MONTREAL — Francois Bourque of Terrebonne, Que., registered an unusual reverse “double-double” as the division-leading McGill University men’s basketball team survived a last quarter meltdown and hung on for a 71-65 victory over last-place UQAM at Love Competition Hall, Thursday.
Bourque, a 6-foot-5 sophomore forward, finished with more rebounds than points for the second time in three games, scoring a lucky 13 points and pulling down 14 boards. He shot 5-for-13 from the floor, went 3-for-5 from the free-throw line and was credited with a pair of steals. It was the 14th time this season that a player in the RSEQ conference had produced a double-double and Bourque has done it a league-leading four times. He also leads the conference in rebounds with an impressive 9.6 average per game.
The result was the sixth consecutive victory for the Redmen, including an exhibition win over StFX during the holiday break.
It was also McGill’s seventh straight victory over the Citadins since a 59-44 loss at UQAM on Feb. 23, 2013. The Redmen, who led by as much as 18 points late in the third quarter, saw that slowly evaporate as UQAM outscored them 25-15 down the stretch, reducing the deficit to a scary three with 69 seconds remaining in the final frame. McGill, however, maintained their composure and escaped with their fifth straight conference victory, improving to 7-2 on the season.
“Sometimes you got to give the other team credit,” said McGill head coach David DeAveiro, who improved to 301-197 in 498 games overall as a CIS head coach, including a 91-70 mark with the Redmen. “They were a desperate group playing with a lot of energy and I thought they did a great job in terms of coming back and putting pressure on us. We needed to grind one out and just find a way to win and we did.”
McGill had two other players reach double digits. Jeremie Cassavant-Dubois and Noah Daoust, both freshmen, came off the bench to contribute 13 and 10, respectively. Team captain Vincent Dufort, who was hampered by an undisclosed illness, played a season low 22 minutes and was held to just six points on a disappointing 1-for-10 shooting performance.
Three Citadins reached double figures in a losing cause, including league scoring leader Alexandre Bernard who finished slightly below his 19.4 scoring average with 19 points, plus Davidson Joseph (14) and Greishe Clerjuste (13).
McGill shot 36.8 per cent from the field (25/68) and a disappointing 20.8 from three-point range (5/24) but made up for it with an impressive night from the free-throw line where they sank a stellar 16 of 19 attempts. UQAM had an even worse night shooting. They connected on just 28.6 per cent from both the field (18/63) and downtown (4/14). They drained 25 of 32 shots from the charity stripe.
The Redmen held a slight 43-42 margin in rebounds but lost the turnover battle 21-20. Despite this, McGill still managed to outscore UQAM 24-19 in points off turnovers.
The two teams will have anoter crack at each other in the conclusion of this home-and-home series when McGill (7-2) hops across town for a game at UQAM (2-7) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The contest is slated to be webcast live on citadins.tv. It will mark the 50th lifetime meeting between these two teams. McGill holds a 28-21 advantage in the all-time series but are only 11-13 in road games at UQAM.
REDMEN RAP: Two McGill players fouled out in a game for the first time this season and both did it in less than 20 minutes of court time… Dele Ogundokun was assessed five personal fouls in 17 minutes, while Rodrigo Imperador accomplish that in just 13 minutes… The Redmen have now had seven players foul out in nine league games, while their opponents have had none.