Dismal northern trek

Queen’s slips to sixth in East after pair of losses

Men’s basketball’s play went south on their road trip up north last weekend.

The Gaels dropped consecutive decisions to the Laurentian Voyageurs and the lowly Algoma Thunderbirds.

Friday saw the Gaels take a 84-76 loss to the Voyageurs in a game that had major playoff implications. The Gaels started well, taking a three-point lead after the first quarter, but found themselves down four heading into halftime.

Laurentian won the final two quarters, giving them the victory. The Voyageurs shot the lights out on an impressive 50 per cent from field goal range and won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Gaels 40 to 30.

The Gaels caused havoc defensively, recording 17 steals and forcing 26 turnovers, but the effort was to no avail.

Forward Greg Faulkner continued his hot performance for the Gaels, dropping 28 points after scorching the net with a 37-point performance last weekend versus the Toronto Varsity Blues.

Gaels guard Roshane Roberts credited poor execution and inconsistent play for their loss Friday night.

“I think throughout the game we had bad stretches and bad turnovers that really cost us the game at the moment,” said Roberts. “We just had bad opportunities and missed layups that cost us the game.”

On Saturday, the Gaels lost to Algoma 83-76 in a game they expected to win.

The Thunderbirds entered the game with three wins, sitting second to last in the OUA East. The Thunderbirds led the game wire to wire, forcing the Gaels to commit 13 turnovers and shoot a paltry 25 per cent from three-point range.

Five Gaels notched double figures on the score sheet, with guard Sukhpreet Singh and forward Nikola Misljencevic leading the charge with 17 points and seven rebounds apiece, and Roberts chipping in with 14 points.

“We came out kind of flat – we were down the whole game,” Roberts said. “For us in the second half, we need to come out ready to play. We can’t be down 15 and we need to have a strong first quarter so we can have a lead and dictate the game.”

After a couple tough losses, the Gaels will embark on what will likely be their toughest weekend of the season, taking on the top two teams in the country. They start with the reigning CIS champion and first-ranked Carleton Ravens (13-0) on Friday, and the second-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees (12-1) on Saturday.

Roberts is ready to put the Gaels’ losses in the past and focus on this weekend’s clash with the CIS titans in Ottawa.

“We need a chip on our shoulder and keep that in the back of our minds and we need to practice at 100 per cent,” he said. “We have a tough weekend coming up with Ottawa and Carleton, so I think we can grab an upset against Ottawa if we keep that chip on our shoulder.”

This weekend will be good experience for the Gaels (7-7), as they’ll have to gear up to catch the York Lions (8-6), who sit a game above them in the OUA East playoff race.

OUA East Standings

1. Carleton [13-0]
2. Ottawa [12-1]
3. Ryerson [11-3]
4. Laurentian [10-4]
5. York [8-6]
6. Queen’s [7-7]
7. Algoma [4-10]
8. Toronto [2-12]

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