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Concordia winless in tour of U.S. schools

by Archives November 9, 2005

At least Chris Blackwood can say he gave the Concordia Stingers a two-point lead against the Duke Blue Devils last Thursday. Granted it was a 2-0 lead that lasted for just one possession, but for 15 seconds Blackwood’s opening lay-up was the difference as the top-ranked team in North America was forced to play catch-up.

Duke would soon take a lead of their own, and then some, en route to a 123-66 win over visiting Concordia, before 9,314 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. But don’t be fooled by the score. The Stingers had reason to be pleased.

“I think we played well at times,” said coach John Dore acknowledging Concordia’s play against a pair of Duke’s all-Americans. “Damian Buckley got in J.J. Redick’s face and held him to one of seven shooting in the first half and Jamal (Gallier) in the second half played Sheldon Williams very well, scoring inside, blocking shots, and rebounding.”

Concordia kept up with Duke early on, trailing 10-8 three minutes into the game. The Blue Devils would then go on a 34-6 run however, putting the game well out of Concordia’s reach.

It was apparent that the Stingers lacked both the size and depth of a Blue Devil team predicted by many to win the U.S. national championship. Duke out rebounded Concordia 59-29, while forcing the Stingers into 30 turnovers, compared to just 14 of their own.

“I thought they played well and made us work for what we got,” said Duke assistant coach Johnny Dawkins. “But we knew size would be factor in the game with us having some inside guys with a lot of height and weight, so we wanted to get them the ball. The advantage wasn’t necessarily from the points they put up, but the attention they commanded.”

Any doubts of a size discrepancy were quickly put to rest when Concordia’s Patrick Perrotte (6’3″, 210) found himself boxing out Williams (6’9″, 250). Despite the mismatch, Perrotte led all Stingers with 17 points. Blackwood and Damian Buckley also reached double digits with 10 points each.

Redick and Lee Melchionni led Duke with 21 points a piece.

While Redick’s 21 points came from a starter, Melchionni’s totals were those of a bench player.

“There was never a break all night,” Johnny said. “Normally when a team’s starters go off, you figure you might catch a break or a drop in the intensity. Not against these guys. They play with the same intensity all 40 minutes regardless of the score. It makes it very difficult to comeback.”

“They have skills and they’re bigger than us, and then on top of that when you consider that they rotate 12 guys, while we go seven-deep, it makes it even harder,” said Gallier. “They’re all fighting for playing time, so they just ran us tired.”

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RHODE ISLAND 90, CONCORDIA 69:

Patrick Perrotte led all scorers with 25 points and played 37 of a possible 40 minutes, as the Stingers opened their U.S. trip with a loss at Rhode Island. The Stingers arrived in Rhode Island the morning of the game after an overnight bus ride from Montreal, and appeared at times as though they were already looking ahead to Duke. The Rams won nearly every statistical category and led by as many as 28 points.

DAVIDSON 93, CONCORDIA 67:

Rastko Popovic made four three-pointers and led all Stingers with 14 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Stingers lost at Davidson. Concordia came out slowly, falling behind 19-4, before a 21-6 run pulled the Stingers within one point. It was as close as Concordia would get, as Davidson’s inside game, combined with fatigue for the Stingers, allowed the Wildcats to pull away in the second half.

“We can’t use fatigue as an excuse,” Popovic said. “If we go to the nationals it’s just like this- three games in three nights.”

GEORGIA 82, CONCORDIA 60:

Playing their third game in as many days, Concordia finished its road trip with its best showing. Patrick Perrotte led the Stingers with 15 points, but it was on the glass where the Stingers were most successful, out rebounding the Bulldogs 45-42. Centre Ben McCarthy put in one of his better efforts of the trip, collecting eight rebounds and five points.

NOTEBOOK:

The second leg of the Stingers road trip goes this week, with games at Connecticut, Virginia and Vermont. Connecticut is ranked second in the U.S., trailing only Duke. Concordia lost to Virginia last year, 88-76 and dropped a 105-66 decision at Vermont.

Dwayne Buckley returned to action last week after missing five games with a sprained ankle. Buckley started in three of four games last week, but averaged just 13 minutes a game as the ankle continues to heal..

Freshman David O’Loughlin sprained an ankle while practicing at Duke last Wednesday. O’Loughlin dressed for games at Duke, Davidson and Georgia, but did not play.

The Stingers regular season opener is next Friday, November 18 against UQAM. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m.

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