Queen’s can’t pull off upset

Queen’s can’t close against Carleton

Guard Christ Barrett is blocked by the Ravens defence in their 86-73 loss.
Guard Christ Barrett is blocked by the Ravens defence in their 86-73 loss.

The men’s basketball team returned to the ARC for the first time in the New Year to face off against the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee Gees.

The Gaels fell 86-73 in a relatively close game with the No. 1 nationally ranked Ravens Friday. A close first quarter ended in the Gaels’ favour as first-year guard Ryan Golden scored a last-second layup to give Queen’s a 19-17 advantage. In the second frame, the Ravens were able to outscore the Gaels on the way to a 37-30 halftime score.

Head coach Duncan Cowan said the Gaels have been working on their skills to stay competitive with top teams.

“We’ve been concentrating on trying to get better as a team defensively, and staying more consistent,” he said. “We still have a lot of peaks and valleys and we’ve got to find a way to be more steady. If we can do that, I think we can win enough games to get into the playoffs.”

The Gaels tried to stage a comeback in the third quarter but the Ravens fought back to a 62-54 lead. They would continue to outscore the Gaels on the way to their victory.

“I’m pretty happy with how they competed,” Cowan said. “Even when it’s against number one, losing is not a lot of fun, but our kids did exactly what we asked them to do. It’s a building block for us [but] it really doesn’t matter unless we come out with the same energy [against Ottawa].”

The Gaels were disappointed by an 88-79 loss to the Gee Gees on Saturday, after leading by as much as eight points.

The first quarter ended with a slight Ottawa advantage and after trading leads with the Gaels in the early minutes of the second frame, the Gaels ran to a decisive 39-31 lead with three minutes remaining.

A 12-0 uncontested run by the Gee Gees to close out the half spelled the beginning of the end for the Gaels.

Cowan said the team needs to focus on clinching victories at this point in the season.

“The difference between playing close games and winning is big, really big,” he said. “Last night’s game [against Carleton] was a challenge for us as a group to see if we could compete with them, tonight the importance was winning that game to stay in the playoff race.”

The second half was no kinder to the Gaels, who fell 74-61 in the third quarter en route to their eventual loss.

“About as disappointing a performance as I’ve had with this team,” Cowan said “It’s frustrating as a coach when they put themselves into that situation.”

Fourth-year guard Chris Barrett added 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Fellow fourth-year guard Dan Bannister led scoring for the Gaels with 19 points.

Bannister said the team’s performance was lacklustre against Ottawa.

“We came out flat,” he said. “The first half was okay, until they went into zone [defence], and they went on this huge run. The third quarter came around and they scored 30 points, and that sealed it for us. We dug too deep of a hole.”

Bannister said the team needs to focus on getting more excited for games.

“We didn’t match the intensity we played with [against Carleton],” he said. “We needed to win this game and we didn’t. We’ve got to play like we did against Carleton. We want to win. We’ve always wanted to win, and that’s it.”

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