With an 81-71 victory the UQAM Citadins have upset the Concordia Stingers for the second straight year in the RSEQ semifinals and advanced Quebec conference men’s basketball championship game.
UQAM will meet the McGill Redmen in the title game on Saturday at 7 p.m. Last year, McGill defeated the Citadins 78-67 to advance to the national championship tournament. The winner of the game tomorrow will go to Halifax next week for the U SPORTS Final 8.
The Stingers finished the regular season in second place with an 11-5 record while the Citadins took third spot with an 8-8 performance.
Concordia took three of the four games between the teams this season. The only black mark was a 68-67 loss on Jan. 7.
So what was the secret formula for the playoff upset?
“We followed our game plan to a T,” said UQAM head coach Nate Philippe. “I think when your back is against the wall, you find out who you really are and if you have what it takes to survive. It was do-or-die and we stepped up to fight for another day.
“This team is really maturing and I’m proud of them.”
The game plan involved taking away Concordia’s transition game and battling hard for rebounds. It was very successful.
“UQAM played harder than us,” said Concordia head coach Rastko Popovic. “They had 20 offensive rebounds. That was the difference. They had 21 second-chance points off that. You can’t win games when you give up rebounds like that and shoot like we shot from the free throw line.”
Three members of the Citadins scored 16 points each: Misi Boye, Ibrahima Silla and Christian Kadima who was the UQAM Player of the Game.
Concordia’s Nicky Noble led all scorers in the game with 17 points. Guard Ricardo Monge, who had 11 points and six assists, was the Stingers’ Player of the Game.