives against Carleton’s Elliott Thompson Saturday night. The Ravens beat the Gaels 100-75.

This weekend, the men’s basketball team was hoping to rebound from last weekend’s devastating road trip to Toronto where they lost two games and star forward Mitch Leger. They fell short, though, losing 73-58 to the 11-1 University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Friday night at Bartlett Gym and 100-75 to the 12-1 Carleton Ravens Saturday. Carleton and Ottawa were ranked first and second nationally going into the weekend’s match-ups.

On Friday, the Gaels stumbled out of the gate against Ottawa and only recorded six points in the first quarter to the Gee-Gees’ 22. Ottawa was draining open three-pointers throughout the first half, and Queen’s trailed 48-22 at halftime. The Gaels picked it up in the second half, hitting 40 per cent of their shots from the field and 44 per cent from three-point range as opposed to the 25 and 27 per cent numbers they recorded in the first half. Queen’s outscored the Gee-Gees 19-7 down the stretch, but it was too little, too late.

Guard Baris Ondul said the slow start doomed the Gaels.

“We didn’t show up to compete early,” he said. “Against the number-two team in the country, if you don’t show up early, you’re going to be in trouble.”

The Gaels were anxious to improve after the half, Ondul said.

“The team took pride in showing that we’re not that bad.”

The Gaels attempted a new zone defence to make up for Leger’s absence, but Ondul said they hadn’t had enough practice time to get used to it, adding that the Gaels’ struggles to pressure Ottawa’s three-point shooters early on were partly due to adjusting to the new scheme.

“Part of the reason we had trouble on the close-outs was we kind of started playing really panicky in the half-court,” he said. “Guys were reacting late.”

Ottawa head coach Dave DeAveiro said he wasn’t aware of the extent of Leger’s injury.

“We knew he was hurt, but we didn’t know he was out for an extended period of time, so we prepared like Mitch was going to be there,” he said.

DeAveiro said Queen’s could be dangerous in the playoffs, especially if they get Leger back.

“The more games these kids play without Mitch, the more confidence they get, and then if he comes back, they’ll be that much better,” he said.

The Gaels were sluggish Saturday night against Carleton too, as the Ravens jumped out to a 27-14 lead after the first quarter and never trailed. Queen’s outscored the Ravens 22-19 in the fourth quarter, but the result was academic by that point. With the win, the Ravens move to 20-0 against the Gaels since head coach Dave Smart took over the team nine years ago.

Forward Nick DiDonato said the Gaels weren’t discouraged by their losing record against the Ravens.

“I think it’s the other way around, to be honest,” he said. “They’re the top dog, so you get up to bring them down.” DiDonato said the Gaels played well considering Carleton’s dominance, but it wasn’t enough.

“You’ve got to be pretty close to perfect to beat them,” he said. “We weren’t perfect tonight.”

The men host the Ryerson Rams and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues next weekend in their final home games of the regular season.

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