LENNOXVILLE, Que. — Jenning Leung, a sophomore from the Philippines, scored a dozen points, including a game-winning three-pointer with 4.3 seconds remaining as visiting McGill rallied to topple Bishop’s University 62-59 in a men’s hoops thriller before a raucous crowd of 532 at the BU gymnasium, Saturday.
The victory improved McGill’s record to 4-2 and moved the Redmen into a share of first place with Laval (4-2) in the topsy-turvy RSEQ conference. Bishop’s, which had trailed the entire second half until going ahead 56-55 and 59-57 inside the last two minutes, dropped to third place with a 3-3 record.
Leung, a 19-year-old psychology major who started but saw only 20 minutes of court-time, also hit a clutch lay-up to tie the game at 59-59 with 47 seconds left. He shot 5-for-8 from the field, making three of his baskets in the final minute. The 6-foot, 169-pound shooting guard waited until the dying seconds to make his only attempted trey for the victory. He went 1-for-4 from the line and was credited with one steal and a blocked shot.
“He’s gaining more and more confidence in his game and his abilities,” said David DeAveiro, head coach of the Redmen who revealed that there was no designed play to give Leung the ball for the winning basket.
“Down the stretch there, we just kind of let the guys play, let them figure out what they had to do to on the floor to make plays. And today, Jenning made a big play and we were patient, didn’t take a bad shot. Eventually he had a good look, late in the shot clock and he took it. We talked about someone having to make a big shot for us to win and he made the big shot.”
Dele Ogundokun added a McGill-high 15 points, going 6-for-7 from the line, and grabbing six rebounds.Teammates Vincent Dufort and Francois Bourque added eight points apiece, with Dufort pulling down a game-high dozen rebounds.
The game featured six tied scores and seven lead changes, four of them by the Redmen, who led 18-14 after the opening quarter and 29-21 at the half but the Gaiters narrowed that gap to 43-40 after three and then it was collar-tightening time in the final stanza, where each team put up 19 points.
Kyle Desmarais led Bishop’s with a game-high 20 points, while teammate Jona Bermillo added 14.
The Gaiters had a favouable 16-14 advantage in turnovers but McGill made BU pay more, parlaying that into a 15-6 advantage in points off miscues. McGill held a slight edge in rebounds (42-40) and steals (6-5). Both teams had three blocked shots.
The Redmen shot 34.4 per cent from the floor (21/61), made just four of 22 threes (34.4%) and drained 16 of 22 freebies. Bishop’s connected on 36.1 (22/61), sunk six of 26 from beyond the arc and made only nine of 14 from the charity stripe.
McGill has now claimed two of three meetings against Bishop’s and holds a nine-point differential in the all-important head-to-head tie-breaker, should it be needed, with one more confrontation before playoffs. The bitter rivals have one scheduled final date together on Valentine’s Day in Lennoxville.
Bishop’s (3-3) will host cellar-dwelling Concordia (1-3) on Jan. 15.
The Redmen will now get an opportunity to overtake Laval in the standings with a home-and-home schedule against the Rouge et Or next weekend. The teams will confront each other in Quebec City on Thursday, Jan. 15. Tip-off is slated for 8.p.m and the game is also scheduled to be streamed online.Two days later, the teams will meet again in Montreal on Jan. 17 at Love Competition Hall. Laval took the only confrontation this season, winning 73-69 in overtime at Quebec City on Nov. 28.
GAME NOTES: The contest was originally expected to be played at the Mitchell gym, which is undergoing extensive refurbishing as BU will be hosting the RSEQ conference’s Final Four championship, March 6-7, but the renovations have not yet been completed, so the game was moved next door, to the brand-new BU Gym which now serves as a practice facility for the Gaiters.
UPDATED RSEQ STANDINGS:
McGill Sports Info Office