Mid-season basketball review

Men’s basketball chugging along

Ottawa and Carleton stand in the way of Queen’s winning the OUA East.

The Gaels (7-4) have had a strong campaign, and with their first game of the new year coming up this weekend, it’s a good time to review the highs and lows of the season so far.

The Gaels started their 2019-20 season on a high note with a dominant 90-56 win against the Nipissing Lakers. On Nov. 1, the Gaels played their first home game of the season against the Guelph Gryphons, winning 88-70.

Following their successful start, the Gaels suffered two back-to-back losses against the two Ottawa teams. In their Nov. 8 matchup against U SPORTS No. 1 ranked Carleton Ravens, the Gaels suffered a disheartening 100-76 loss.

In their second game of the weekend, the Gaels lost a 92-63 game against the nationally-ranked No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees.

This is a familiar story for the Gaels faithful. The OUA East is stacked—Carleton and Ottawa are perennial powerhouses, and the Kadre Gray-led Laurentian Voyageurs are notoriously tough. Without losses to these teams, Queen’s record would be 7-1.

Despite their Ottawa losses, the Gaels came back strong for their next set of home games on Nov. 22 and 23. The Gaels beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 94-65 and the Ryerson Rams in an 82-73 game the following day.

The Saturday win against the Rams was the Gaels’ first time beating Ryerson in 20 previous games.

The Gaels finished 2019 with a 97-71 win against Ontario Tech, ending the year on a four-game winning streak.

The Gaels are above average defensively, surrendering 76.6 points per game, which is good for seventh-least in the OUA. The Gaels also rank fourth for their rebounding and second in field goal percentage (44.9 per cent).

However, when it comes to three-point percentage, the Gaels lag behind at eleventh in the OUA, whereas conference rivals Ottawa and Carleton are ranked second and third, respectively.

This year, the Gaels introduced new recruits Cole and Luka Syllas. They’ve been extremely important in their defensive efforts for the team, especially against the Gryphons in the home opener.

Currently, the Gaels are on a four-game winning streak. Owing to their strong offense and defense, the Gaels sit fourth in the OUA East, which puts them solidly in the playoff picture.

However, going into the second half of the season, the Gaels are scheduled to have tough matchups against Carleton, Ottawa, and Laurentian. Queen’s will need to steal some games if they want to improve their seeding and avoid Carleton or Ottawa in the first round of the playoffs.

On Saturday, the Gaels will start 2020 with a game against the Algoma Thunderbirds (2-9). The game is at 8 p.m. in the Queen’s ARC. Some of the best teams of the fall semester (men’s and women’s rugby, women’s cross country) will be honoured at halftime.

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