Post-season push stalled by York

Loss to Lions keeps Gaels tied at bottom of OUA East

Men’s basketball put further stress on their playoff hopes Saturday by dropping another winnable game.

The Gaels’ 76-63 loss to the York Lions (6-5) leaves Queen’s (3-7) tied with the Toronto Varsity Blues (3-7) for last in the OUA East division. With the Ryerson Rams (10-2) firmly entrenched atop the East, one of Queen’s and Toronto will miss out on the post-season.

The Gaels and Blues will play for the first time this season on Friday at the ARC. They’ll face off in the season finale on Feb. 21 in Toronto.

The men were blown out of the water in the first quarter against York, falling behind 20-9 after the first 10 minutes.

Head coach Stephan Barrie attributed the team’s slow start to nerves.

“I think we came out maybe a little tense on offence,” Barrie said. “We had some easy opportunities early on that we just missed and it looked like it was more nerves than anything.”

The Gaels limited York to 10 points in the second quarter and bounded back to pull within two at halftime.

“I thought overall we defended [in] the first half well,” Barrie said. “We did a good job of holding them to 30 points.”

York increased their lead to five in the third quarter. They eventually pulled away in the fourth and took the game 76-63.

Barrie pointed to the sloppiness of Queen’s ball handlers – including Cy Samuels’ six turnovers – as the deciding factor.

“Our point guard play was not where it needed to be,” Barrie said. “I think that was the difference in the game.”

Barrie said he was satisfied with the Gaels’ offensive production in the second half, but felt the squad’s defence needed to be stronger.

“We found our rhythm offensively in the second quarter,” Barrie said. “At that point, I thought we’d stabilized. In the second half, unfortunately, defensively we just allowed them to get too many easy opportunities.”

Guards Greg Faulkner and Patrick Street led the way offensively, scoring 20 and 13 points, respectively.

Tied with Toronto, the Gaels must distinguish themselves if they hope to pick up the East division’s final playoff spot.

“We’re at a point right now where every game has playoff implications,” Barrie said.

The Gaels get the chance to do so this weekend, when they host the Varsity Blues and Ryerson.

“We’re certainly going to be focused on that first game against Toronto because that’s the team we’re tied with for the last playoff spot,” Barrie said.

“We just have to come up with a good game plan and the guys are going to have to have a good week of preparation going into it.”

OUA Men’s Basketball RPI (Rating Percentage Index) rankings

The top three teams in all four OUA divisions will advance to the playoffs. Based off their performance in games against other playoff teams, the 12 schools will be seeded 1-12, with the top four schools receiving a bye for the first round of the post-season.

1. Ottawa

2. Carleton

3. Ryerson

4. McMaster

5. Western

6. Windsor

7. Lakehead

8. Laurier

9. Guelph

10. Laurentian

11. York

12. Queen’s

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