Men's basketball with promising start to season

Gaels head into the break as one of OUA’s hottest offenses

Jaz Baines leads the OUA with 6.7 assists per game.

Men’s basketball were all smiles on Wednesday afternoon. 

In their third game in five days, the Gaels picked up a comfortable 82-61 win over the York Lions and improved to a 6-3 record. It’s good for fifth in the OUA East. 

Head coach Steph Barrie said he was pleased with his team’s result after the game, noting — after a narrow loss to Western a pair of days before — his players did well in taking their tight schedule in stride and bouncing back. 

“We had some good dialogue after the [75-71] Western loss [and] realized we were capable of more,” Barrie said. He added the team’s Monday meeting following their weekend doubleheader helped the team to figure out what they could do better. 

“And some of that was shown today [against York] … on the boards, how we play defense and how we execute,” he said. 

When asked if he and his players are looking forward to their mid-season break, Barrie said he’s solely fixated on the team’s quick turnaround game on Friday, where they play visitor to Guelph. 

“The break is the furthest thing from my mind right now,” he told The Journal. “The only thing that exists for us right now is that game on Friday.” 

This has been a theme the Gaels have adopted to open their campaign.  Taking everything with a game-by-game approach certainly hasn’t hurt the team.

From a statistical standpoint, Queen’s has fared as well as any team in the province this season.  Not only are they second in both assists per game and overall field goal percentage, but they are also third in points per game — clocking in at 19.7, 48.1 and 86.4 in each of those respective categories. 

Moreover, they’ve held their ground on the defensive end of the floor as well. They place first in the OUA in rebounds per game — 32.9 — and average 6.7 blocks per contest. 

“You take it one day at a time … the only thing you’re looking at is the next game,” Barrie said on how his team has found early spurts  of success through their first nine games. He added a necessary factor to their play on the court — both in the present and looking ahead — is having his players “do what [they] do every day in practice and [apply] that in a game.”

Despite their efficient and impressive season box score numbers, a concern for the Gaels has been the rate at which they turnover the ball. Barrie said his offense has a “high potency” and, in turn, ultimately suffers more lost possessions. He said “it’s still something we need to get a lot better at.” 

“I think in moments we’re good [and] I think at times our execution is tremendous,” Barrie said of his team’s overall performance. “But the slippage in some of the possessions where we don’t [execute] … that’s what we’re battling to try and fix.” 

After Friday’s game against Guelph, the team will have more than a month until their next OUA game. Until then, they’ll work behind the scenes to hone in on their untapped potential. 

“To be an elite team, [we’re] gonna have to execute at a higher percentage than what we’re doing right now,” Barrie admitted. “[But] we got to take the good, try and weed out the bad — and then I think we’ll be in a good spot.”  

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