On Nov. 22, the McGill basketball teams hosted their annual Pots and Pans Night. Unfortunately, the raucous crowd went home disappointed, as the McGill men’s basketball team (2-2) could not complete its comeback against the crosstown-rival Concordia Stingers (2-1) and fell by a score of 87-81.
McGill started the first quarter powerfully, and fifth-year point-guard Alex Paquin helped set the tone. He scored McGill’s first seven points and had nine total in the frame. Fifth-year forward Noah Daoust did an excellent job keeping Concordia away from the offensive glass early. On the offensive end, McGill moved the ball efficiently, and threes from third-year forward Edgar Brown and first-year guard Anthony Fisiru helped build a 19-12 lead at the end of the first.
In the second period, both teams’ offences found their grooves. After McGill second-year guard Sam Jenkins converted on a three-point play to stretch the lead to 28-21, Concordia went on a 14-3 run over the next two minutes to take a 35-31 lead. The McGill side, however, battled back to take the halftime lead, 41-40.
Coming out of the gate after halftime, neither team could do anything to stop the other from scoring. It became clear that the first team to find their defence would gain an edge.
“We came out in the second half very slowly,” first-year forward Brennan Laidman said. “We basically just traded baskets the entire time [….] We ended up falling behind and we couldn’t make it all the way back after that.”
At one point, Paquin and Concordia guard Ricardo Monge showed what it meant to trade baskets. First, Paquin converted a rare four-point-play. Then, Monge made a layup through contact and the ensuing free throw. Then, it was Paquin’s turn again: He hit his free throw after being fouled while making a layup to give McGill a 51-48 lead.
The Stingers then started connecting from long-distance more consistently: They went 4-8 from three-point range in the frame and shot 42.3 per cent for the night. As a result, Concordia’s three-point deficit became a 12-point lead by the end of the quarter. The Stingers slowed McGill down and finished the third ahead 70-58.
A quick 6-0 run for McGill to start the fourth quarter cut the Concordia lead in half, but, ultimately, McGill’s lack of execution on the defensive end stopped them from taking home the victory.
“We responded pretty well [at the start of the fourth quarter],” Jenkins said. “Again, we couldn’t get stops. We couldn’t stop the drives, and they were kicking out for easy shots, wide-open.”
With the Concordia lead down to six points and 3:26 remaining in the game, Daoust fouled out. That loss made it more difficult to stop the Concordia offence without a key presence in the post to match up against Stingers centre Olivier Simon, who finished with a game-high 32 points.
The game was not over yet, though: A quick McGill run cut the Stingers lead to three once again. And, with 15 seconds to play, the home team forced a turnover to get one last chance to tie the game. However, Paquin missed his three-point shot, and three Concordia free throws ultimately sealed the Stingers win.
McGill has ten days off to recuperate after the tough loss. They play next on Dec. 1 against the Bishop’s Gaiters (3-1) in Lennoxville, Quebec.
Moment of the Game:
Fifth-year guard Avery Cadogan knocked down a three-point shot to cut the Concordia lead to 72-70, bringing the 546 fans packed into Love Competition Hall to their feet.
“Both coaches went really small. Avery [Cadogan], who’s normally a three [a small forward], was playing centre for us [….] It’s less opportunity for mismatches, it’s harder to get open shots. But on defence, it’s easier for us because we can switch everything, and we can block out.” – McGill guard Sam Jenkins on the last three minutes of the game.
McGill’s second and third quarters were poor defensive efforts, as they allowed Concordia to score 58 points combined.