Sunday, 24 February 2008

UQAM upsets Laval to finish third

Game recap courtesy of Alex Tourigny of RDS... UQAM upsets Laval

Laval's Rouge is Or came in the UQAM building riding an outrageous 13 games winning streak, but they didn't have anything to play for since they clinched the QSSF conference a long time ago.

On their part, UQAM blew a chance to clinch 3rd place friday by losing at McGill. Olga Hrykac's squad was now faced with their biggest challenge of the year. They had to beat Laval to tie Mcgill or Concordia for 3rd place in the conference (and therefore, clinching 3rd place since they own the tie-breaker against both team).

The odds weren't in UQAM's favor. Laval clubbered them 96-67 and 99-63 earlier this year. The Citadins played well in their 3rd meeting, losing 78-71 @ UQAM.

UQAM honnered 4 senior players before the game. Samuel Johnson, Kevin Boucher, Mario Joseph and Rubens Josephat were presented with a framed picture in front of a more than sell out crowd of 800 people.

Pumped by the presentation, UQAM played their best game of the year. Sam Johnson showed flashes of his "pre-hernia era"/05-06 season. He was simply unbelievable from the 3 points range, draining his four first 3-pointers attempts. Rookie Jérôme Turcotte Routhier lost (once again) his cool in the first half. After the "Johnson show" Turcotte-Routhier drained a 3 pointers and they started to brag to Johnson (just to show him that he's able to make 3 points shots, like Johnson). Samuel then turned him down and that's when Turcotte decided to use his middle finger do the talking (and some other gestures...). The crowd then decided to get under his skin, booing him loudly each and every single time he touched the ball.

Getting back to the game now. UQAM took an 11 points lead to the break. Sam Johnson finished the half with an impressive 23 points total.

The 2nd half was pretty exciting as Laval finally realized that a loss against UQAM could probably affect their CIS Championship ranking (if they make it this far). UQAM defense stood strong and never let Laval come back within 5 points. The Citadins imposed a rythm that Laval just weren't able to follow. When it was all said and done, the Citadins took the game 93-83, ending Laval winning streak at 13.

4 Citadins ended the game with more than 10 points (Samuel Johnson - 30 pts, Mario Joseph - 17 pts, Kevin Boucher - 16 pts and one of the best CIS "blocker", Joseph Atangana - 12 pts).

On Laval side, Jean-Philippe Morin and Jean-François Beaulieu-Maheux were impressive (as always) as they got 29 points each. Hot headed Jérôme Turcotte-Routhier finished with 6 points.

As some of you may wonder (for the writers' poll). Did UQAM win ou did Laval lose? I have to say that UQAM won the game. Olga Hrykac's squad shot for a 50% (total shots) and an impressive 50% from the 3 points range (8/16).

I have to admit that Laval was playing without one of their best rebounders, Marc-André Côté (8 RPG average) and it showed on the scoring sheet. UQAM outrebounded Laval 38-27.

Laval did look vulnerable though. They weren't able to follow UQAM's pace. The Rouge et Or tried to play UQAM kind of game and failed. You can't beat Laval with size (this team has some "trees") but speed is deadly against them.

With this win, UQAM has now clinched 3rd place and awaits the winner of the McGill / Concordia which is played as I write these lines. The Citadins splited both series (2-2) against McGill and Concordia so it should be an intertaining week-end next week as the QSSF playoffs quick off.

No comments: