Rams spoil perfect return

Gaels fall in double OT to undefeated Ryerson, but win twice to open year

Head coach Stephan Barrie has led the men’s basketball team to an 8-3 start in 2012-13 — a significant improvement from last season, his first as the Gaels’ bench boss.
Head coach Stephan Barrie has led the men’s basketball team to an 8-3 start in 2012-13 — a significant improvement from last season, his first as the Gaels’ bench boss.
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The men’s basketball team has yet to slow down.

After finishing 2012 with a 6-2 record, the Gaels started off the New Year with an 82-74 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues and a double-overtime 82-77 loss to the undefeated Ryerson Rams.

The Gaels had a chance to bury the Rams in regulation last Sunday, when rookie guard Sukhpreet Singh was sent to the free-throw line with 0.3 seconds left, and the Gaels trailing by one point.

Singh’s split pair of free throws sent the game into overtime tied at 65.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” Singh said. “I just wanted to win the game, but I just let [the second free throw] slip out of my hands.”

The deadlock continued in the first overtime period with Ryerson taking an early four-point lead, but the Gaels came back with five straight points of their own.

With 14 seconds left and the game tied at 70, Singh pulled up from the foul line on a fast break without hesitation. He drained a 15-footer to put the Gaels up by two with 10.6 seconds on the clock.

“I knew I let the team down, missing that free-throw, so I knew I had to make it up,” Singh said.

But the Gaels couldn’t come up with a stop on defense to steal a win from Ryerson in the first overtime period, which ended tied at 72.

After a Greg Faulkner free-throw put the Gaels ahead 77-76 in double overtime, they hit an offensive drought, with the Rams scoring six straight points to close out the game.

Picking up double-doubles on Sunday, Faulkner had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Singh put up 10 points to go with his 10 boards. Forward Nikola Misljencevic finished the game with 19 points, shooting 75 per cent overall.

Head coach Stephan Barrie said the Gaels executed their game plan well, but the team still has to improve.

“If it was a win, we’d have to take that we still missed a lot of free-throws and we had a few box-outs we missed,” he said. “Maybe [a loss] makes us understand it a little bit faster and a little bit better, but it’s really about the overall process — the big picture.”

With the team’s general progress in mind, the Gaels’ 82-74 win over Toronto on Saturday wasn’t necessarily a step in the right direction.

Although the Gaels were able to produce offensively, led by Faulkner’s 27 points and nine rebounds, they struggled in other areas against the Varsity Blues.

“Our rebounding was awful,” Barrie said. “We gave the 11 offensive rebounds in the second half, and that’s to a team that, statistically, has not rebounded very well at all.”

To the Gaels’ credit, they responded when the game was on the line after Toronto tied the game at 58 in the fourth quarter.

Misljencevic kicked off a 10-0 run with a three-pointer, and the Gaels never looked back.

After a decisive 92-72 over the York Lions last night, the Gaels’ only game this weekend is tomorrow night against the Laurentian Voyageurs (5-5).

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.

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