RSEQ Final Four Day Two: Men’s Semifinals Recaps

McGill Redmen and UQAM Citadins Book Tickets to Men’s Final

  • The McGill Redmen punched their ticket to the RSEQ final. Photo Alexander Perez

  • The McGill Redmen punched their ticket to the RSEQ final. Photo Alexander Perez

  • The UQAM Citadins will meet the Redmen in the final. Photo Alexander Perez

  • The UQAM Citadins will meet the Redmen in the final. Photo Alexander Perez

One thing’s for sure, game one of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec Final Four men’s semifinal kept you on your feet.

Despite being seeded number one, the McGill Redmen found it difficult to close down number four Laval Rouge et Or on Friday night’s Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec semi-final game.

McGill managed to beat Laval by a score of 59-48, but the Rouge et Or didn’t go down without a fight.

“They’re probably our toughest competition in the [RSEQ] just based on our games this season,” said Redmen guard Michael Peterkin. “We’ve had the closest differential with them and the games we played against them are very close, going into this game was going to be a close battle until the end.”

From beginning to end, tensions were high between both teams. McGill showing signs of eagerness as they fell behind to Laval.

“Every time we played Laval, it was a close [game],” said Redmen guard Dele Ogundokun, who was voted RSEQ Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. “Even though they were fourth in the conference every game we play against them it’s a tough game.”

Scores aside, it was an evenly matched contest between the Redmen and the Rouge et Or. Laval proved a scratch McGill just couldn’t seem to itch all game.

The Redmen continuously tried to set themselves with a comfortable lead, but the Rouge et Or kept cutting it down to the slimmest of margins. By the end of the second quarter, it was all square between both sides with a score of 23-23.

By the time the third quarter came around, McGill were stunned by Laval’s attacking prowess. Laval found themselves with a lead of 29-31. They looked the better team.

McGill called a timeout. The Redmen needed a wake-up—and they got just that. Peterkin, who ended the game with 16 points on the night, shot for three points to gain the momentum for the Redmen. Ogundokun would add onto that, easing his way through Laval’s defence to get the layup and extend the lead.

“The great thing about basketball is that it’s a game of momentum, it’s a game of runs,” said Laval winger Alexandre Leclerc. “McGill was just able to make more runs than we could.”

Taking advantage of fouls and free throws, McGill was able to end the game with an 11-point margin.

“It’s tough to stay focussed because you have to stay in the game, but we were able to hold our heads high,” said Ogundokun.

“I think we did really well,” he continued. “We did amazing defensively, If we play defense like that it’ll be tough to score on us.”

McGill’s success meant disappointment for Laval, who were resilient against the number one seed all game.

“I think everyone had a good game and everyone did what they could to help the team,” said Laval head coach Jacques Paiement Jr. “Players did all they could and worked hard all year. It’s a start and there are certainly things to work on.”

Game Two: UQAM Citadins 81, Concordia Stingers 71

If one statistic could explain Concordia’s unexpected loss to the Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins on Friday night, it would be offensive rebounds.

The Citadins, who were the third seed in the RSEQ Final Four competition, collected 20 offensive rebounds in the game–10 more than the Stingers did. Those rebounds led to 21 second chance points, compared to just four for Concordia.

Concordia head coach Rastko Popovic believes that those rebounds became the deciding factor in their 81-71 loss.

“You’ll never win a basketball game if you’re being out-rebounded like that,” said Popovic. “Twenty-one to four on second chances. You can never win a game with that big of a difference.”

The Stingers got out to a 6-0 lead in the game. The Citadins, who had gladly embraced the role of the underdog in this fight, quickly came back, and stayed ahead for the majority of the game.

“No one really gave us a chance,” said UQAM head coach Nate Philippe. “I hear what’s out there, people are saying we’re huge underdogs and Concordia has so-and-so record against us. Absolutely, it was something we used as motivation.”

“We expected to win this game, it wasn’t a surprise to us. We’re happy with the way we played.”

UQAM was clearly a team on a mission. They played with confidence from the outset, and scored at will for the majority of the contest. Though the Stingers did make a few late runs, their inability to get rebounds and score timely baskets cost them the game.

“The rebounding, man,” said Concordia guard Nicholas Noble, who scored a team-high 17 points. “We got killed on the glass, they had way more second chance points. We shot better than them, but they just rebounded better than us.”

Four Citadins finished in double-figures for scoring, with their best contribution coming from Christian Kadima, who inflicted his damage on the Stingers from off the bench. He scored 16 point, seven rebound performance earned him the game’s most valuable player award.

“Christian [Kadima] got the MVP and deserved it,” said Popovic. “He didn’t take that many shots, but the ones he took were good. He’s a good player.”

The Stingers have had their season abruptly halted by UQAM in consecutive years. Team captain Michael Fosu, who played his final game as a Stinger on Saturday, believes they took their opponents lightly.

“Anything can happen in the playoffs,” said Fosu. “I believe we took them lightly. We beat them three times in the regular season, but as we saw last year, that doesn’t mean much. Anything can happen once you get to the playoffs.”

The McGill Redmen will face the Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins in the RSEQ final Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau.

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