Concordia 70, McGill 58: Stingers Silence the Pots and Pans

Stingers Beat Rivals, Bounce Back From Loss to Laval

  • Ken Beaulieu (13) collected team highs in points and rebounds against McGill. Photo Elisa Barbier

The 522 McGill fans that assembled at the Love Competition Hall were ready to bang their pots and pans all the way to a “pots and pans day” sweep of Concordia on Saturday afternoon.

The Stingers, however, were not phased by McGill’s pep band’s taunts of “You Can’t Do That” each time they committed a foul, or by the kitchenware, now dented from having been hit incessantly by spatulas.

Concordia was in attack mode from the opening tip to the final whistle. They outscored McGill in the paint 32-24 and did the same off of turnovers, 20-6.

Sami Ghandour (shooting) helped keep his team’s morale up throughout the game. Photo Elisa Barbier

“I liked the intensity of my teammates,” said Concordia guard Ken Beaulieu. “We executed the gameplan precisely. We made a couple of mistakes, but that happens. We were really hungry to win this game and it showed on the court.”

At the half, the game was tied at 25. But the score was only close because of what Concordia head coach Rastko Popovic called “sloppy play” to start the game. Assistant coach Dwight Walton echoed that sentiment.

“[Slow starts are] something we talk about all the time,” said Walton.

Concordia used an explosive second unit led by guard Cedrick Corolian to get out to a 46-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“Cedrick did a great job,” said Popovic of Corolian, who scored four points and dished out an assist. “It doesn’t look great on the stat sheet, but he came in and made some wonderful shots. He came and gave us good minutes.”

Guard Henderson Charles was also an offensive catalyst for the second unit, scoring 13 points and collecting seven rebounds off the bench.

The most crucial bench player for the Stingers from an emotional standpoint was forward Sami Ghandour. During the fourth quarter, Ghandour yelled “we’re not losing this” to his bench so loud that not even the pep band’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” could drown it out.

“We were in their faces on defense and we executed the gameplan perfectly,” said Ghandour, who scored nine points and collected four rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. “I wanted to get on every guy and let them know that just because we were winning, didn’t mean we could slow down. We needed to maintain the win as well.”

Before long, the air had been taken out of the gym and the Stingers were scoring at will. On the other end, McGill couldn’t buy a bucket. Up ten points with just a few minutes left, it was clear that Concordia was not going to lose this.

“I think the confidence came in once the defense took over,” said Popovic. “The guys were confidently making shots and that changes everything.”

When Nicholas Noble (4) wasn’t busy scoring, he was drawing McGill’s attention away from his teammates, giving them open shots. Photo Elisa Barbier

Concordia’s defense was vexing throughout the game. Though they did allow McGill’s high-powered back court duo of Dele Ogundokun and Jenning Leung to score 17 and 11 points, respectively, no other McGill player exceeded eight.

Beaulieu shared the Stingers’ game-high for points with Charles at 13. He added eight rebounds to his stat line. Guard Nicholas Noble scored ten and guard Ricardo Monge chipped in with 11 points before getting into some late foul trouble.

At the final whistle, a small scuffle broke out between Stingers’ forward Schneiders Suffrard and members of the McGill team, showing that there was no love lost in the rivalry.

The Stingers drew first blood in the season series and McGill will have to wait for Jan. 11 before they’ll have another crack at the Stingers. Until then, Concordia will play their final game of 2017 on Saturday against the Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins at home.

As for McGill, they’ll head to Lennoxville on Saturday to replace their ruined kitchen supplies and to play a basketball game against the Bishop’s Gaiters.

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