RSEQ: Bishop’s stays alive, Stingers/Redmen battle for first

Keeping their faint playoff hopes alive, Bishop’s got a strong offensive effort from 6’3″ Peter Weston, who has battled injuries all season, in a comfortable 83-75 win at home against UQAM.  Weston had a game-high 24 points including 10 in the first quarter when the Gaiters established an early double digit lead.  Gaiters built leads as large as 19 midway through the third quarter as 6’5″ Abdul Kamane, the growing favorite for RSEQ Freshman of the Year, had another solid 15 point, 8 rebound contribution in 31 minutes.  Another under-rated but emerging freshman talent off the bench for Bishop’s, Austin Macklem, a 6′ guard from Kingston Bayridge, again showed his perimeter shooting prowess with 3 second-half 3’s.

Citadins struggled amid early – almost immediate – foul trouble for their star 6’1″ pg Kewyn Blain who picked up 2 fouls in the first 5 minutes of play and then his third as soon as he re-entered the game midway through the second quarter, limiting the favorite for RSEQ MVP to just 6 first-half minutes.  Blain then picked up his 4th just 4 minutes into the second half and eventually fouled out with 2 minutes to go, finishing with just 8 points in 15 minutes.  Bishop’s played without their very solid inside presence 6’5″ David Belanger who also missed time early in January in what has been an injury-plague season for the high-potential forward.  UQAM shot just 3 for 16 from downtown for the night.

With just 3 games remaining in their regular season, the Gaiters still have a mathematical possibility of qualifying for the RSEQ playoffs.  However, UQAM won the season series with Bishop’s 3-1 so Citadins own the tie-breaker and for all intents and purposes have already clinched a spot in the playoffs.  Thus, practically speaking, Bishop’s can only catch Laval – and need to win all 3 of their remaining games including defeating Rouge et Or in Ste. Foy by more than 11 points (presently Laval leads the season series 2-1 and has outscored the Gaiters by 11 head-to-head in the three previous games).  To summarize, Bishop’s has to win all of their remaining games (home to Concordia, at McGill and at Laval by more than 11 points) and have Laval lose all 3 of their remaining games (home to McGill, at UQAM and home to Bishop’s by more than 11 points).  Gaiters could be eliminated by the time they meet Concordia next Saturday night if Laval defeats McGill next Friday night in Ste. Foy.

This afternoon in Montreal, first place is up for grabs in the conference as McGill travels across town to face Concordia, winners of their past 7 in a row.  Fireworks erupted the last time these two teams met at the BeeHive as a furious Redmen comeback, led by 6’1″ Jenning Leung tie the game late as Stingers blew what looked to be an insurmountable regulation time lead.  McGill had a chance to win in the first OT as Leung drove the lane for what looked to be an uncontested lay-up at the buzzer but was hit on the arm by a Stinger defend reaching in vain – unfortunately no call was made, forcing a second OT which Concordia dominated.  In an animated response to the officiating crew, McGill Coach Dave DeAveiro was thrown out of that game in the second OT after McGill took the first 4 fouls of the frame and Concordia used the emotion of that victory to hammer McGill in the return battle two days later at Love Competition Hall.

Stingers are defending and rebounding like a championship team and have a deeper and more offensively talented array of offensive players with the likes of 6’4″ Ken Beaulieu and 6’3″ Jaleel Webb plus several strong contributors off the bench.  The Redmen have been without Leung (hamstring) since late in their OT loss at home last Thursday night to UQAM.

Expect another high-end game this afternoon at the Bee Hive beginning at 4 PM ET.

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