Maroon & Golden
Concordia Demolishes UQAM in RSEQ Final
Concordia 77 UQAM 47
After a string of buzzer-beating finishes in the semi-finals, Concordia’s men’s basketball team trounced the Université du Québec à Montreal Citadins in front of a sold-out Loyola gym in the RSEQ conference finals 77-47.“We don’t like to win at the last second, so we had a game plan and we carried it through. Defense was the key to this game. Our offense started with our defense,” said Stingers head coach John Dore.
The first quarter saw the teams exchanging baskets and misses, with the Citadins initially keeping pace with the Stingers.
However, the Stingers’ full court defensive press made ball movement difficult for the Citadins, leading to a number of easy buckets for the home team. The Stingers’ strong defensive play led to a notable stat: UQAM finished the game with 24 turnovers; the Stingers generating 22 points off those turnovers.
“Right now, we just want to enjoy this. We’ll start worrying about nationals on Monday.” Stingers head coach John Dore
The second quarter proved brutal for the Citadins as they scored only six points, finishing the half trailing the Stingers, 33-21.
Citadins head coach Jacques Verschuere was frustrated with the strong defensive play of the ConU squad, saying, “It was like Concordia put a cover on top of the basket.”
“They were very aggressive defensively. We missed a lot of high-probability shots under the basket, which you have to credit the aggressiveness of their defense.”
After being dominated in the second quarter, the Citadins started the third by applying some defensive pressure of their own.
Both teams were using a very physical style of play, with players exchanging numerous hard fouls. This led to an initial shrinking of the gap, but the Stingers’ lead never dropped below 10.
The experience of the Maroon and Gold shone through as they managed to continue to disrupt the UQAM momentum by maintaining their athletically demanding, stifling form of defense.
Out-rebounding the Citadins 51-35 in the game, the Stingers made sure to deny all second-chance opportunities for the visiting team, too.
Rookie guard Jerome Blake capped off the quarter for the Stingers with a long-range three-pointer with .01 seconds left in the quarter, sending the sold out crowd into frenzy while seeming to kill off all forms of hope for the Citadins.
“We played great defensively,” said Dore. “We forced them to shoot the ball from the perimeter and then we only gave them one shot by out-rebounding them. […] We anticipated well and we were always there.”
The same themes continued in the final quarter before the buzzer sounded to make official Concordia’s third conference title in four years.
Up by 27 points with a minute and a half left, the starters were all subbed out. Two senior players—guard Decee Krah, who had 10 points, six assists and six steals, and forward James Clark, who notched five points alongside six rebounds—received standing ovations from the packed crowd.
“Forget the basketball, they’re really good people. They’ve been important parts of the program during their time here. This is their third time making it to nationals in their five years here, so hats off to them,” said coach Dore.
A number of players contributed to the victory, with current RSEQ most valuable player Evens Laroche almost notching a double-double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. Guard Kyle Desmarais also contributed with a team-high 13 points along with five assists.
With the win, the Stingers secured the number three seed at the national championships, and will face the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men on March 9 in Halifax.
“Right now, we just want to enjoy this. We’ll start worrying about nationals on Monday,” said Dore.
You can stream the game live at ssncanada.ca; tip-off is at 6:15 p.m.