Lions cruise in Kingston rematch

Clubs knotted in standings as second half begins

Greg Faulkner produced a double-double against York on Saturday.
Greg Faulkner produced a double-double against York on Saturday.

The York Lions roared past the Gaels last Saturday, winning the second part of an extended home-and-home series against the men’s basketball team.

York prevailed 86-74 at the ARC to open the second half of the OUA season. Queen’s most recent game had been a 73-55 win against the Lions in late November.

Gaels head coach Steph Barrie hopes Saturday’s game can provide a template for his team of what not to do going forward.

“Our goal for the second half of the year is to have them play completely opposite of last game,” Barrie said. “They have to play with energy and passion and with good execution on both ends of the floor, which means communicating with each other on the floor.

“There are a number of things specific to what we do that wasn’t there,” he added. “We just have to stick to basketball, and if we can do that, the results will take care of themselves.”

The Gaels started slow defensively on Saturday, allowing 48 first-half points, but found themselves down just six at the half.

In the second half, the Gaels only allowed only 38 points, but the offence struggled, finishing a dismal 37 per cent shooting from the field. Guard Sukhpreet Singh led Queen’s scoring charge with 19 points, while forward Greg Faulkner netted 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Barrie pointed to his squad’s slow defensive start as a reason for the loss.

“Starting slowly set the tone for the rest of the game,” he said. “That put us behind the eight ball and we weren’t able to recover from it.”

On Saturday, the Lions featured three players that didn’t play in their previous meeting with Queen’s, with the trio combining for 25 points.

Barrie praised the Lions for being the hungrier team.

“They were more at full strength than the first time we played them, and they played like a team that had lost the first meeting,” he said. “They were hungry to get that win and we just came out flat and with no energy.

“It was clear they wanted it more and they took it to us.”

The Gaels knew the importance of the rematch with the Lions, as both teams will be battling until the end of the season for an OUA East playoff berth. They’re currently tied for fifth in the division with matching 6-4 records.

“We talked about the importance of the game all week, especially in the standings with every team fighting to position to make playoffs and trying to get home-court advantage,” Barrie said. “Every game now for the rest of the season is going to be a playoff game, and the intensity level should be no different that an actual playoff game.”

This weekend, the Gaels play host to two Toronto teams, with the marquee matchup coming tonight against the nationally fourth-ranked Ryerson Rams (9-1).

Saturday will see the Gaels take on a sliding Toronto Varsity Blues squad (2-8). Both games tip off at 8 p.m.

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