Concordia 87, McGill 81: Stingers Earn Rivalry Win in Sami Ghandour’s Return

After a Rough Start, The Stingers Bounce Back on Pots and Pans Night

Sami Ghandour made his return to the Stingers’ lineup on Friday night in a rivalry match up at McGill. Photo Elisa Barbier

The Concordia Stingers seized a victory over McGill for the second year in a row during this annual pots and pans night. With over 600 people in attendance, the Stingers took home the 87-81 win.

The Stingers, now 2-1 on the season, put the lid on a massively agitated game. Olivier Simon put up a career-high 32 points and seven rebounds in only 30 minutes, leaving everybody dazed at what had just happened.

“I think I took 32 points for the team. It was a collective effort that we had. It’s a team victory not just from me. It feels good, I had great shots,” said Simon.

Concordia Stingers men’s basketball head coach Rastko Popovic wasn’t surprised in regards to Simon’s performance.

“He’s had a very good game, he’s been averaging 17 points a game since pre-season. I told him today he should have 40 [points] because he missed a few shots at the first half by himself,” Popovic said. “It shows that he is maturing with the basket. We didn’t have a great start but I thought we did well at the end.”

The game commenced on a very slow note for the Stingers, trailing the McGill side by a considerable margin. A collective lack of focus led the team to not act as a unit at the beginning. This caused senior Ricardo Monge as well as Simon to miss multiple shots during the first half.

In spite of the difficult start, Monge managed to deliver 16 points and eight assists to his team during the second half along with his teammate Adrian Armstrong who also grabbed 16 points and four steals.

The duo managed to bounce back and make a stellar delivery as they always do.

Third-year and Lebanon national team player Sami Ghandour was the leading rebounder making an impromptu appearance on the floor with his shoulder covered in tape after he took months off due to a shoulder injury. The 6’6 forward executed nine points and nine rebounds.

“He was supposed to have practice two weeks before going back on the court because it’s really mental. When you go back there to the game, it’s loud and the adrenaline kicks in,” said Popovic.

The last time Ghandour put the Stingers jersey on was during the RSEQ finals game last season against McGill at the same venue. Thursday he was back for the first time since, in the same jersey but with a shoulder wrap on.

“The doctor told me that the recovery will take four and a half to six months but I did a strength test and it was good. I spoke to the surgeon and he said I was clear to go. They didn’t pressure me into anything,” said Ghandour.

“He was fantastic, last year Sami played a lot for us. He’s the heart and soul of our team. He’s the guy always cheering his teammates always talking to them. He has a very high basketball IQ. he understands basketball really well. I felt bad for playing him that long. I’m very proud,” said Popovic

Point guard Alex Paquin took 27 points and seven rebounds for McGill. Sam Jenkins and Noah Daoust partnered up to combine 14 rebounds in total. Jenkins grabbed 15 points while Daoust had nine. With this defeat, McGill currently stands at 2-2.

Last week, Paquin, Daoust, Avery Cadogan and Isaiah Cummins took a trip to Xiamen, China along with McGill assistant coach Aleks Mitrovic to participate in the fourth edition of the 3-on-3 FISU World University League Finals.

The Stingers will be facing the Bishop’s University Gaiters at the Loyola gymnasium Saturday, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m.