The Concordia Stingers men's basketball team earned the right to host the Quebec university championship by topping the Bishop's Gaiters 79-71 in semifinal action before a capacity crowd at Concordia Gym on Wednesday night.
The first-place Stingers were heavily favoured heading into the game versus the fourth-place Gaiters, but the visitors proved to be formidable opponents. Concordia had a comfortable 41-32 lead at halftime, but Bishop’s battled back cutting the lead to 53-50 after three quarters and then briefly going up by a few points early in the final frame.
“We played so many close games in the regular season this year that we were prepared for a close, hard-fought game,” said Stinger head coach Rastko Popovic.
“I thought we had players that really stepped up. Adrian Armstrong got us off to a good start. And even when we struggled to score in the third quarter Sami Ghandour and Ogo Nwoko stepped up and made some great plays.”
Ghandour had 23 points to lead all scorers in the game, and Armstrong wrapped up the night with 22 points, including six three-pointers.
Now the Stingers (11-5) turn their attention to the UQAM Citadins (8-8) who they will meet in the RSEQ championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Concordia Gym. The third-place Citadins derailed the second-place McGill Redmen 79-69 in the other semifinal game.
Concordia won two of four regular season meetings between the schools. Both teams prevailed in their own gyms, but lost on the road.
“We have two completely different styles of play,” said Popovic. “Controlling the ball and defensive rebounding will be the two key factors for us.”
The last time the teams met in the post-season was in the 2017 RSEQ semifinals. The Citadins won 81-71. The last time the Stingers won a conference championship was in 2012 when they defeated UQAM 77-47 on home court.
The winner of the game will earn a berth at the U SPORTS national championship in Halifax March 8-10.
Saturday, March 2 - 7 p.m - UQAM at Concordia
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The $1 a slice pizza promotion continues at the basketball championship.