Men’s basketball lose to Ryerson in first round of OUA playoffs

Coach Barrie optimistic of team's potential next season

The Gaels have finished below .500 for successive seasons.
The Gaels have finished below .500 for successive seasons.

Men’s basketball’s up and down season came to a close on Feb. 21 after suffering a 103-79 loss to the Ryerson Rams in the first round of the OUA playoffs.

Despite the margin of defeat, the Gaels kept pace with the nationally-ranked eighth Rams for much of the game. Playing teams close was a trend which head coach Steph Barrie said was continuous throughout the course of his team’s season.

A few days removed from their final game of the year, Barrie highlighted to The Journal how the Gaels were unable to consistently play complete basketball games. Against Ryerson, Queen’s was down only two points by the end of the third quarter before being outscored by 23 in the final frame.

“We were a three quarter team this past year,” the coach said. 

With a narrow 68-66 lead, Ryerson opened the fourth quarter on a 16-3 run and closed the game out by hitting seven three-pointers. For Barrie, a major part of his team’s collapse was the play of Ryerson’s Manny Diressa. The Toronto native scored 17 of his game-high 30 points in the final quarter.

“I don’t know if we’ve had that happen to us this year,” Barrie said of Diressa catching fire. “One guy kind of just took over [and] that was its own set of problems that we hadn’t faced.”

The Gaels’ early postseason exit could further be linked to their inconsistent play. Barrie said his team has played stretches of good basketball, but within those same instances, “we had lapses that were just too costly.”   

On Jan. 5, Queen’s held an 8-3 record through their opening 11 games. To end their campaign, the Gaels went 3-9 to finish with an 11-12 record.

Barrie said his team’s inconsistencies could in part be due to the inexperience of his roster. Of the Gaels’ 15 players, six were either first-year players or incoming transfers. Moreover, four members of the team were in just their second year with the program.

“I do think some of it is when you have as many new guys as we had this year — even some of the transfers who technically aren’t first year but are first year with the program — [inconsistency] is a little bit unavoidable,” Barrie said.

With a robust group of players set to return next year, the coach remains hopeful for the 2018-19 season.

“Our personnel may adjust slightly,” he said, noting his roster will likely be altered via incoming recruits, “but we still maintain the experience that I think is critical. If you’re going to be successful, you have to have guys who have been in the league and been through it.”

In comparison to the 2016-17 season, this year’s team has seen improvements. Last year, the team recorded 10.8 assists, 36.8 rebounds, 71.7 points and 4.1 blocks per game. This year, they improved to 16.3 assists, 40.2 rebounds, 80.2 points and an OUA-leading 6.1 blocks per game.

When asked about what this means for the future of the program, the coach said they only have more room to grow.

 “We have the potential next year to push even further than where we were this year,” he said. “There’s no question.”

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