One and One

Shorthanded Stingers Split Two Games at Nike Tournament

Photo by Pierre Chauvin.

Concordia’s men’s basketball team started off the season with a win and a loss at home during the annual Nike Tournament.

They won the tournament last year, and a repeat would have the team poised to kick off another powerhouse season. In 2011-12, they were 24-9 overall, Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec champions and are currently ranked ninth in the country.

Friday night’s opponent was the Queen’s University Gaels, who won two and lost 20 last season.

Piece of cake? Not so fast.

The Stingers dropped a surprising one to the boys from Kingston, losing 78-73.

Head coach John Dore blamed turnovers for the loss, after the Stingers hung on to defeat Laurentian 85-82 Saturday night.

“That’s the difference, between last night and tonight,” he said. “That’s what we did differently, we made fewer turnovers.”

To be fair, the Maroon and Gold roundballers were missing two of their starting five, All-Canadians Kyle Desmarais and Evans Laroche, who are academically ineligible and injured, respectively. Desmarais might be back by December, Laroche sooner, but until then will have to field a weaker squad and concentrate on their defence.

“There was opportunity tonight for guys who usually get less time on the court, to come off the bench and show what they can do,” said assistant coach Ernie Rosa.

“It’s good because when the other guys come back, these guys have had an opportunity to get some time in. Makes a better team,” he said, though he declined to mention anybody specifically.

Dore was more forthcoming. “Missing those two guys makes it difficult,” he admitted.

If anything, that was an understatement. The Stingers started strong, outscoring their opponents in the first half 60-37. The second half was tougher, as they were outscored 45-25, and halfway through the fourth quarter, a 15-point lead was in serious danger of slipping away.

Laurentian was giving away very little at the top of the key, and driving harder towards the hoop than Concordia. The result was a foul here, a foul there and Laurentian was able to whittle away the Stingers’ lead.

There was clutch and grab; there was even a rugby-type scramble for the ball while the defence were openly questioning themselves—and each other.

Twice, guard Morgan Tajfel hit from the corner for three, only to have Laurentian come right back down the court with a pass-and-fly for two points.

Then, Zach Brisebois pulled an ordinary rebound that, in the dying desperate minutes, looked like a game-saver. Given that the game rested on a desperate last-second three-point attempt by the visitors, Brisebois’s snatch might have been the key to victory.

“Tonight we had some shots that fell well for us—last night we didn’t—and that was a plus, definitely,” said Rosa.

“The team is beginning to gel, and I’m happy with tonight’s effort,” added Dore with a smile.