Regis runs rampant, sparks Redmen rally as McGill silences Citadins in college hoops
MONTREAL -- Sophomore Regis Ivaniukas of Oakville, Ont., came off the bench to produce a career-high 17-point, six-rebound performance as McGill rallied from a 14-point deficit to outlast visiting UQAM 60-59 in CIS men's basketball at Love Competition Hall, Thursday.
The victory all but assured McGill of their third straight regular season pennant in the RSEQ conference, as they improved to 10-4 with two games remaining before playoffs. The cellar-dwelling Citadins dropped to 4-10.
The only way that second-place Laval (8-6) can catch McGill for the division title is to hope that the Redmen drop both of their remaining games -- to Concordia and Laval -- while the Rouge et Or defeat Bishop's, then the Redmen by more than 33 points. Heading in the Laval-McGill matchup in the season finale on Feb. 27, the Redmen have won two of three confrontations versus the Rouge et Or, with a favourable point-differential of +33 in head-to-head meetings.
Ivaniukas, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound guard, came on at halftime and played the entire 20 minutes of the second half. He shot 5-for-10 from the field, 3-for-3 from three-point range and 4-for-5 from the line. The 20-year-old economics sophomore also chipped in three assists.
McGill took a tentative 18-17 lead into an ugly second quarter, then self-destructed, scoring only six points to find themselves trailing 32-24 at halftime.
Things didn't look too promising after the break either as UQAM increased their lead to 37-24 before the quarter was two minutes old. The Citadins extended their lead to 45-31 with just three minutes remaining in the third when Ivaniukas and starting point-guard Jenning Leung made back-to-back baskets to spark a comeback.
The lead was cut to 48-42 heading into the final frame, where McGill completed the comeback by taking a 56-55 advantage with 2:59 remaining in the contest.
The cross-town rivals then traded baskets followed by Vincent Dufort hitting two crucial free-throws to give McGill their final points and a 60-59 lead with 50 seconds left. UQAM's Nicolas Audet had two chances to win the game with under 10 seconds remaining but rimmed out on his final rainbow jumper.
"Whenever you are playing a desperate team they are going to give you their best punch," said Redmen head coach David DeAveiro. "We got knocked down in the first half but managed to crawl back and give ourselves a chance to win."
McGill, which leads the nation in rebounding with 47.3 boards per game, were surprisingly out-muscled 44-37 on the glass. "That team is so much better than their record says," added DeAveiro. "We've never been beaten on the glass like this before."
Point-guard Jenning Leung, a six-foot sophomore from the Philippines, also played the entire second half and was the only other Redmen to reach double digits with 13 points. He shot 5-for-12 from the floor, made two of four from downtown and went 1-for-2 from the stripe in addition to a pair of assists, two rebounds and two steals.
Rounding out the scoring for McGill was Michael Peterkin (8 pts), Vincent Dufort (8), Francois Bourque (5), Jawara Pedican (3), Noah Daoust (2), Sebastian Beckett (2) and Abdul Atta (2).
The Redmen struggled from the floor shooting 34.9 per cent (22/63) but made up for it with a 38.9 per cent performance from the arc (7/18) and 81.8 per cent success rate from the line (9/11). UQAM replied on 34.9, 9.1 and 70, respectively.
For UQAM, Alexandre Bernard, the league's leading scorer, continued his dominance scoring 25 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists. Teammates Davidson Joseph, Greishe Clerjuste and Yassin Debache dropped 11, nine and eight points, respectively.
McGill will travel crosstown to battle Concordia (6-8) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in what will be Stingers long-time coach John Dore's final regular-season home game. UQAM (1-0) will get a whole week off before hosting the Stingers on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.