Stingers Defeat Redbirds 58-57 in Defensive Showcase
Men’s Basketball Team Remains Undefeated
Despite injuries and fatigue, the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team came out on top against the McGill Redbirds in a down-to-the-wire affair on Nov. 12.
This game did not disappoint for the Stingers, who were looking forward to this matchup against their archrivals.
“It’s no secret that they don’t really like us and we don’t really like them. For sure we had this one circled on our calendars,” said Stingers guard Sami Jahan, who led the way offensively with 21 points.
With seconds left to play, McGill guard Samuel Chaput missed a three-point shot, giving the Stingers a thrilling one-point win.
Despite the win, Stingers Head Coach Rastko Popovic felt the impact of missing several key players to injury.
“Down the stretch, I think we got tired a little bit because our bench was short because of the guys that are hurt,” Popovic explained. Forward Steve Mbida Abomo, and guards Owen Sootjens and Olivier Koumassou-Bernier are three key starters who did not play due to injuries.
The Stingers only managed 11 points in the final frame due to fatigue. Sami Jahan played 38 minutes and guard Alec Phaneuf played a full 40 minutes. Nevertheless, Coach Popovic said that he believes testing his best players with heavy minutes was beneficial.
“Fatigue definitely contributed [to our play] on both ends down the stretch. But[…]in a playoff game, you might have to go 40 minutes, so this is good practice,” Popovic added.
As with their home opener on Nov. 10, The Stingers once again played in front of a sold out crowd.
“These two games have been great crowds for us. Sold out, really loud, and we really fed off of it,” Jahan explained. “You hit a shot and you hear the crowd […] it really helps you.”
Both teams played solid defense throughout the entire game. The game was tied 25-25 with mere seconds to play in the second quarter. Stingers’ guard Jean-Paul Gerges hit a three-point shot with no time left to bring the sold out crowd to their feet and give the Stingers a three-point lead into the third quarter.
Jahan said the buzzer beater re-energized his team.
“It’s nice to have a high note going into the locker room,” Jahan added. “It was just one shot, but it really elevated us for the second half.” Following the buzzer beater, Jahan scored 14 of his 21 points in the third quarter, including eight straight.
The Stingers began to pull away in the third quarter, leading by as much as 10 points. The Redbirds cut the deficit to six points however, and the Stingers led 47-41 heading into the fourth.
The game got even tighter in the fourth quarter. The Redbirds took a 55-54 lead with four minutes to play. But the Stingers took the lead back 58-57 with less than 30 seconds to go, which led to the miss by Chaput to give the Stingers the victory.
With this win, the Stingers improved to 3-0 on the season, currently sitting atop the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec standings. They will now have a full week of rest and preparation until their next game on the road against the Laval Rouge et Or at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.