Sluggish Stingers Basketball Key to Pre-season Loss

By Amanda Laprade

Concordia’s men’s basketball team suffered a tough 87-69 home game loss Sunday afternoon, as the visiting NCAA division University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos came to town.

The Gauchos were the second NCAA team to play the Stingers this pre-season, after losing a tight game to the Niagara Purple Eagles in late August.

Stingers’ head coach John Dore said the lack of enthusiasm and emotion at the start of the game was a key factor. “We got a little bit in the second half, but too little too late,” Dore said.

The Stingers and Gauchos started the game evenly, though both looked like they were lacking some energy. With a 22-15 lead for the Gauchos entering the second quarter, the game seemed to be within reach for the Stingers. However, just a few minutes in, the Stingers began to lose touch. The number of turnovers by the Stingers, coupled with strong paint play and shooting presence by the Gauchos, made the second quarter end very differently than it started, with a score of 45-27 for UCSB.

Overlooking the score, Gauchos head coach praised the Stingers’ style. “I like them, I think they are really physical and I don’t think they shot the ball as well as they normally would,” said head coach Bob Williams.

Even with some nice plays in the third and fourth quarters, the Stingers could not get anything solid going, as the costly turnovers and strong play by the Gauchos proved to be too much to handle.
Playing two games against NCAA teams will only help the Stingers in their upcoming seasons. “We still have a lot of work to do, but this was a great test with two really talented division 1 schools playing us. But we definitely have a lot of work to do,” says fifth-year forward James Clark.

One pre-season loss is not going to ruin the Stingers confidence. “The goals for the team are: win the conference for the second year in a row, and go on to win the national championship,” said guard Kyle Desmarais, who returned to the Stingers after missing the first pre-season game due to an injury suffered at the World University Games in China.

Desmarais played 34 minutes against UCSB, contributing 13 points to the scoreboard, but was not satisfied with his performance when asked how he felt on the court. “I felt pretty sluggish, my ankle is still not 100 per cent,” he said. Desmarais does believe he will be back to full form in a week or two.

The Stingers resume play on Oct. 7, when the Concordia-Nike Tournament kicks off.

This article originally appeared in Volume 32, Issue 03, published September 13, 2011.