Magical finish

Game-winning shot caps off perfect homestand, keeps Gaels on pace for playoffs

Roshane Roberts hit a game-winning three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left against Laurentian.
Roshane Roberts hit a game-winning three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left against Laurentian.
Sukhpreet Singh hit double digits in points in both of Queen’s weekend wins.
Sukhpreet Singh hit double digits in points in both of Queen’s weekend wins.

The ARC was rocking Saturday night as Roshane Roberts’ last second heroics lifted men’s basketball to a perfect weekend.

The Gaels (9-9) defeated the Algoma Thunderbirds Friday by a score of 90-85, before topping the Laurentian Voyageurs 72-69 in their most exciting game of the season.

The Voyageurs (10-8) led 36-32 at halftime and pulled ahead by five in the final minute. Gaels guard Sukhpreet Singh nailed a three-pointer, then used his long arms to steal the ball on defence and go in for a breakaway layup. He missed, but guard Patrick Street grabbed the board and laid it in to tie the game.

The Gaels then forced another turnover in their own end, and Roberts dribbled it down court and triggered a three from the baseline with 1.4 seconds left. The crowd at the ARC was in pandemonium, and one spectator even ran to the middle of the court and stole the game ball.

Roberts, Singh and Street each dropped 14 points in the thriller. Street said he was happy to sweep the weekend after losing four straight games on the road.

“It was a big win for us, because we’ve been struggling,” Street said. “We knew this weekend was a chance for us to get two wins and we were lucky to pull them together.”

The Gaels were hit with some rough news earlier in the week when they found out that star guard Greg Faulkner could miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. The silver lining is that Street has stepped up his game up, hitting eight three-pointers in the weekend sweep.

Street has relished in his increased minutes and wants to continue to contribute to the Gaels’ success.

“I’ve been given the chance to step up and log some more minutes,” said the Gaels sharpshooter, “and I’ve been lucky to knock down the shots and help the team.”

Saturday’s contest doubled as the Gaels’ annual Marco Alessio Memorial Game. In a pre-game ceremony, Gaels fourth-year forward Nikola Misljencevic was awarded with the Alessio Scholarship for athletic and academic excellence.

On Friday, the Gaels were hoping for some revenge in their rematch with the Thunderbirds (4-14) after losing to them last month on the road, but the home side started out sloppy and found themselves down by a point at the end of the first quarter.

The Gaels surged in the second quarter, scoring 28 points to pull ahead by 11. They never looked back en route to the victory.

Street and Singh each poured in 19 points in the winning effort, while forward Mackenzie Simpson posted a double-double with an impressive 14 points and 16 rebounds.

Gaels head coach Steph Barrie attributed his team’s unselfish play as one of the big reasons for the victory Friday night.

“Our plan is to always move the ball, cut very hard and space the floor,” Barrie said. “That’s never changing and that will always be the way we play. We’re not trying to feature one guy.”

Barrie was more than pleased with his squad’s hustle and physical play, as the Gaels nearly doubled the Thunderbirds in the rebounding column 60-34.

“I thought they came out and played hard,” Barrie said. “A lot of guys really stepped up and played physical on the boards.”

The Gaels sit a game behind the Voyageurs and the York Lions (10-8), who are tied for fourth in the OUA East playoff race.

This weekend, the Gaels play host to the top two teams in the country, starting with the second-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees (16-2) on Friday and the unblemished Carleton Ravens (18-0) on Saturday. Both games tip off at 8 p.m.

OUA East Standings

1. Carleton [18-0]
2. Ottawa [16-2]
3. Ryerson [13-5]
T4. Laurentian [10-8]
T4. York [10-8]
6. Queen’s [9-9]
T7. Toronto [4-14]
T7. Algoma [4-14]

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