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Hoops battle for top spot ends in draw

by Archives January 27, 2009

Concordia’s men’s basketball team faced off against the Citadins of UQAM this past weekend. The match-up was important for both clubs, as they were tied for top spot in the conference heading into the doubleheader.
The Stingers emerged victorious on their home court in the first game, beating their opponents 76-59. After coming out flat at home last week against McGill, the loss served to remind the team that no matter how high you’re ranked, you still have to show up if you want to win games.
Damian Buckley led his squad in scoring with 23 points along with seven rebounds, four assists and an impressive eight steals. Buckley was hot all weekend long, using his speed and handling to weave through the UQAM defence seemingly at will. Dwayne Buckley and Evens Laroche added 13 points each.
Concordia emerged from the first quarter up by seven and looked to have the UQAM defence figured out. They outscored the Citadins in all four quarters, and their No. 1 ranked defence closed the door on the back end.
The Citadins out-rebounded the Stingers and won the turnover battle, but failed to capitalize in the loss. Ail El Makssoud was the top scorer for his team netting 20 points. Neil Ze Mbo had seven points, 10 rebounds and Eric Cote-Kougnima added nine points. UQAM shot a weak 36.2 per cent from the floor.
UQAM pulled within six points half way through the fourth when Dwayne Buckley lit up. After a timely steal he took over the game, scoring, rebounding, and creating opportunities for his team-mates, whether it was Levi Vann open in the corner or Laroche flying through the air for an alley-oop.
“I’d been struggling lately,” said Buckley, “I was shooting terribly last weekend, but when you’re not scoring you have to find other ways to help out. There are lots of things you can do on the court that don’t show up on the box score.”
Stingers coach John Dore felt the team’s defence was crucial to the win. “We did a very good job defensively, we contested almost every shot and stopped their penetration.”
“They’re a tough opponent,” said coach Dore, “but we’re a good team.”
Concordia was unable to extend their brief two game win streak in Saturday’s rematch. The game was tight the whole way through, with multiple lead changes, but in the end it was the Citadins who came away victorious, winning 68-61
El Maksoud and Gregory Saint-Armand had 17 points each, Steve Jerome and Arthaud Plesius had 10 and nine points respectively. The Citadins won the battle of the boards 39-24 – it’s hard to win a game when your opponents take that many more boards than you.
Damian Buckley led all scorers once again with 22 points. If he stays on pace, he could break the 1,000 point mark in the next game or two.
Rookie Laroche was a contributor as well, scoring 12 and grabbing seven rebounds. The long, lean forward will be a major factor for the Stingers going forward.
In coach Dore’s words, “he’s a terrific player who’s going to get better as he develops over time, because of his height and athleticism he can guard anyone on the floor.” After being a road warrior last weekend, big man Jamal Gallier struggled at the UQAM Complexe Sportif, shooting only one of six from the floor in 25 minutes.
“They feed off their home court,” said the Stinger’s bench boss, “this back-to-back stuff is tough, we were joking that we should just play eight straight quarters and call it a night.”
The Stingers have next weekend off, then head to Quebec City to face the Rouge et Or.

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