Down but not out

The Gaels fall to the Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams at the ARC

A Toronto player attempts to defend against Queen’s forward Bernard Burgesson in the Gaels’ 87-82 loss at the ARC Friday night.
A Toronto player attempts to defend against Queen’s forward Bernard Burgesson in the Gaels’ 87-82 loss at the ARC Friday night.

The men’s basketball team lost a set of games against the Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams last weekend, extending their losing record to 3-16.

On Friday, the Gaels came out to a promising start, but were ultimately unable to upset the Blues for a second time this season and fell in an 87-82 decision.

The somewhat lethargic Gaels play hampered their chances from the start, but they were able to hold onto an 18-17 lead after the first quarter, which evaporated into a 41-37 deficit at halftime.

Head coach Duncan Cowan said the Gaels blew their chance in the first half.

“[In] the first half, we had the opportunity to be in control of the game and we didn’t play particularly well,” he said. “I don’t think we defended well, we didn’t execute offensively, we missed a lot of lay-ups, so our missed opportunity was in the first half.”

Toronto went on a run at the beginning of the third quarter toward a 57-46 lead. Queen’s outscored Toronto 26-20 in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough to clinch the victory.

Cowan said the team is going to need to mature to start winning games.

“Ultimately, we need to get a little stability out of our post positions, and that’s going to take some time,” he said.

Fourth-year guard Dan Bannister lead scoring with 22 points, while rookie guard Ryan Golden added 18.

Cowan said the game against Toronto may have sunk their playoff hopes for good.

“The playoff thing has been a long shot for a little while, but that [game] probably puts it to bed,” Cowan said “At this point, the next two weeks is going to be a chance to reveal the true character of the kids we have here.

“Now it’s about trying to get wins,” Cowan said. “We’ve battled pretty hard this year trying to find wins, and they’ve been hard to come by, but I think there’s a couple out there. We’ve just got to play our game and see where it takes us at this point in the year.”

Cowan said the Queen’s program has the potential for greatness, but needs time to achieve it.

“There’s something here and it’s going to take some time to build it,” he said. “We have a good young group and our veterans have worked hard and sacrificed to do it. We need to improve our basketball program and that’s going to take wining, probably.”

On Saturday, the Gaels played the Marco W. Alessio memorial against the Ryerson Rams and lost by a score of 79-70. The game commemorates the former Gaels basketball player who was killed while teaching abroad in Madagascar. A scholarship has been established in his name and is awarded to a player who shows academic and athletic excellence from the Gaels. This year’s recipient was guard Tim Boyle.

The Gaels came out to a great start, and went on 10-1 run to open the game before the Rams clawed back to a 24-22 lead at the end of the first and a 39-33 lead at halftime.The second half wasn’t much better for Queen’s, who couldn’t stop the Rams from digging them further into the hole, en route to a nine-point loss.

Golden said the Rams were a tough opponent.

“They’re just big, athletic [and] quick,” he said. “All the things that make a good defensive team. It’s been a long season, but none of us have given up. We’ve still got three games left and we’re going to keep fighting. All three of those games [are] at home, which helps.”

Golden said the team’s development this year has been rocky at times.

“It’s been a learning process, not just for the younger guys, but for everybody,” he said. “But that’s no excuse, I think we should be playing a lot better than we are.”

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