Men's basketball bounced from playoffs after 80-63 loss to Carleton

Queen’s bids farewell to four graduating seniors, optimistic for next season

Second-year John Milkin.
Second-year John Milkin.

Despite squeaking through the first round of the OUA playoffs, the men’s basketball team’s season ended last Saturday with an 80-63 loss to the Carleton Ravens. 

In the Gaels’ first game of the playoffs against the Laurentian Voyagers, the teams were even for much of the contest. Each team took turns with the lead, eventually going down to the wire when Queen’s sealed a 73-72 victory by way of a thrilling game-winning shot with three seconds left on the clock. 

This past Saturday’s game against the Ravens—Canada’s top-ranked team—proved far more difficult. Carleton didn’t lose their lead even once, keeping the Gaels at bay as they shot 34 per cent from the floor, and cruising to a comfortable 80-63 win. 

According to third-year forward Harry Range, when the playoffs rolled around the Gaels had been playing some of their best basketball all season. Two weeks prior to their first-round matchup versus Laurentian, Queen’s earned an overtime win over the nationally-ranked eighth UOttawa Gee-Gees.

“We were peaking at the right time. We came together and that showed during the playoffs. We didn’t back down from anyone,” Range said. The playoffs were a set of two tough games for the Gaels—they’d lost their previous season game to Laurentian, and Carleton swept the team outright in the two games they played.

Fifth-years and graduating players Jaz Bains and Tanner Graham showed tremendous effort in their final games donning the tricolour. Bains was strong on offense with 49 points in both playoff contests, complemented by Graham’s 25 combined points.  Earlier this week, Graham and Bains were named OUA All-Stars on the second and third teams, respectively. 

Beyond Bains and Graham, two other Gaels bid farewell to the men’s basketball program after their team’s loss to Carleton: Jesse Graham, Tanner’s brother, and guard Matt Elcock. 

“Each guy in their own way helped us push the program to new heights,” Head Coach Steph Barrie said of his departing senior players. “We will miss each one no doubt, but they left lots of lessons and examples for our younger guys to follow. If they do, we will be in good shape.” 

Despite the early postseason exit, the Gaels have overcome much of the adversity presented to them this season, dealing with injuries, player rotation, and game plan strategies as playoffs approached. 

“We went through a lot as a team and as individuals, but I felt that it was a great season. We showed a lot of resiliency and were successful, which is a testament to the character of these guys,” Range said of the past season. 

“I am hoping we can build on the foundation the athletes before us have left. We have a lot of the right pieces, we just have to get better every day.”

For Range, this year’s campaign is a season the team can build off looking ahead to 2019-20—including a deeper run through the playoffs.

“The culture here is unlike any other,” Range said. “I believe we’ll be back in the playoff scene next year and hope to do just as well, if not better.” 

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