Men's basketball split weekend doubleheader

Men’s basketball experience win over McMaster, suffer loss to nationally-ranked second Brock at home

Quinton Gray (left) scored 19 points in Queen's 91-86 loss to Brock.
Quinton Gray (left) scored 19 points in Queen's 91-86 loss to Brock.

Although a misplayed inbounds pass handed the men’s basketball team their first loss of the season on Saturday night — it didn’t come without a silver lining.

“It happens,” Gaels head coach Stephan Barrie said, alluding to the aforementioned play that sealed a 91-86 win for the visiting nationally-ranked second Brock Badgers. “It was a misread from our in-bounder. We had secondary options and we needed to get the ball to another player because they overplayed [our target].”

Down 89-86 at the time, Barrie said the team designed a play for fourth-year transfer guard Jaz Baines to come off a screen and shoot a three.

“The reality is just based off how [Brock] played it … When you have a great player,” Barrie said of Baines, who sits ninth in the OUA in points-per-game with 18, “sometimes you just want to get them the ball so bad that you miss the obvious — that [the other team] is overplaying them.”

Queen’s led 26-21 at the end of the first quarter, only missing seven of their first 19 field goal attempts. Baines in particular impressed in the first frame, shooting a perfect five-for-five with 11 points.

Despite the Badgers’ rally in the second quarter — to take a 46-42 lead into halftime — the Gaels kept pushing the floor. Following a 6-0 run to end the third quarter, Brock only took a two-point lead into the final 10 minutes. Unfortunately for Queen’s, they weren’t able to make up the final deficit, losing 91-86.

For a team who lost 11 straight games last season, pushing the number two team in the country on the brink of an upset was a good sign.

“[W]e’ve always believed we’re in that level,” Barrie noted of Queen’s capability to contend against top-ranked teams. “[B]ut I also know — in our league — if you start feeling too good about yourself, next thing you know you’re going to slip up.”

The night before, the Gaels won 99-87 over McMaster. After missing the entire 2016-17 season due to injury, centre Mike Shoveller put up 31 points and eight blocks in the win.

Barrie maintained he “feels good [and] very optimistic” about his team through their first three games, adding “we have the ability to score in a whole bunch of ways.” The Gaels have averaged just north of 30 points from their second- and third-units to open the season.

“[W]e have bigs that can finish and play inside, guys who can shoot the ball, guys who are versatile,” the coach noted of the team’s depth. “So, you know, the scoring is gonna be there. I think it’s more about sort of having our plan of attack and be[ing] at the forefront.”

But it’s not just the Gaels’ bench that’s been pitching in — it’s a blend of the whole team effectively managing their offensive and defensive schemes.

Despite it being early in the campaign, Queen’s ranks first in the OUA in assists and blocks, second in rebounding and fourth in points-per-game.

Barrie said much of that can be credited to the new additions the program’s inherited over the offseason.

“When we got the players that we got — our transfers — we knew we had the talent,” Barrie said. “[H]ow long it was going to take for them to gel as a group you don’t know, but they’ve done a really good job.”

“They’re a connected, tight group; they’re there for each other,” Barrie continued, referencing how well the locker room has meshed this season.

The Gaels are also anticipating Osayende Omoregie’s — a transfer student from NCAA D-II school Concordia University in Saint Paul, Minnesota — return from an ACL injury before the turn of the New Year.

“People haven’t even seen [him] yet — and he’s going to be an exceptional talent in our league,” Barrie said.

“We’re going to have another athlete, a guy that can really lockdown guard. He’s a tremendous rebounder, slasher … and he hasn’t even been in the fold yet.”

Queen’s heads north to square off against Algoma next weekend hoping to improve to 3-1 — and Barrie has a straightforward message for his players.

“[T]here’s no nights off, there’s no easy games in the OUA, and hopefully [the team] can understand that and take care of business.”

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