Stingers win RSEQ title in men’s basketball

This was the Stingers’s first title since 2012. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Concordia beats UQAM Citadins 73-69 at home

The Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team won the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) title Saturday night at the Concordia Gym. They beat the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins in the final, 73-69.

“Being a champion is the best feeling in the world,” said Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic. “I’m so proud of our guys.”

Guard Ricardo Monge accepts the trophy from a RSEQ representative. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Stingers finished first in the RSEQ during the regular season with an 11-5 record, and earned the right to host the game. They beat the Bishop’s Gaiters last Wednesday in the semi-final, while UQAM beat McGill in the other semi-final.

The Stingers opened the game strong, getting the home crowd behind them. They had a 13-11 advantage after the first quarter, and dominated the second to hold a 27-21 lead at halftime. They started the third quarter strong, but the Citadins battled back and kept the score close.

The Stingers celebrate with their trophy. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

A Citadins bucket cut the Stingers’s lead to two points in the final minute of the third quarter. Then, fifth-year guard Ricardo Monge hit a three-point shot to give Concordia a 48-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“That shot was big and it gave us confidence,” Popovic said. “They hung around, but then we made some monster plays down the stretch. Sam [Ghandour] had a huge three with two seconds left on the shot clock, Olivier [Simon] had a big tip-in with a backwards shot, I don’t know how that went in.”

“When I play, I just think about the play and just make reads, I couldn’t tell you what was going through my mind,” Monge said. “There’s nothing too special where I think ‘I need to make threes now.’”

Every time the Citadins cut the Stingers’ lead, Concordia scored timely baskets in the fourth quarter. Even though Simon’s behind-the-back shot looked like a lucky bounce, guard Adrian Armstrong said it shows how hard the team has worked through the years.

“He caught the ball, saw the shot clock and he knew he had to get it to the rim,” Armstrong said. “In his rookie year, I don’t know if he would have made that play.”

Simon finished the game with a double-double, collecting 18 points and 10 rebounds. Monge led the Stingers with 19 points, while Sami Ghandour had 17. The Stingers will now play at nationals in Halifax from March 7 to 10.

Women lose final

The Stingers women’s basketball team were also playing in the RSEQ final Saturday night. They lost to the Université de Laval Rouge et Or 75-55 in Quebec City.

More to come.  Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.

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