Season started on positive note

Strong first half leads to 70-66 win over York

The Gaels locked down defensively in the latter stages of the game to hold on for the 70-66 win over the York Lions.
The Gaels locked down defensively in the latter stages of the game to hold on for the 70-66 win over the York Lions.

Defence was the name of the game as the men’s basketball team locked down the York Lions to win 70-66 in the Gaels home opener.

“For the last month and a half we have been stressing [defence],” centre Mike Shoveller said. “We know if we want to have a chance to compete in the OUA — which is the toughest conference — we are going to have to defend.” 

“It was huge for us to hold them to a poor shooting night.”

The Lions were stifled by the home side’s defence, shooting under 40 per cent from the field. At the break, the Gaels held York to only 23 first-half points.

Shoveller believes last year’s early finish was a huge motivator for the Gaels’ strong first half.

“We were pretty fired up, it’s been a long time since we have had a serious game —  losing to U of T last February left a sour taste in our mouths.” 

In the second half, careless turnovers by the Gaels allowed the Lions to get back into the game. Queen’s had 23 turnovers compared to York’s 15. For Shoveller, having this happen early on in the season was an important teaching moment for the Gaels.

“We have to make more sure passes, instead of trying to make the home run play.” 

The Lions chipped into the Gaels 19-point lead, tying the game late in the fourth quarter. Instead of relying on what worked in the first half, Shoveller said the team took a different approach and slowed down their pace.

For Shoveller,  Sukpreet Singh was crucial in securing the victory.

“Singh was huge down the stretch, getting into the lane, drawing a few fouls and hitting free throws.” 

After a tough few final minutes, the Gaels held on for the 70-66 win. Singh would score 22 points over 32 minutes, adding 10 rebounds and three assists. 

The Gaels also got some strong play from their forwards Tanner Graham and Ryall Stroud. On the night, Graham scored 14 points, making five of 14 shots. Stroud was key to the Gaels defensive effort, adding two steals and seven rebounds to his nine points.

Shoveller knows starting things off with a win against York will bode well for the season.

“For us, it’s huge — especially against a divisional rival in the OUA. Starting off with a win puts us off on the right foot and gives us some momentum going into this weekend.”

 

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