Leung scores 20 but Redmen hoopsters falter on road against Stingers
MONTREAL -- Sophomore Jenning Leung was on fire with a career-high 20 points but his McGill teammates ran out of steam, as the division-leading Redmen came up on the short end of a 69-61 decision against an inspired Concordia squad in CIS men's basketball at the Loyola campus gym, Saturday.
Mukiya Post, Michael Fosu and Ken Beaulieu paced an inspired Stingers squad with 22, 17 and 11 points, respectively, who were playing high on emotion as head coach John Dore was coaching his last home game. After 26 years behind the Concordia bench, he will be retiring at season's end.
A spent McGill squad sputtered in the first and last quarters. Concordia led 15-7 after the opening stanza, but McGill rallied to win the next two quarters 19-16 and 21-3 to hold a 47-44 lead heading into the final period. The Stingers took over, outscoring McGill 25-14.
The game featured seven lead changes and McGill couldn't hold onto a 49-44 lead with 9:35 remiaining in the final quarter.
"We're a tired group right now and Concordia brought a lot of energy and we couldn't match it down the stretch," admitted McGill head coach David DeAveiro. "We don't usually give up that many points in the final quarter and today we did. Our kids need a couple of days off to regroup, get back on the floor and then get ready for our final game against Laval."
One of few bright spots for the Redmen was Leung, a six-foot, 169-pound guard from the Philippines, who matched a game-high with 34 minutes of court time, shot 6-for-10 from the floor, 2-for-5 from three-point range and drained all six of his foul shots. The 20-year-old psychology major was also credited with four steals and a pair of rebounds.
"Jenning was outstanding, he did a lot of good things today and he's getting better each game out," said DeAveiro, whose roster is composed of five freshmen, six sophomores, two juniors and three seniors. "We're going to have to work with our young guys because we're going to need them down the stretch. When you look down the bench and see young face after young face, out young guys are gonna have to start growing up real quick because were getting close to playoffs."
Among the other leading scorers for the Redmen was Michael Peterkin (13 points), Francois Bourque (8 pts, 8 rbs), Jeremie Casavant-Dubois (5), Regis Ivaniukas (4), Rodrigo Imperador (4) and team captain Vincent Dufort, who was held to just three points but pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with six assists and a steal.
McGill, which had a 16-13 advantage in turnovers and a 9-8 margin in steals, shot 35.8 from the floor (24/67), sunk only five of 24 treys and went 8-for-10 from the line. The Stingers, who had a 35-32 edge in rebounds, shot 42.6 from the field, 33.3 from beyond the arc and made 10 of 16 freebies.
Despite the setback, the Redmen (10-5) have all but clinched the regular season pennant for the third straight year. They lead second-place Laval (9-6) by one game and will close out the league schedule when they host the Rouge et Or on Feb. 27 at Love Competition Hall (8 pm). McGill has taken two of three meetings with their provincial rivals and hold a 33-point advantage in point-differential from head-to-head meetings. So Laval would have to defeat McGill by at least 33 points to overtake them atop the division. The RSEQ Final Four championship follows the next week in Lennoxville, Que.