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(Gabriel Helfant / The McGill Tribune)

McGill men’s basketball holds off UQAM in thrilling victory

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On Nov. 8, the McGill men’s basketball team (2-0) opened their season at Love Competition Hall against the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins (0-2). In a hard-fought game, McGill won in the final seconds by a score of 62-60.

McGill started quickly, taking a 15-5 lead out of the gate. Fifth-year point guard Alex Paquin was red-hot, scoring the team’s first seven points. The game started to even out as UQAM began hitting their shots and gaining momentum, but fourth-year-transfer McGill forward Levi Londole hit a buzzer-beater, and McGill finished the first quarter up 23-11.

Londole carried his dominating play right into the second: He converted a three-point-play right out of the gate, and McGill stretched their lead to 17, their largest of the night. However, McGill then faltered, letting the Citadins back into the game. UQAM went on a 10-3 run to get back within striking distance before McGill pulled away, once again, to finish the half up 35-24.

“We knew they were [going to] come out hard, so we made sure we were [going to] come out as hard, if not harder, to not give them hope from the beginning,” Paquin said.

At the start of the second half, UQAM turned up the intensity, starting the second half just as strong as McGill did to open the game. The Citadins put up a quick 14 points to McGill’s four, bringing the score to 39-38. With the help of a deep three-point shot by Paquin and a string of crucial defensive stops, McGill brought the game back under control. At the end of the third quarter, they led 48-43.

The two sides traded control of the game throughout the fourth quarter. Late in the frame, McGill went on a quick 6-0 run to give them a 56-48 lead. With momentum shifting, it seemed like enough to carry them to victory. However, UQAM answered with 12 consecutive points to take a late 60-56 lead with 58 seconds left on the clock, shocking the packed crowd.

The home side stayed focused: McGill fifth-year guard Avery Cadogan scored a key three-pointer to cut the deficit to one with 30 seconds left. On the next play, fourth-year point guard Isaiah Cummins got the ball off of a defensive rebound, drove right to the basket, and scored with 17.8 seconds remaining. He also drew a foul and sunk the free throw to make it a 62-60 game.

“I just made [a] few bad plays the few plays before, so I had to make up for it,” Cummins said. “So, I was going to the rack, and I knew we didn’t have much time left, and […] there was only one guy in front of me. So, I just took it to the rack.”

After Cummins knocked down the free throw, fifth-year McGill forward Noah Daoust made a key block, preserving the lead and sealing the game.

McGill moved to 2-0 with a win against Université de Laval (0-2) on Nov. 10 and will next play at home against Bishop’s University (1-0) on Nov. 15.

Moment of the Game

With 17.8 seconds left, fourth-year guard Isaiah Cummins won the game for McGill with a driving three-point-play.

Quotable

“We [have to] do a better job with our young kids and having them understand the scouting report and who we want to shoot the ball and who we don’t.” – Head Coach David DeAveiro on how to prepare themselves for their next game.

Stat Corner

With strong play on both sides of the court, Levi Londole filled the stat sheet. He put up 13 points, a team-leading nine rebounds, and two blocks.

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