RSEQ: Gaiters officially eliminated in blow-out loss at McGill

McGill 76, Bishop’s 46  Locking down hard defensively and gaining from an improving perimeter shooting effort, the Redmen overcame an early first quarter 6 point deficit with contributions from numerous players to officially eliminate the defending RSEQ champions Gaiters with an easy home win this afternoon in Montreal.  McGill gave up only 29 points total in the final 3 quarters and finished the game on a 65-29 run.

Most impactful this afternoon was 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun who led the way with 21 points and as importantly knocked down 4 3’s from various spots.  Ogundokun did his usual fine job defending and rebounding but his offensive explosion including making multiple open looks bodes well for the first-place Redmen who prior to this afternoon were shooting 23% from downtown as a team after the holidays.  McGill was a tidy 7 for 17 from three point land (41.2%) today.

Redmen were also spurred by the return to the lineup of 6’1″ Jenning Leung, who missed last week’s game at Laval after injuring his hamstring two weeks ago against Concordia.  Leung (15 points, 4 assists, only 1 turnover, 6-10 from the field including 2 3’s) got more aggressive as the game went on, showing more confidence driving into the lane and even knocking down a pair of 3’s.  In general, this was McGill’s most fluid, confident and consistent offensive effort arguably since before the Holidays.

The young Gaiters have plenty of promising but inexperienced talent led by slashing 6’4″ wing Abdul Kamane, my choice for RSEQ Rookie-of-the-Year, who plays with fearless abandon attacking the rim.  But the guard play is still very erratic and perimeter shooting inconsistent (1 for 17 from 3 today).  Fourth-year guard Jona Bermillo, the hero of last season’s Gaiters run to the Nationals, was generally over matched as a pure point guard for many stretches this season but did an admirable job in that spot given the lack of quality on the roster at that position – not being able to slide over to the 2 spot consistently likely hampered the slick shooting guard’s ability to gain consistency from the perimeter.  Bermillo was honored last week as a graduating player at Bishop’s final home game of the season but still has one season of eligibility remaining so his status for next season remains uncertain.

Today’s Bishop’s loss renders this evening’s Laval at UQAM game meaningless as far as the playoff race however both teams are battling for third spot.  Presumably, neither wants to meet the host Redmen on their home floor in the RSEQ Final 4 semi-final scheduled for two weeks from yesterday at Love Competition Hall.  The fourth-place finisher would be slotted against McGill in one of two semi-finals.  Note that Concordia cannot finish any lower than third.  So Redmen will play either UQAM or Laval and Stingers will play either UQAM or Laval – that could be decided tonight if UQAM defeats Laval.

RSEQ Standings

McGill 11-4  (UQAM at home)

Concordia 9-6 (at UQAM)

UQAM 6-7 (home to Laval, home to Concordia, at McGill)

Laval 6-8 (at UQAM, home to Bishop’s)

Bishop’s 4-11 (at Laval)


RSEQ: Gaiters keep slim playoff hopes alive

Bishop’s 74, Concordia 66  Gaiters rallied from an early 15 point deficit behind balanced scoring that had 5 players in double figures, keeping their faint playoff hopes alive with a solid win over the Stingers in Lennoxville.  6’5″ freshman Abdul Kamane had 7 of his 12 points down the stretch including a bucket that gave Bishop’s the lead for good at 64-62 with just over 4 minutes to play and soon thereafter added a clutch 3 plus a lay-in to swell the advantage to 6.  Fellow freshman 6’5″ Schneider Suffrard finished with 13 pionts and 7 rebounds for Concordia, going just 5 for 14 from the floor and picking up a technical foul late in the game after arguing a foul call.  In a game in which the teams combined for 48 turnovers, Suffrard led both sides with 7 turnovers.

Stingers had to play the majority of the game without arguably their top offensive player in 6’4″ Ken Beaulieu, who left early in the second quarter and did not return after only 7 minutes of play.

Bishop’s appears to be getting 6’3″ sharpshooter Peter Weston back on the track as the slick perimeter shooter had 10 second half points including a pair of 3’s.  6’5″ David Belanger, who has missed meaningful time battling injury all season, played only 7 minutes for Bishop’s.

Bishop’s can still make the playoffs if all of the following results occur:

  • Bishop’s defeats McGill in Montreal next Saturday at 4 PM
  • UQAM defeats Laval in Montreal next Saturday at 7 PM
  • Bishop’s defeats Laval by 11 or more points the following Thursday in Ste. Foy

With Concordia’s loss last night, McGill Redmen officially clinch their fourth consecutive RSEQ regular season pennant.  Over those 4 seasons, Redmen are 46-16 in RSEQ play plus 5-1 in playoff play.

RSEQ Standings:

McGill 10-4

Concordia 9-6

UQAM 6-7

Laval 6-8

Bishop’s 4-10

RSEQ: Redmen come from 23 down to shock Laval

McGill 69, Laval 68  Rouge et Or substitute 6’2″ Laurier Beaulac-Dufresne missed the first of two free-throws with no timing remaining on the clock as the Redmen staged a dramatic comeback coming from 23 down with under 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd to solidify their hold on first place in the RSEQ.  McGill had taken what appeared to be an insurmountable a 4 point lead with 8 seconds remaining when Laval’s 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc banged a 3 with 2 seconds left and Laval immediately fouled.  6’5″ Vincent Dufort then made the first of two, missing the second on purpose for McGill.  Unbelievably, on the rebound, the Redmen lost track of Beaulac-Dufresne down the floor and he was fould by freshman Isiah Cummins at the buzzer with a chance to tie by knocking down both.  But his missed the first, allowing Redmen to celebrate a storied comeback.

Looking listless and defeated late in the third quarter, Redmen went deep to their bench and also got sterling performances from Dufort and 6’8″ Noah Daoust late when it counted to storm back from a 56-33 deficit with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the third.  After Leclerc completed a conventional “and 1”, Dufort went to work and little-used Redmen reserve Daniel Pieper knocked down a 3, kick starting a 19-2 run to bridge the third and fourth that got the game to 6 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.  Daoust was outstanding inside and out – 13 of his 15 points came in the final 12 minutes of the game including 7 consecutive early in the fourth – while fifth-year point forward Dufort (18 points, 11 rebounds) who has taken up most of the decision-making duties for McGill in the absence of injured starting pg Jenning Leung and has played his way back in to a First Team all-star type season, had 10 points in the fourth including the game-tying 3 when Laval went under the ball screen.  Daoust then took a feed from freshman Isiah Cummins to give McGill the lead for good.

Laval dominated for the first 2 1/2 quarters behind Leclerc (15 points) and lefty post Charles-Andre Edorh (15 points, 10 rebounds) forcing 15 turnovers while building their big lead.  But an inability to rebound (McGill dominated the glass 40-25) and a 3 for 15 effort from the floor in the fourth quarter sealed their fate.

RSEQ Standings

McGill 10-4

Concordia 9-5

UQAM 6-7

Laval 6-8

Bishop’s 3-10

Tomorrow:  Concordia at Bishop’s; a Gaiters loss seals 4th place and a playoff spot for Laval.

RSEQ: Redmen regain top spot with win at BeeHive

McGill 53, Concordia 44  Redmen took over early in the fourth quarter and held the Stingers to just 22% shooting for the game – overcoming a ridiculous free throw disparity for the first 33 minutes of the game – to take charge of the race for the RSEQ regular season crown with a gut-check win at the Bee Hive.  McGill now has a one-game lead in the loss column over Concordia and holds the tie-breaker as the teams split the season series 2-2 but Redmen hold the point spread at +8.  Concordia took the first 22 free throws of the game ! and McGill did not get to the line a single time until 6 1/2 minutes remained in the fourth quarter.

Down the stretch of the regular season, Redmen are beginning to receive the senior leadership required from 6’5″ fifth-year point forward Vincent Dufort, who got off to a great start offensively and was the catalyst down the stretch, with several wonderful looks to teammates for easy layups.  Dufort, who finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and got credit for only 2 assists – by the naked eye there were several more including a couple of key dimes down the stretch – has been forced to assume much of the offensive decision-making duties as 6’1″ Jenning Leung continues to struggle with his hamstring injury.  Leung tried to go in the first half but could not continue and did not play after halftime.  As well, emerging backup 6’1″ Jawara Pedican , who logged 36 minutes in Leung’s absence in Redmen’s prior game – a win at UQAM – missed today’s game with an undisclosed injury.

The game was marred by multiple, continual head scratching calls from the officiating crew – against both teams – that whistled McGill for 19 of the first 29 fouls of the game and put Stingers into bonus within 4 minutes of play in both the second and third quarters.  Redmen shot their first free throws of the game with just over 6 minutes to play in the game and had only 10 trips to the line in total – all in the fourth quarter.

McGill blew the game open with a 9-0 run during a four minute stretch midway through the fourth quarter to take a 10 point lead with 3 minutes to play as 6’7″ Francois Bourque, who adds a layer of toughness to the Redmen – he and 6’6″ Michael Fosu got into a shoving match that semi-emptied the benches in the final minute of play – got free inside for lay-ups and fouls.  6’2″ Dele Ogundokun, still mired in a shooting slump (although he did make a couple of 3’s), got to the rim in transition and with an authoritative drive along the baseline.

Redmen jumped out to an early 11 point lead at 17-6 by defending the ball and occasionally switching to a zone defense, keeping the athletic Stingers off the glass.  Offensively, Dufort slashed to the rim a couple of times and knocked down a pair of 3’s, part of his 12 point first-half effort.  However Concordia, the top defensive team in the “Q” began guarding the ball with more success and a block by 6’4″ Ken Beaulieu on a seemingly-open transition lay-up for Bourque seemed to energize the Stingers.  Later Beaulieu, who was held in check offensively, went to the bench with 2 fouls and finished the game with only 7 points on 2 of 11 shooting after averaging 19 ppg during Stingers 7 game winning streak.

Given Stingers ability to guard the ball at every position, McGill went several minutes without scoring in the second quarter and Stingers got out in transition off their “d” and at the foul line.  In the double OT game played between the two teams three weeks ago, the final foul count was a ridiculous McGill 39, Concordia 21 – this afternoon, the Stingers were in double bonus in the first 3 minutes of the second quarter.  Bourque went to the bench early with 3 fouls and Stingers came back to take a one-point lead on a 3 by steady 6’0″ pg Ricardo Monge.  But McGill scored the final 4 points of the quarter as substitute big 6’9″ Sebastien Beckett got free inside for a couple of scores.

Stingers have tried to feature all season long their 6’5″ freshman Schneiders Suffrard, especially with isolations in the post.  The long, confident wing is given license to back down his opponents in the low post and, at home in the Bee Hive at least, is allowed ample leeway by officials with regard to initiating contact with defenders.  Although he draws his share of fouls, Suffrard is not a knock-down free throw shooter and his perimeter shot selection can be head-scratching at times also.  Suffrard finished 2 for 17 from the floor this afternoon with a team-high 5 turnovers and went 4 for 10 from the line.  Certainly one of the top newcomers to the “Q”, Suffrard has shown to be a streaky scorer when things are going well for him and his emotions are positive.

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.