Andrew Mavety scored a season-best 23 points Saturday night, leading the Queen’s Golden Gaels to an 81-73 Ontario University Athletics men’s basketball victory over the Toronto Blues in the Athletics and Recreation Centre.
Mavety, who led the nation this year with a .516 shooting percentage from beyond the three-point line, hit five of his six attempts Saturday, part of an 8-for-13 performance from the field.
Before the game, Mavety had been recognized along with fellow seniors Mark Paclibar and Ryall Stroud.
“I'm happy for him,” Gaels coach Steph Barrie said, in a release. “He’s worked really hard and come back from so many injuries. He's had a tough career with a lot of bad luck in it, so for him, on his senior night, to have that game is well deserved.”
Queen’s trailed 41-34 at halftime, but the Gaels trimmed five points off that deficit going into the fourth quarter, a period where they would score 29 points to end a three-game losing streak.
Queen’s took the lead at 58-56 when Sukhpreet Singh completed a three-point play early in the final period, and took it for good when Mavety hit a three not long after that. A 15-5 run, with Mavety scoring six of those points, gave the home team a comfortable lead to take to the end of the game.
Singh and Tanner Graham each scored 15 points for the Gaels, while Graham had a game-best 12 rebounds.
The victory kept alive the Gaels’ hope of hosting a first-round playoff game, a fate they do not yet know. Their 11-8 record was good for second place in the East division, and their numbers will go into the league’s RPI formula to determine the post-season seeding.
“We had a home playoff spot on the line, so our focus was on our urgency,” Barrie said. “I thought we came out with some nervous energy and missed a lot of easy shots early, so we had to settle a bit.
“In the second half we got into rhythm and, most importantly, the difference between last night and tonight was once we got the lead we closed it out and did the things we have to do to put teams away.”
The Gaels were good on 47.6 per cent of their shots from the field, a much better performance than Friday night (33.8 per cent) in a last-second loss to division-leading Ryerson, when a basket by Adika Peter-McNeilly with 1.2 seconds left in the game gave the No. 3-ranked Rams a 70-68 victory.
Following a 6-0 run that reversed a five-point Queen’s lead into a one-point Ryerson advantage with 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter, a terrific drive to the basket for a layup by Singh with 5.9 seconds remaining gave Queen’s a 68-67 lead. Coming out of a timeout, however, Ryerson was able to find Peter-McNeilly for his game-winning three.
Graham put up a quick shot from the deep right corner on Queen’s final in-bound play, but his shot hit the rim and bounced away.
Ryerson led 37-34 at halftime and 52-51 going into the fourth quarter, a period where there were seven lead changes and three ties. In all, the lead changed hands 18 times in the game, and on a dozen other occasions the score was tied.
It was a fine defensive performance by the Gaels. Ryerson never led by more than eight points, early in the first quarter, and the Rams were held more than 20 points below their season per-game scoring average.
Singh led Queen’s with 23 points, while Graham scored 14. Mike Shoveller had a team-best 11 rebounds.
Ammanuel Diressa scored 14 points to lead a Ryerson attack that had four players in double figures. Roshane Roberts came off the bench to score 12 points for the Rams, who got a game-high 14 rebounds from Aaron Best.