Queen’s Men’s Basketball wins two close games

Gaels fight hard to beat Lancers and Mustangs

The Gaels record improved to 13-1.

Men’s Basketball began the weekend with a nail-biter, squeaking by with a 93-92 win against the Windsor Lancers. Their climb to the top continues as they now rank fourth in the country.

The Gaels took the early lead after hitting two quick three-pointers from sharpshooter Connor Kelly and Kingston native Michael Kelvin II. Scoring stayed relatively equal in the half as the Gaels went into the breakup five.

In the second quarter, the team played incredible defence and held the Lancers to 12 points on 4-17 shooting in the frame. Putting up 24 points of their own, they built a comfortable 17-point gap at half.

Coming out of the break, Queen’s built their lead up to 21 points early in the third quarter. However, after a surge of three-pointers from Lancer Najee B. Henderson—who dropped 39 points on the night—Windsor was suddenly in striking distance.

The Lancers came out in the fourth quarter pushing for the lead and shrunk their 21-point deficit, pulling themselves within one with 35 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Gaels had the ball and could close out the game out with a bucket. After running the shot clock down to one, they missed both their shot attempts, giving the ball back to the Lancers with six seconds remaining.

Needing a defensive stop to secure the win, the Gaels turned to Connor Keefe, a fifth-year forward, and a veteran presence. Windsor drove into the paint with the clock winding down, but Keefe was there to block their final shot to seal the Gaels’ 12thwin.

“That was a tough game,” he said in a post-game interview with Athletics and Recreation. “We were up 20 at one point, and Windsor kind of brought it back, and it took the whole team working together to pull that one out.”

“It could have gone either way, so we honestly learned a lot from that game and really are going to take it upon ourselves to get better on defence. That is definitely an area we can improve on.”

Cole Syllas spoke highly of the home atmosphere as a deciding factor.

“Windsor played a great game […] but the crowd support behind us and the team support on the bench and just the practicing we do every day—we try and work harder than everyone else out there—really helps on tight games like this,” he said.

“I appreciate all the fans that come out and support us.”

On Saturday, the action continued as the Gaels met the Western Mustangs for their second game this weekend. The stands were packed, and even the Queen’s Bands were there to support.

Kelvin II started off the scoring with a dunk for Queen’s less than a minute in. He had an incredible weekend after he dropped 18-points on Friday night to set his season high, and then followed up the next day to break his record with 21-points.

“My mindset was just to get better and improve, hit open shots, and attack the rim aggressively, grab rebounds,” Kelvin II said in a post-game interview with Athletics and Recreation.

Western, however, was right on Queen’s tail and quickly put up some points of their own. At the end of the first, the Mustangs led 22-17. They continued to dominate and took a nine-point lead early in the second while the Gaels struggled to get stops.

“I think we definitely have to focus on the defensive end of the floor and get better there; we still have a lot of work we can do in that area,” Kelvin II said.

Solid defence or not, the Gaels are not ones to give up a fight. In the second half, they came back stronger with three players—Kelvin II, Keefe, and Kelly—each dropping double digit points.

For Queen’s, it was a battle right till the end. They found themselves in foul trouble late in the game and had to call on their bench to step up as frustrations boiled over. A flustered Cole Syllas—the Gaels top scorer—only made seven of his 16 free throws.

Despite the tough competition, Queen’s snagged the win by scoring a total of 107-points.

This weekend, the Gaels will travel to Ottawa to face two of their toughest matchups yet. They will take on Carleton on Friday night before facing uOttawa on Sunday.

“I think we are looking forward to the challenge,” Kelvin II said. “Those are two great teams, they are both obviously ranked, so it will be great challenges—great games.”

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