Friday, 6 January 2012

"Q" Tonight: Laval 71, McGill 65 in Overtime

6'5" sophomore Hughes Ryan finished a tough leaner in traffic that appeared to knocked in by a McGill defender on the way up which gave Laval the lead for good late in the overtime as Rouge et Or survived a scrappy game at home.  The Redmen led for much of the game including a six point lead with 2 minutes remaining in regulation but woeful free throw shooting and some untimely turnovers in the overtime proved their undoing.  With McGill up 1 and 23 seconds remaining in the fourth, Redmen pg Karim Sy-Morissette made 1-2 free throws setting up an exciting finish to regulation when Laval's 6'1" sg Christian Trottier drove the lane, drew help and then found 6'8" Boris Hadzimuratovic inside with a beautiful behind-the-back feed for an "and 1".  But Hadzimuratovic, a 34% free throw shooter, missed the opportunity for the go ahead freebee with 3 seconds remaining and the game went to OT.

In the extra session, McGill's 6'6" Nic Langley knocked down a 3 to strike first but 5'8" fifth-year guard Xavier Baribeau, quiet for most of night, responded with a 3 of his own.  Later, 6'5" freshman Vincent Dufort, playing with an injured hand, drove the lane and hammered home a thunderous dunk off a hand-off to give McGill their last lead.  After Baribeau tied it going 1-2 from the line, Ryan made his tough leaner, McGill's Alex Mitrovic missed a point blank lay-in and Trottier clinched the game with a running banker.

McGill did a tremendous job locking down Laval in the half court defensively with crisp rotations, protecting the basket for much of the evening however the Redmen were atrocious at the foul line, especially in key spots. Laval struggled with their offense but forced the game with double teams in the back court and constant ball pressure, allowing them to jump passing lanes and stay in the game with turnover and transition scores.  Scrappy, loosely-played but very exciting finish to an important game for both teams which will likely fight it out for second place and a home playoff game in late February.

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