With a 59-48 victory over the relentless Laval Rouge et Or in the RSEQ men’s basketball semifinals at the Pierre Charbonneau Centre Friday night, the McGill Redmen have advanced to the conference championship for the fifth straight year.


The win didn’t come easy as Laval played McGill tight through the first three quarters. It was 23-23 at halftime and tied at 37 after three quarters. But the Redmen took charge in the final frame. McGill kept Laval off the scoreboard for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter and came up with a few big shots.


“When McGill made a couple of baskets going ahead four or five points, we kind of panicked,” said Rouge et Or head coach Jacques Paiement Jr. “We weren’t able to respond.


“Everyone did the best they could to help the team, but we were not satisfied with the result. There are things we have to work on and fix.”


McGill went into the semifinals as the No. 1 seed having rolled to a 13-3 win-loss record in the regular season. Laval finished in fourth place with a 6-10 record.


Redmen head coach Dave Deaveiro was happy to have survived a scrappy Rouge et Or team.


“It was a really tough game today,” he said a few minutes after it ended. “Laval is a really tough team.”


The momentum swung in McGill’s favour down the stretch, and the head coach thought the whole team contributed to it.


 “The difference in the fourth quarter was our defensive play,” he said, “and the ability to make some big shots. Dele (Ogundokun) played the full 40 minutes and he made some big shots for us, but it was a team effort.”


Ogundokun, the RSEQ MVP, finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Peterkin was McGill’s top scorer with 16 points.


Alexandre Leclerc was the top performer for the Rouge et Or with 16 points and nine rebounds.


The Redmen are the defending RSEQ champions. They defend their title back at the Pierre Charbonneau Centre on Saturday night. Tipoff is 7 p.m.