Short-handed split

Gaels snap skid, best Blues by one point without Faulkner

Rookie guard Sukhpreet Singh paced the Gaels with 23 points and seven assists on Saturday against Toronto.
Rookie guard Sukhpreet Singh paced the Gaels with 23 points and seven assists on Saturday against Toronto.

Queen’s played smart defence to earn a road win without two crucial scorers.

After falling to the CIS seventh-ranked Ryerson Rams 78-47 on Friday night, the men’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak with a 77-76 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues.

The Gaels were forced to play without leading scorer Greg Faulkner, who’s suffering from a concussion, and their top three-point shooter, Mackenzie Simpson.

“We have no idea when [Faulkner and Simpson] will be back,” head coach Stephan Barrie said. “We have to play it safe.”

In their absence, Toronto native Sukhpreet Singh stepped up, recording game-highs in points and assists.

“I don’t really care in terms of the points,” Barrie said. “He played the way he’s supposed to play.”

The Gaels started Saturday’s game applying high pressure full-court defence, but Toronto steadily widened the gap, leading 34-22 midway through the second quarter.

After Singh converted on a pair of free throws, the Gaels dropped back into a half-court defence to adjust to Blues guard Alex Hill, the OUA’s second-leading scorer.

Hill shot just 3-13 for 12 points, including 1-8 from three-point territory.

“[Hill] was creating havoc by being very aggressive against [our full-court pressure],” Barrie said. “So we took it off and thought maybe that would get him to play at a slower pace and not as attacking. That was certainly the case.”

While holding Toronto’s offense at bay, the Gaels took a 43-40 half-time lead thanks to a combined 16 second-quarter points from Singh and guard Ryan Golden.

Both teams went on 17-2 runs in the third quarter, with the Blues erasing a substantial Gaels lead.

Queen’s started the fourth quarter with six straight points and prevailed 77-76, despite seven straight Toronto points to finish the game.

Singh finished the game with 23 points and seven assists, and Golden chipped in with 16 points in his first start of the season.

“[Golden and Singh] defended harder, and they played with much more conviction than they did [against Ryerson],” Barrie said.

“They’re going to have to do that every game, as well as everyone else on the floor.”

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