Talk about a bounceback victory. On Jan. 26, the McGill Redmen (8-2) fell to the Bishop’s University Gaiters (3-8) in a tough 86-81 away loss. The following night back home at Love Competition Hall, the Redmen showed their true colours as they controlled the game from start to finish in a 108-57 blowout victory over the same Gaiters team—with the Redmen’s largest regular season margin of victory since 1977.
“I was disappointed last night [Jan. 26] with our energy level,” Redmen Head Coach David DeAveiro said. “So, we really wanted to come out here and establish a level of energy and compete.”
McGill shot 49.4 per cent from the field. Five Redmen scored in double figures, led by fourth-year centre Noah Daoust’s 18 points in 17 minutes off the bench. Daoust filled the stat sheet elsewhere, too, adding five rebounds, four steals, and three assists.
Starting sloppy in the first quarter, both teams took some time to settle down, but it quickly became clear which direction the game was headed in. Both sides found themselves in foul trouble, attempting 22 shots from the line in total. At the end of the stop-and-start first frame, the Redmen were up 11.
McGill’s lead grew to 16 by the end of the second quarter. After a half filled with fouls and free throws, DeAveiro kept his side locked in the game with his halftime speech.
“He was just telling us to stay focused and to stop fouling,” fourth-year guard Alex Paquin said. “When we came out in the third quarter, we stopped fouling, we started moving our feet, pressuring. They really had no option.”
Indeed, McGill stopped antagonizing the referees. After fouling the Gaiters 15 times in the first half, the Redmen totalled only three fouls in their dominant third quarter run. They forced eight turnovers in the frame on their way to a 19-0 run, holding the Gaiters without a basket for nearly five minutes as the lead grew to 33 by the end of the quarter.
Paquin scored all six of his points and added two assists in the quarter to pace the Redmen. Fourth-year guard Avery Cadogan added eight, on his way to a total of 12 for the game.
“We love to play fast,” Paquin said. “Coach always tells us ‘push the ball, push the ball, run out.’ We want to make teams turn the ball over, play fast, and then get open threes, and not have to settle for five-on-five offence.”
McGill continued their dominance in the fourth quarter, as stifling defensive pressure held the Gaiters to only eight points in the closing frame while the Redmen scored 26 more of their own.
“When we start running, that’s when teams really struggle to guard us,” Daoust said. “They’re a really good transition team but the way to beat them is to run on them.”
Third-year guard Isaiah Cummins’ dunk with 2:28 left put a nice bow on the Redmen effort that evening. With the team bathing in the loud fan appreciation postgame, DeAveiro highlighted his team’s efforts on the second night of a back-to-back.
“If [the] result [had been the same] tonight as yesterday, but [we had] competed like we did today, I would have lived with it,” DeAveiro said. “I just know when we play like this, when we compete like this, we’re a hard team to beat.”
After one of their most impressive performances of the season, the Redmen look to keep up the energy in their next game on Feb. 1 against the Laval Rouge et Or.
Moment of the game
With 3:43 left in the third quarter, fourth-year guard Alex Paquin dropped a beautiful behind-the-back pass right into the hands of fourth-year centre Noah Daoust for an easy lay-in to extend McGill’s lead to 22.
“My brother […is] a sophomore at Bishop’s [….] Unfortunately, he’s hurt […but] I’ll be interested to see what he has to say. He was texting me after the game [last night] being really supportive and I hated it, obviously because of how it went [….] We’ll see what kind of mood he’s in, hopefully he’s okay.” – Daoust on the McGill-Bishop’s sibling rivalry.
Pressured by the relentless McGill Redmen defence, the Bishop’s Gaiters turned the ball over 36 times on Saturday night.