Men’s Basketball is still king on the court

Gaels gear up for second half of season

Cole Syllas makes moves in the paint.
Supplied by Robin Kasem

The Gaels are heading into the second half of their season with a 10-1 record and a fourth-place spot in the U SPORTS ranking.

In the fall, Men’s Basketball had the attention of student and city fans alike as fans packed the ARC to watch the Syllas brothers perform. As it stands, the Gaels have a promising chance of keeping the show going and bringing home a medal.

Queen’s lone upset was their devastating loss to TMU in early December when TMU snapped the Gaels’ seven game win streak in a close 84-82 game. Both teams fought hard, and despite Queen’s slim lead in the end of the fourth quarter, TMU scored a three in the game’s final seconds to secure the win. 

The Gaels 96-95 win against the U of T Varsity Blues stands out as another close match. In the final seconds of the ** Connor Kelly captured the win with a buzzer beater three to put Queen’s on top.

Kelly replicated the same move TMU had used to beat Queen’s just the night before.

Despite coming over as a transfer from Bishops this year, Connor Kelly has acclimated quickly to playing a big role on the team. He envisions a successful second half of the season.

“It’s a journey and we want to be peaking come February and March,” said Kelly in a press release. 

Kelly appreciated the break and believes it’s essential for the players to take some time off in order to prevent burnout and ensure they will be ready for the playoffs.

After some well-deserved rest, the Gaels kicked off the new year with wins against both the Brock Badgers and Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.

Luka Syllas snagged 11 rebounds against the Badgers on Friday and recorded a double-double in the win. Cameron Bett came off the bench and lead the scoring with 19 points.

On Tuesday against the Ridgebacks, Issac Krueger continued the strong bench play by coming into the game and grabbing 15 rebounds for the Gaels.

Kelly, Bett, and the Syllas brothers—Cole and Luka—have been the backbone of the team this season. The Gaels are successful because everyone does their part. When Cole Syllas’ shots aren’t dropping, he sets up points by delivering assists and when time is ticking and they need the win, Kelly steps up to make the shot.

Head Coach Stephan Barrie emphasized the importance of focusing on the current season, not the past or future ones, when coaching the team. 

“We stress as much as we can with our guys that what matters is today. We don’t talk about previous wins or last year; it’s really what’s ahead of us,” Barrie said earlier this season in a post-game interview with The Journal

With less than a dozen games left in the regular season, the Gaels are beginning to hone in on an OUA Championship title. For their next game on Jan. 14, they will face the Algoma Thunderbirds in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. 

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