Miracle finish

Late-game theatrics cap off comeback win

Down as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, men’s basketball mobbed Sukhpreet Singh after his game-winning buzzer beater.

The third-year guard drove the length of the court late in Queen’s 75-74 win over the Western Mustangs on Saturday, contorting his body and lifting a running flick into the basket just as time expired.

Singh’s bucket completed a miraculous comeback that saw the Gaels (5-9) erase a 24-point second-half deficit, after scoring only three points in the first quarter.

After the Mustangs (9-6) missed their final field goal attempt with five seconds remaining, Gaels guard Mike Mullins grabbed the rebound and dished it to Singh, who charged down court and lifted off in the paint along with three players in purple.

The guard fell on his back as the shot dropped into the basket, securing the win.

Gaels head coach Stephan Barrie said his squad played their best basketball in the fourth quarter.

“They took the emotional control of the game at that point – they knew their backs were against the wall,” Barrie said. “They really started to impose their will, and I think that was the turning point.”

It took a great effort to overcome their sluggish opening quarter. Western led 20-3 after 10 minutes.

“We missed probably four layups [in the first quarter] just uncontested,” Barrie said. “A couple times we settled for tougher shots than we probably would’ve wanted. It was the worst-case scenario of nothing seemed to be going in.”

Barrie said the Gaels’ effort never subsided and helped bring them back.

“It was nothing symptomatic of how hard they were playing,” he said. “Those shots started falling later on and then we started getting a little better on defence, which helped our offence.”

Singh scored 15 points in the contest and added three steals.

Third-year guard Patrick Street led the offence with 23 points, while his veteran backcourt mate, Greg Faulkner, contributed 22.

The men put in a strong effort against the Windsor Lancers (9-5) the night before, but lost 93-86.

“We played very well,” Barrie said. “[They’re] very, very athletic and offensively talented, so for us, it was going to be a challenge going in, but I thought our defence didn’t give them easy opportunities.”

Barrie said if the Gaels are playing well, they have the ability to beat teams like the Lancers, who are ranked fifth in the country.

“A couple bounces go a few different ways and that game could’ve certainly gone down to the last possession,” he said. “Overall, we played well against a very good team.”

Faulkner led the way with 25 points, while Street had 19.

Street looked impressive in both games. Barrie said it has taken him some time to settle into his role.

“He was always able to shoot – that’s why we recruited him,” he said. “Now, those things are just getting more opportunities in games than they did before.”

The Gaels travel to Hamilton this weekend to take on the McMaster Marauders (12-3), who boast the OUA’s fourth-best record.

“They’re ranked number four in the country and they’re going to be a really tough matchup on the road,” Barrie said.

“They’re scoring at a high rate, so we’re going to have to make sure we slow them down as best we can and keep our turnovers down.”

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

The top three teams in each OUA division will advance to the playoffs. Based off their performance 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. McMaster

4. Ryerson

5. Windsor

6. Western

7. Lakehead

8. Laurier

9. Guelph

10. Laurentian

11. York

12. Queen’s

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