Rouge et Or 85, Stingers 84: Heartbreak in Overtime Thriller
Concordia Stingers Fall to 5-3 After Losing to Laval in the Final Seconds
On Jan. 14, Stinger fans at Ed Meagher Arena might have witnessed the game of the year as the Concordia Stingers fought a gutsy battle up until the final buzzer sounded against the Université Laval Rouge et Or.
The Stingers played with energy from the opening tipoff, but they failed to gain any traction against Laval in the first quarter, ending the frame down 27-16.
The second quarter followed a similar theme. The Rouge et Or continued to out-rebound the Stingers on both ends of the floor while shooting a high field goal percentage.
First year Forward Jaheem Joseph seemed to be the sole spark in the Stingers’ offence, finishing the first half of his second game on the squad with a scorching 14 points.
However, foul trouble in the second half limited his chances to make an impact on the rest of the game.
If Concordia wanted to win this one, they needed their main rotation players to step up, and that’s exactly what they did.
A total team effort in the third quarter gave Stingers fans something to be excited about as the two teams went bucket for bucket for the rest of the frame.
Tensions rose in the fourth quarter as both teams traded three-point daggers and tough layups.
Stingers’ star forward Tyrell Williams started to pour it in, getting most of his work done at the charity stripe, shooting eight for nine from the free-throw line. His scoring efforts were accompanied by displays of mid-range magic, courtesy of guards Sami Jahan and Alec Phaneuf.
With about three minutes left in the game, Phaneuf converted on a clutch floater to give the Stingers the lead. Almost immediately after the bucket, the second year guard wrapped up an opposing player, forcing a crucial jump ball for the Stingers.
The fourth quarter proved to be trending in a highly intense direction for both teams, as the jump ball call led to a scrum causing Laval guard Steeve Joseph to be ejected, along with a member of the Concordia sideline.
In the final two minutes, Jahan hit a three-pointer and two much-needed free throws to give the Stingers the 75-70 lead, but the Rouge et Or refused to back down, scoring seven unanswered points.
Concordia gained possession with dwindling seconds ticking off the clock. Jahan brought the ball up the court, but his shot was off the mark. His late-game heroics were passed on to Stingers guard Olivier Koumassou-Bernier, whose putback layup tied the game milliseconds before the buzzer sounded to send the game to overtime.
The Stingers' star players continued to show out in overtime, but it just wasn’t enough. With half a second left on the clock, Steve Mbida-Abamo’s mid range shot to seal the win bounced off the rim as the final buzzer went off, ultimately resulting in Laval besting Concordia 85-84 in dramatic fashion.
“This was a tough [loss]. We definitely gotta soak it in and learn from our mistakes, but I know we’ll be back for the next game” said Williams, who finished with a game high 20 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block. “I’m just grateful to play with this group of guys, and I know we’ll continue to motivate each other”.
Head coach Rastko Popovich is determined to push the locker room to use the loss as fuel to their fire: “Obviously, losses like this hurt in the moment, but I think there’s lots of positives at the same time. Sometimes, sports are cruel, the ball just bounces the wrong way, but we just gotta keep going at it and get ready for Bishops next Thursday”.
The Stingers look to rebound in their next home bout against the Bishop's University Gaiters, as they hope to enter the win column for the first time in the new year. Tip-off is set for Jan. 19 at 8 p.m.