The Concordia men’s basketball team returned from the winter break with a dominant performance against the McGill Redmen on Thursday night. The Stingers lost to the Redmen once this season and were looking to get even by winning on the road.
The game started off with both sides exchanging baskets early. Concordia started to turn up the pace and slowly took over the game with their high-tempo performance. McGill managed to stay within a couple of points. Stingers guard Kyle Desmarais’ buzzer-beating three-pointer from half court was the difference at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Concordia kept up the pace and found success on both sides of the court. Concordia’s man-to-man defence was effective against McGill’s offence. The Stingers were dominant on the boards as well. They finished the game with 46 rebounds, almost twice as many as McGill.
The visiting Stingers team started to pull ahead halfway through the quarter. Seven straight points in one minute and a half put the maroon and gold ahead. McGill narrowed the score line, but Concordia’s high-powering offence allowed them to take a 38-31 lead into the halftime break.
The Stingers exploded in the third quarter, managing to score 27 points. When the score was 41-35 in their favour, Concordia went on a 10-0 run giving them a 16 point lead. They led by as much as 19 points in the quarter. By the end of the frame Con U had a comfortable 18 point lead.
It was all but over in the final quarter. The Redmen were unable to string a few baskets together and mount a comeback. McGill and Concordia traded baskets and each added 18 more points to their total. The Stingers won the game with a final score of 83-65.
Concordia’s play on defence was a big factor in the victory. The team finished with numerous blocks and steals, but the difference was on the boards. The Stingers outrebounded McGill 46-28.
“It started with our defence,” said head coach John Dore. “That’s what helped us on offence. We got a few steals, a few blocks and really outrebounded them.”
“For once, we were talking on defence every time,” said Stingers forward Kafil Eyitayo, who had 17 points and eight rebounds. “We were doing the little things right. Of course there were some lapses, but overall I think we came up big.”
In his first game back from injury, Desmarais finished with a game-high 19 points and picked up eight rebounds and three steals in the 29 minutes he played.
“It was the toughest five months of my life,” he said. “The knee feels good. I still got to work on my cardio and rhythm a little bit, but other than that, it feels amazing.”
Two days later the Stingers lost to the UQAM Citadins at home 71-69. A UQAM jump shot with eight seconds left in the game gave the Citadins the win. Stingers guard Jean-Andre Moussignac led the team with 18 points.
Concordia will hit the court again on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4:00 p.m. against the first-place Bishop’s Gaiters. This is a home game at Concordia Gymnasium.