The McGill Redmen’s one-point lead looked fleeting heading into the half. As if on cue, their opponents, the Laval Rouge et Or, opened the third-quarter with two straight field goals, going up 36-32. It would be Laval’s last lead of the game.
Scrambling to halt their opponents’ momentum, the Redmen turned to reserve shooting-guard Thomas Lacy. Suddenly, Laval had no answers, as Lacy took control in a 79-53 victory for the Redmen.
Lacy erupted for 22 of his career-high 30 points in the third-quarter to go along with three rebounds, three steals, and one assist. His six three pointers fell one shy of the team’s single-game record, set by Yannick Chouinard back in 2005.
What began as a 10-0 run quickly turned into a monster 33-point quarter for the Redmen, during which the hosts outscored their opponents by 19 points to put the game out of reach.
“My legs felt pretty young tonight,” Lacy said. “I hit one and then I could feel my teammates trying to find me on the court. I could feel the guys on the bench standing up [….] Once those things start happening, the ball just goes in.”
With every swish, Thomas Lacy seemed to set his feet further and further from the arc, while the rowdy Redmen bench inched closer and closer to the hardwood. This was Lacy’s court. This was his time to shine.
McGill would put the game away in the last quarter, coasting to an easy win. Lacy exited midway through the fourth frame to a rousing ovation from the red-and-white crowd. Despite Lacy’s 6 of 11 outburst from three-point land, Redmen Head Coach David DeAveiro expressed more excitement about the 6’1” guard’s inside game.
“Although he shot [the ball] really well, he also had 12 points going to the basket,” DeAveiro said. “He’s had to expand his game [….] Any time you have a chance to go one-on-one you have to be able to score from all over.”
The Redmen dominated the glass throughout the game, out-rebounding Laval 49-36 on the strength of freshman forward François Bourque’s 10 boards. Bourque, the tallest member of McGill’s starting five at 6’5”, battled all night against 6’9” Laval big man Boris Hadzimuratovic. Bourque’s play was instrumental in the third- quarter, giving his team multiple opportunities to stretch the lead.
While the Redmen shined on the boards they were mired in foul trouble for much of the early going, sending its opponents to the foul line 15 times in the first half.
“We got together at halftime and talked about playing defence without fouling and making adjustments on offence,” DeAveiro said.
Whatever wisdom DeAveiro imparted on his squad in the locker room, it seemed to click instantly, as McGill cut down on their fouls and stifled the Rouge et Or offence over the final two quarters.
“We kept them to 22 points in the second half,” DeAveiro said. “That’s what we do—we stop teams from scoring. When we do that, we get a chance to go out there and run and play unselfish [….] That’s how we found [Lacy] for open shots.”
With three games remaining before the playoffs, McGill (11-2) leads the RSEQ and will have a chance to repeat as regular-season champions with a win against second-place Bishop’s (8-4) on Thursday night at Love Competition Hall.