MONTREAL — Francois Bourque of Terrebonne, Que., collected a “double-double” but it was insufficient as the McGill men’s basketball team dropped a 76-71 result to the visiting Fordham University Rams, in a cross-border confrontation at Love Competition Hall, Thursday.
McGill had a shot to force overtime trailing 74-71 with three seconds to go but Thomas Lacy‘s attempted three-pointer thundered off the front of the rim and Fordham’s Christian Sengfelder grabbed the rebound. Lacy, a junior from Jericho, Vt., and the team’s top threat from downtown, was 3-for-8 from beyond the arc and finished with seven points.
Nermanja Zarkovic, a freshman guard from Montreal, led the Rams with 16 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 effort from three-point land, and Sengfelder, a rookie import from Germany, added a double-double of his own with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Fordham, an NCAA Div. 1 team from Brooklyn, N.Y., rallied from a 23-13 deficit heading into the second quarter. McGill led 36-35 after three stanzas but the Rams regained the lead just nine seconds into the final quarter — on a trey by sophomore Jon Severe of Brooklyn — and never looked back. Severe, one of four Rams to reach double figures in scoring, finished with 13 points. Teammate Ryan Rhoomes contributed 10.
Bourque, a 6-foot-5 economics sophomore, tallied 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Redmen, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor and 4-for-7 from the free-throw line.
“Frank got off to a really good start and competed like he normally does,” said David DeAveiro, in his fifth season as head coach at McGill. “In all fairness to him, he was competing against guys who were 30-40 pounds heavier than he is. He doesn’t back down from anyone and that’s the kind of character he has.”
Both teams battled hard in a balanced contest that featured 103 rebounds, including 57 by the Rams. The turnover count was even (15-15) as were the steals (8-8) and blocks (3-3).
“I’m pleased overall, it’s still August, and we played pretty well but we gotta learn how to win close games,” said DeAveiro. “Both teams played pretty good defence tonight. The difference was the second opportunities that they got with put-backs and fouls. We had to grind out our points while they got some easy ones.
“We missed a lot of wide-open shots today,” added DeAveiro, trying to explain McGill’s disappointing 33.3 per cent success rate from the field (23/69). “If you’re a shooter, your job is to make shots.”
The Redmen connected on 10-of 29 threes (34.5%) and 15 of 20 from the charity stripe (75.0). The Rams shot 35.0 per cent (28/80), made 7 of 19 from the arc and went 13 for 24 from the line.
Three other Redmen also hit double figures in scoring, with point-guard Ave Bross tallying a dozen, followed by Vincent Dufort and Michael Peterkin, with 11 apiece. Dufort, who has led the team in scoring three times in four outings, added seven rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and three steals.
“The starting five got off to a real good start,” noted DeAveiro, who wasn’t happy with their efforts in the previous game. “But we didn’t have the bench today. They didn’t quite have the energy that was needed. We’re playing a lot of young guys, who have only been here for two weeks. So they don’t know how to run our systems completely. We’re throwing in a lot of kids into the lineup and today they didn’t have it.”
Fordham improved to 3-0 in their cross-border trip, opening with a 70-48 victory at Concordia on Aug. 25, followed by an 80-72 win at Laval on Aug. 26. They close out their seven-day excursion against the Brookwood Elite, a local high-profile club team, on Aug. 29.
McGill, which dropped to 0-4 in preseason play against NCAA teams, will get a month-long break to settle into school, do some dryland training and team-bonding. They resume play at the Queen’s Invitational tournament in Kingston, Ont., Oct. 3-5, before resuming their home schedule with the Redbird Classic tourney, Oct. 17-19.
REDMEN RAP: Sophomore starter Dele Ogundokun, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard, has yet to suit up after off-season surgery and is not expected back until mid-to-late October… Veteran Christian McCue, a third-year guard who missed all of last season with injuries, is still recovering from surgery and only saw 12 minutes of court-time.
McGill Sports Info Office