“Not so fast” is a very reasonable comment that could easily be made by Laval Rouge et Or to observers who have been touting McGill Redmen as the going-away favorites for the RSEQ crown and #1 team in the country. Led by their wonderful 6’6″ wing forward Alexandre Leclerc and a rapidly-contributing, deepening rotation, Laval dominated the Redmen from virtually the beginning last night in Ste. Foy, grabbing an early 20 point lead, extending to as many as 33 in a dominating 73-52 route of McGill.
Leclerc (23 points, 7 rebounds) continues to show in his sophomore season why he was such a highly touted recruit out of CEGEP Ste. Foy, using his size and athleticism to get to the rim and knock down 3’s. As well, Laval’s pair of new post-Christmas additions also shone last night, especially guard Vladimir Thomas who came off the bench to make consecutive 3’s late in the first quarter to give Laval a double digit lead after which Rouge et Or would not be seriously challenged. Thomas’s play helped offset reduced minutes from pg Karl Demers-Belanger who struggled with foul trouble before fouling out after only 22 minutes of time.
Rouge et Or made 8 of their first 10 shots of the night, getting offense from at least 9 different contributors as Leclerc had 15 first-half points and 6’5″ post Charles Andre-Edorh has 6 early points, part of his 12 point/6 rebound evening.
Redmen appear to be in a major shooting slump, going just 6 for 24 from downtown and punctuated their shooting woes with a ridiculous 6 for 19 from the free throw line last night. In their first 3 games in calendar 2016 including the non-conference win at Queen’s, the Redmen are 16 for 76 from 3 (21%) including 4 for 20 from 6’1″ Jenning Leung and 2-15 from 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun, the Redmen’s top 2 players in the first half of the season.
Much has been made of McGill’s talented depth however right now Laval has proven that their quality through their first 9 or 10 is as good or better than the Redmen and many are now starting to believe that, top to bottom, Laval may be the deepest and most talented team in the RSEQ.
In the other RSEQ match-up, Concordia Stingers took the home half of their two-game weekend set with UQAM, defeating the Citadins 71-66 behind 24 points from 6’6″ freshman Schneiders Suffrard.
Next weekend home-and-home: McGill vs. Concordia; Bishop’s vs. Laval.