Laval (6-9, 4-1) 70, McGill (9-4, 3-2) 63… Rouge et Or dominated in transition and with their superior athleticism, coming back from a double-digit, second quarter deficit to hold off the Redmen as the second half of the U-Sport men’s basketball season kicked off in Montreal. Laval took the lead for good with 4 1/2 minutes remaining and more importantly held McGill scoreless for almost 5 minutes late in the game in what was not the most entertaining or well played game of the season but a well-deserved victory for the winners.
Rouge et Or got their usual steady game from 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc, who made a tough one-footed fade away from about 15 feet with 2 minutes remaining to push Laval’s lead to 4 and then after Redmen cut it to 2, Leclerc found reserve 6’1″ guard Yoann Folquet for a three-pointer from the right baseline as the shot clock expired for a five point lead. After McGill’s 6’1″ Jenning Leung made a difficult three – Leung’s only field goal of the game – Laval sliced through Redmen pressure, ending with a thunderous, emphatic two-handed slam by 6’5″ Frantson Demosthene which sealed the win. Leclerc finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds, again displaying his overall skill set, especially in the open court which Rouge et Or dominated, getting out in transition, regardless if after a make or miss, continually putting pressure on the Redmen transition “d”.
Redmen looked to be in control, leading by double digits late in the second quarter as McGill went a tidy 7 for 17 from three point land before halftime. But Laval scored the final 6 points of the half and Leclerc opened the third quarter with back-to-back buckets, allowing Rouge et Or to control most of the frame and lead by as many as 4.
6’7″ Francois Bourque had 15 points and 7 rebounds for McGill while 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun added 12 points (on just 4-13 shooting) with 14 rebounds and 5 assists. Redmen lost the services of starting point guard 6’1″ Kendrick Jolin to a calf injury in the first 2 minutes of the third quarter and could not get the requisite help from the substitutes as Laval dominated the rest of the second half.
Laval also got great work off the bench from 6’7″ Joel Muamba, who had 13 points in just 17 minutes but Rouge et Or defended and played fast, using their superior athleticism to speed the game up and continually pressure McGill in the open court – this can be a dangerous team when firing on all cylinders.
The teams meet again on Saturday in Ste. Foy.