Saturday, 23 February 2008

Peter Yannopoulos McGill over UQAM Report

McGILL 81 UQAM 77 from Friday night

With McGill and Uqam tied with 7-7 records respectively, the stakes were very high last night with 2 games left in the regular season. The Redmen came out strong at home and with their switching defenses and half court traps, rattled the Citadins and McGill built a 8pt lead at halftime, 40-32. However the 3rd quarter was a different story. Uqam's intense and physical full court pressure finally started to wear Mcgill down, and the Citadins came back from a 12pt deficit and took a 4pt lead heading into the 4th quarter.

The last 10 mins of the game was a batlle of runs for both teams. Uqam built a 64-57 lead with just under 6 mins to go, on a Sam Johnson(17pts 4 rebs) 3 pointer, but just when it looked that Mcgill was down and out, the Redmen stormed back with 14-2 run of their own, led by Moustafa El Zanaty's(17pts) back to back buckets and Sean Anthony's(25pts 13 rebs) tip in after an El Zanaty missed free throw that made it 71-66 with 3 mins to play. The game stayed close down to the wire, but Mcgill's Anthony was money at the charity stripe, going 12-13 from the free throw line to ice the game and Mcgill held on for a 81-77 win.

The key turning point of the game in my opinion was when there was a little over 4 mins left in the game, Mcgill took a wild a three point attempt with the 24 second shot clock winding down, the shot was an air ball that led to a jump ball call by the official(Pierre Marion). However, the ball never hit the rim, and with the shot clock expired, Mcgill should have been called for a shot clock violation and thus, Uqam would gain automatic posession without having to switch the arrow of the jump ball. The 3 officials did not see this, nor did the Uqam coaching staff. It didn't seem to matter at the time because Uqam gained posession with the jump ball anyways, but what was important to note is that the arrow now was switched over to Mcgill, and in a close game like this one, you know there will be a jump ball call at the end of the game, especially with Quebec officials.

So with 8 secs left in the game and Uqam down 79-77, Mario Joseph(16pts 10rebs 4assists) shooting the 2nd of two free throws, missed and the rebound seemed to be grabbed by Joseph Antagana(11pts 5rebs 3blks), but Mcgill's Anthony fought for it was well, and a critical yet unsurprising jump ball was called. The arrow points to McGill and the Redmen get to inbound the ball, which they did to Anthony, and he hit both FTs to seal the deal for Head Coach Craig Norman's McGill Redmen.

Mcgill showed character after blowing a double digit lead in the 2nd half to come back and beat a red hot Uqam squad. They got huge numbers from All-Stars Anthony and El Zanaty, but also got a tremendous defensive effort from Michael White(9pts 6 rebs), who held Uqam's All Star Kevin Boucher to 4pts and 3rebs on only 1-7 shooting from the field.

Both coaching staff's seemed drained outside the locker room's after the game, just finishing a truly tough and physically demanding match. Mcgill has now put themselves in a position to beat Concordia at home Sunday, and clinch 2nd place in a very tough QSSF and host a playoff game, something that hasn't happened in years at McGill. Uqam is now forced to go back home and get ready for the Laval Rouge et Or in less than 24 hrs. Coach Olga Hrycak must get them to rebound quickly, and be ready to compete from the get go Saturday night.

The QSSF was at its best last nite and the stakes continue to rise heading into the final two games.

Peter Yannopoulos
Yanno Basketball Consulting

No comments: