Looking to snap streak on hardwood

Men's basketball have lost five consecutive games 

Isse Ibrahim driving to the hoop against Toronto.
Isse Ibrahim driving to the hoop against Toronto.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

“Resiliency is one of the core values of our team.” 

Even after dropping five consecutive games, guard Sukpreheet Singh said the Gaels don’t buy into the idea of bad karma. It’s something they’re familiar with, he continued, but not something they’re afraid of. 

“We’ve definitely shown we’re capable of bouncing back on various occasions and I’m sure we’ll do it again.” 

After losing to McMaster this weekend, the feeling in the locker room wasn’t one of false hope, but rather an eagerness to improve. 

“I don’t feel like our guys are overreacting to whether we win or lose, they react to whether we played to our capabilities,” head coach Stephane Barrie told The Journal.

While team morale is seemingly in check, the streak certainly begs the question of what happened to the 5-1 Gaels who entered the New Year with the fourth best record in the OUA? 

Barrie attributes the team’s early success to a lighter, friendlier scheduler. The Gaels didn’t play any nationally-ranked teams before January but they’ve since faced three in their last six games. 

“We played top-ten teams this past weekend, so the margin for error becomes much smaller,” he said, alluding to the team’s recent matchups versus the nationally-ranked number five Brock Badgers and number ten McMaster Marauders. 

“In other games we maybe played a similar level and were able to win…but we weren’t playing the competition that we are now.” 

Against the Badgers, the Gaels fared poorly. 

A close opening quarter kept the men in the thick of it, but in the second they slipped right back out. The Badgers ripped off a 20-6 run and subsequently took hold of any momentum the Gaels thought they had. The game totalled to a final score of 77-63 for the home team. 

In spite of being down most of the game and finding little, if any, spurts of consistency, the problem for the Gaels was their inefficiency on the glass. They were out rebounded 53-29 — tying their lowest output on the boards since November 14, 2015. 

“Pretty much everything that could go wrong with rebounding went wrong,” Barrie admitted. “We didn’t have the urgency on loose balls, we didn’t box out. They made us pay.” 

Singh, who notched his lowest scoring performance since his junior year — with eight points  — agreed with Barrie, saying that any time the team plays that poorly, wins are hard to come by. 

“You’re never going to win a game if you do that — no matter what,” Singh said of the Gaels’ troubles on the glass. “I’m surprised they didn’t win by more.” 

After only a night, the Gaels showed considerable promise in regards to rebounding against the Marauders. They managed to match the home team’s total boards at 34, however they suffered 20 turnovers, a significant reason to why the team suffered yet another 87-75 loss.

But in each of their losses, there is one stat that acts as the outlier. This past weekend it was turnovers and rebounds. The weekend before it was free-throws and field-goal percentages. 

Rather than making a complete overhaul of the team, Barrie believes it’s about going back to the basics. 

“It’s not some magical formula or coaching wizardry, it’s being consistent,” Barrie said, on how the team can bounce back. “It’s doing the things you do when you’re playing well, and doing it throughout the entire game. 

“And when you do that, you have a chance to put together a full 40-minute game and be a very good team.”

A highlight for the Gaels was their finish to the weekend. Being down by as much as 25 to the Marauders, the team showed the resiliency that Singh vouched for and Barrie praised. They went on a 20-2 run, and although they failed to secure the win, the Gaels hope that momentum is on their side heading into their weekend games at the ARC.

Queen’s will face off against Nipissing and Laurentian this weekend, who have a combined 9-17 record on the season. 

 

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