Gaiters 98, Stingers 94: Heavyweight Battle Settled in Triple Overtime

Concordia Men’s Basketball Lose Back-to-Back games at home

Courtesy Kyran Thicke - Concordia Athletics

On Jan. 19, the Concordia Stingers treated their fans with three extra periods of overtime in an instant classic. However, they failed to emerge victorious against the Bishop’s University Gaiters.

The Stingers looked aggressive coming out the gates to start the game. With something to prove following the loss in their previous home outing, Coach Rastko Popovic’s team played with a chip on their shoulder.

Throughout the first half, the Stingers were in control of the game, dictating the pace and giving the Gaiters a run for their money.

The Stingers ended the second quarter up 44 to 32 with forward Tyrell Williams and guard Alec Phaneuf contributing 12 points each. Their freshman teammate forward Jaheem Joseph, who has made a smooth transition to the squad, finished with nine first half points.

Bishop’s came out of the opposing locker room with a newfound energy, outscoring Concordia 33 to 17 in the third quarter.

Despite the Gaiters second-half surge, the Stingers began the fourth quarter with a six point lead. 

Midway through the frame, the Stingers found themselves in the midst of another game where the lead seemed to change with every basket. Each team was struggling to create separation and the tension could be felt throughout the John Doore court.

Similarly to their last outing against Laval, the Stingers relied on their top scoring trio, consisting of guards Sami Jahan, Phaneuf and Williams at forward, while forward Steve Mbida Abomo and guard Olivier Koumassou-Bernier provided big minutes and clutch plays as well.

The battle continued into overtime for the second game in a row. However, this time, the Stingers looked fit to come out on top.

The first frame of overtime ended with a 81-81 tie, which meant another five minutes would be needed to determine the winner.

Phaneuf continued to dazzle the crowd with a barrage of mid-range step-back shots and multiple threes during crunch time. His tenacious play on both ends of the floor had him looking like the best player on the court.

The Stingers ended double overtime tied 86-86 but unfortunately had no answer for the Gaiters’ starting power forward Charles Robert, who had 34 points going into the third additional frame. 

After an incredible triple overtime game, the final score was 98-94, sending Stingers fans home with a sour taste in their mouths.

Phaneuf was the engine that kept the Stingers swarm going. He finished the game with 22 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists after playing a whopping 45 minutes.

“As an athlete, you live for these moments, and as a competitor, you should always want the ball in your hands in these tight situations”, said Phaneuf. “The only thing that mattered was the W and we [left] it all on the floor. Unfortunately, the ball did not go our way last night.”

Coach Popovic spoke very highly of the second year guard after his gutsy performance.

“Alec is one of the toughest kids you’ll ever find,” said Coach Popovic. “He’s a joy to watch, he’s a joy to coach and he’s a great example for many players that if you put in the work, you’re going to get better. We’re looking forward to him continuing to grow as a player.”

Despite the loss, Coach Popovic couldn’t help but praise his players: “I told the guys I can’t fault them for the effort, they competed their butts off. No one feels sorry. We’re going to watch [film] and get better and be ready for Saturday.”

The Stingers’ have now lost their 5th game in a row, in a rematch against the Bishops Gaiters in Lennoxville on Jan. 21. They now sit at a new record of 5-5, and their next chance to snag their first win of 2023 will come next week at UQAM. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26.