Queen’s 76, Northwood (NCAA D2) 57… In another sign that Head Coach Steph Barrie and program have turned the corner toward legitimate contention for a deeper playoff run, the Gaels raced out to a 24-7 lead and cruised to an easy win against the Timberwolves, an NCAA Division 2 team from Michigan that up until this afternoon was undefeated against CIS and OCAA teams. Gaels went 2-0 in their pair of games vs. NCAA competition, also knocking off Morgan State Bears, an NCAA D1 team about a week ago.
The visiting Wolves came off a 20 point win last night in Kingston against Barry Smith‘s St. Lawrence Vikings and Gaels took advantage of the quick turnaround, getting 20 points from 6’6″ Tanner Graham, who has a chance at all-OUA honors this season. 6’5″ Jesse Graham and 6’4″ sophomore Vincent Wood added 14 apiece for Queen’s, which went with a rotation of just 7 players. Gaels played without injured regulars 6’3″ Suhkpreet Singh and 6’10” Mike Shoveller and also did not have prized 6’3″ York U. transfer Richard Iheadindu, who is away on a family trip and due back in September. Queen’s also will welcome an OCAA transfer from Canadore College, 6’3″ lefty combo guard Isse Ibrahim, originally from Toronto’s Don Mills Collegiate who averaged 14 ppg for the Panthers last season and was an OCAA all-rookie pick in his freshman season. Ibrahim was not available today but is expected to find time at both guard spots.
Queen’s got a strong offensive performance from diminutive guard Sammy Ayisi, who had 13 points in the win and continues to improve as a rising OUA point guard. The NCAA games have also fortified the growing role of 6’5″ wing Harry Range, originally from Kanata via Kiski Prep and the smooth shooting big guard again made his minutes count with 7 points and 6 boards – expect Range to have an immediate impact in the Gaels rotation going forward.
Coach Barrie was satisfied with his team’s effort given it is August and was impressed with the manner in which his group worked through the scout, as, thanks to the Western staff led by Brad Campbell, Queen’s was able to prepare for this tough opponent with some tape from Sunday’s game in London.
Queen’s will play their annual game against the SLC Vikings and also host the annual Frank Tindall tournament in mid October with a strong field including uOttawa Gee-Gees, Alberta Golden Bears and Memorial Sea-hawks.