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Dan Bannister (Queen’s): 25 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals
Ben Garvin (Toronto): 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
TORONTO, ON – The Queen’s Gaels won their third game of the season, on Saturday night, over the host Toronto Varsity Blues by the final score of 80-66.
This loss, which drops the Blues to 9-5 and also a likely ouster from the NPH top 10 national rankings, comes as a surprise considering their 117-44 win over Royal Military College (RMC) just Friday night. Not only that, but the Gaels were coming off a crushing defeat of their own, an 89-50 decision at the hands of the Ryerson Rams.
Perhaps the biggest winners of such a surprising outcome are the teams trailing the Varsity Blues in the OUA East division, the York Lions (7-8), the Ottawa Gee-Gees (6-8) and the Rams (6-8).
This game was definitely a letdown for the Toronto squad, especially since they had told NPH they wouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating the Gaels.
Alex Hill, freshman at UofT after having spent a year at Cornell, had said that, “They shoot and hit a lot of threes. They play hard so we’re going to have to come out and match their intensity.”
Unfortunately for the Blues, this statement had not come to fruition.
Toronto Raptors’ Sonny Weems had tweeted (follow him @Sonny13) during Saturday’s afternoon that he would attend the game and, surely, he walked in with two friends a little after tip-off. This was Weems’ first time attending a CIS basketball game and this contest probably did not turn him into an avid fan as he left during halftime.
Indeed, during the first half Queen’s was unconvincing at both ends of the floor however, the Blues players were just as bad. Turnovers, missed shots, mental lapses were plenty during the first two quarters, with the result being that the Gaels enjoyed a narrow 29-27 halftime lead.
The third quarter proved to be the difference as the Gaels found their shooting touch and unleashed a flurry of 3-point shots with 6 of them coming in the final four minutes of the quarter. The team would finish with 10 makes in 19 tries from deep.
The main culprit was fourth-year guard Dan Bannister, who bounced back from a tough night during the loss at Ryerson, with an efficient 25 points (5 made 3-point shots in 6 attempts) to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
After 30 minutes of play, the score was 63-45 for Queen’s and the outcome of the game left little doubt. In that sense, the fourth quarter lacked any suspense as the Gaels did just enough to keep the Blues at bay.
For the Varsity Blues, Andrew Wasik (10), Anthony DeGiorgio (12), Ben Garvin (12) and Hill scored in double figures. Help, however, was hard to come by as only three other players were on the board
Meanwhile, Bannister led the way for Queen’s but Matthew Baker (13), Chris Barrett and Nikola Misljencevic (10) joined him in double figures. There was no doubt that Bannister proved to be the key for the Gaels’ win.
The night earlier, Ryerson Rams forward Jelane Pryce had explained to NPH that Queen’s was a tough opponent despite their poor record, that “came close (to) beating some really good teams.”
A night later, the Gaels broke through.