MONTREAL -- Four McGill players reached double figures in scoring as the No.8-ranked McGill University men's basketball team came back from a nine-point deficit to lick Laval 72-64 at Love Competition Hall, Saturday.
Combined with the Martlets 71-62 win in the women’s game earlier, it marked the second doubleheader sweep this season over Laval, an institution which had owned McGill for much of the last decade.
Laval led from the opening tip-off until McGill took a 42-41 edge with 3:08 remaining in the third quarter. From then on, it was all McGill, with the Redmen never losing the lead.
“I thought we came out more aggressively (in the second half) especially defensively… controlled the boards much better … and limited their second opportunities,” said McGill head coach David DeAveiro, who has led the team to a 24-14 regular season record in his three seasons at the helm. “We just played with a higher level of intensity in the second half.”
Thibaud Dezutter netted a game-high 20 points and collected seven rebounds in a losing cause for the Rouge et Or, who led 18-13 at the first intermission and 33-27 at the half before McGill mounted their stellar comeback in the third quarter by outscoring their guests 22-12.
Montrealer Adrian Hynes-Guery, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound point-guard,paced the Redmen attack with 17 points, while teammatesSimon Bibeau(14) of St. Bruno, Que.,Rodrigo Imperador(13)of Brazil andAleksandar Mitrovic(12) of Serbia, added offensive support.
Hynes-Guery, a first-year transfer from the NCAA’s American International College, shot 6-for-14 from the floor, including 3-for-9 from three-point range, and went 2-for-2 from the line.
“This was a good game for Adrian,” noted DeAveiro. “He’s realizing that he’s still going to score 17-20 points a game, so he’s got to trust his teammates some more and they’ll get him open shots instead of him having to work by himself to get a shot. His teammates can help him get shots and today you saw a good example of that.”
Mitrovic, a second-year transfer from the NCAA’s Mount Olive College, grabbed seven balls off the glass, shot 5-for-7 from the field and went 2-for-4 from the line.
“Aleks’s stats may not show it but he did a good job defensively,” offered DeAveiro. “He set the tone… played a lot of minutes and left it all on the floor tonight. “
McGill culled 31 points from their bench, compared to Laval, which had only 16 from their reserve troops. Point-guard Simon Bibeau, who is slowly being worked into the lineup after missing all of last season recovering knee injury, led the Redmen bench corps with 14 points in 23 minutes, including a 6-for-6 performance from the free-throw line.
“Simon played probably his best game overall,” DeAveiro said. “When Simon plays like that, we have a chance to win,” offered the coach. “He’s a key guy for us and it’s good to see him successful.”
Starting forward Vincent Dufort was held to just three points but grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and led all players with 35 minutes of court time.
McGill held a 35-32 edge in rebounds, a 7-3 advantage in steals, a 4-2 difference in blocked shots and won the turnover battle with 11, compared to a dozen by Laval. The Redmen only shot 39.4 per cent from the field and 17.9 from the arc but connected on 83.3 from the foul-line, making 15 of 18. Laval replied on 32.8, 25.0 and 84.2, respectively.
McGill, which improved to 12-4 against CIS opponents and 4-2 in the RSEQ standings, now sits tied with Concordia (4-3) for second place. The Redmen will play a mid-week game at division-leading Bishop’s (5-1) on Jan. 16 before hosting cellar-dwelling UQAM (2-5) in a rare Saturday afternoon 4 p.m. start on Jan. 19.
MONTREAL – Rookie Mariam Sylla registered an impressive “double-double as McGill rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Laval 71-62 before 201 at Love Competition Hall, Saturday afternoon.
The 6-foot-1 forward from Guinea registered game-highs in both points (29) and rebounds (11). She connected on 9-of-19 field-goal attempts, made 11 of 13 free-throws and was credited with a pair of blocked shots.
“These are the kind of games that we would expect from Mariam,” said Ryan Thorne, head coach of the Martlets. “She’s been in a bit of slump but she played amazing (today). She started out like this at the beginning of the (exhibition season) but when the actual regular season started (in November), she was playing against more people that know her (style), so she had to do different things. She’s been adjusting and you can see the progress and development in her game right now.”
Marie-Pascale Nadeau of Levis, Que., scored 20 points and teammate Elyse Jobin of Moncton added 16 in a losing cause for Laval, which has now lost five straight meetings with the Martlets, dating back to a 74-68 Rouge et Or decision on Nov. 12, 2011.
McGill had a 36-22 edge in rebounding, including a lopsided 20-3 advantage in their defensive zone.
“We send specific people to the glass and sometimes, based on how our set plays run, those people will be on the perimeter and just not crash (the boards) so we didn’t have the right numbers there (earlier in the year),” explained Thorne. “We spent some time on that over the (month-long holiday) break and it was something that we looked at and focused on. We can see the fruits of our labour over the last two games now.”
The Martlets led 18-12 after the first quarter and appeared to be in control with a 35-31 advantage at the half but the Rouge et Or offence ignited in the third quarter, outscoring McGill 17-9. With just over nine minutes remaining in the contest, Laval took a 50-44 lead before McGill mounted their comeback to outscore Laval 27-14 in the final stanza.
“We got down in the third quarter just by miscommunication,” Thorne explained. “They changed up some things, put four guards out there and it kind of messed us up on the perimeter. So we had to adjust and… in the fourth quarter I think (we) were more focused and if we didn’t have someone (open) in transition, (we) looked for someone inside. Either Mariam or Anneth (Anneth Him-Lazarenko) were going to have an advantage by the way they were playing.”
Team captain Francoise Charest, a 5-foot-6 point-guard from Quebec City, was the only other McGill player in double figures. The industrial relations senior tallied 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting, including a 3-for-7 effort from three-point range. She went 2-for-4 from the line, grabbed five rebounds and had one steal.
Rounding out the scoring for the Martlets was Him-Lazarenko with nine, Marie-Pier Bastrash (7), Helene Bibeau (5), Dianna Ros (4) and Gabriela Hebert (2).
“We’ve got some pretty good leadership in our point-guard (Charest) and fifth-year player (Him-Lazarenko). Those are players who understand what I’m looking for... They just settled it down. Even though overall we’re young, but at key spots, which is our point-guard and our five (forward), there’s some maturity there which allows us to settle and be confident in what we can do.”
The Martlets shot 34.3 per cent from the floor, 31.3 from the arc and 75.0 from the line, compared to Laval, which replied on 42.0, 28.6 and 94.1 (16/17), respectively.
McGill improved to 4-2 and sits third in the RSEQ conference, two points behind division-leading Concordia (5-2) and UQAM (5-2). The Martlets will travel to Bishop’s (0-6) on Jan. 16 before returning home to host UQAM on Jan. 19. The fourth-place Rouge et Or Laval dropped to 3-5 and will play at UQAM on Jan. 16.