In the highly anticipated match up against the Laval Rouge et Or, the Concordia men’s basketball team embarrassed their nemesis 71-50 on their home court, sending a very clear message about the caliber they expect to perform at this year.
The landslide victory in Ste. Foy was premised by a nail-biter in Lennoxville on Friday night when the Stingers faced Bishop’s. Down by four with 31 seconds left in the game, Rastko Popovic bridged the gap to 79-77 with a lay-up through the lane. And then, with 11 seconds on the scoreboard, Phil Langlois nailed a three to boost the Stingers to an 80-79 victory.
Going into Laval, the plan was to control the rhythm of the game; and that’s just what they did. “We played at our tempo, and forced them to play at our tempo. Laval doesn’t like to play defense, so we switched up our offense,” said Head Coach John Dore. “We played a fairly smart game overall.”
Despite the large margin of victory, the first half of the game was actually a close contest, as Laval resembled the team that was such a threat in previous seasons.
Both teams were having problems running their offense, and shots were not dropping. By halftime, the Stingers held a four point advantage over Laval, 32-28, with rookie Dwayne Buckley and Pat Perrotte combining for 21 points.
The game took a fortuitous turn in the opening minutes of the second half. The Rouge et Or seemed to wave the white flag in defeat after Ben Sormonte sunk two consecutive shots from beyond the arch, sparking an 8-0 run.
Another crucial factor in the win was Concordia’s zone defense, which completely shut down Laval’s lethal weapons, Charles Fortier and Marc-Antoine Horth. “We played great defense, and they couldn’t find an answer,” said Sormonte, “they had two or three shooters, so we were playing three against five on the court, so it was tough for them to score.”
Perrotte had the task of covering Horth, the 6-foot-7 forward who has six inches and a good 40 pounds on the Stinger post. But Perrotte still managed to limit him to an impressive five points and three rebounds despite the size differential.
It used to be said that “there’s no ‘D’ in Perrotte,” referring to his defensive ability. So far this season, he has made great efforts in adding that initial to his name. “I don’t see [the opposition] at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds,” revealed the power forward, “but as the same height and weaker than me.”
However rewarding the victory was, the Stingers know that the win over the Rouge et Or does not mean they can afford to sit back and relax. As Coach Dore pointed out, “One game does not a season make.” Concordia ended the first half of their season with a 5-0 league record, their best in four years.
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