Mustangs gallop away with Mac’s playoff hopes

The McMaster men’s basketball team was defeated by the visiting Western Mustangs, 78-67, in the first round of Ontario University Athletics conference playoffs Wednesday night (Feb. 23) at the Burridge Gymnasium.

The loss eliminated McMaster from further post-season play.

Early in the first quarter, the Mustangs would go on a quick 6-0 run before Matthew Wilusz (Hamilton) would score McMaster’s first points with free throws. Later in the opening quarter the Mustangs would go up 23-12 and would end the first period up by 10.

In the second, both teams would go a full two minutes without scoring before Scott Laws (Gormley) would drive and draw a foul to make two shots at the line to lessen the McMaster deficit to six. By the half, McMaster found themselves down by five, 36-31.

Early in the third, the Mustangs would go on a huge scoring run opening up the score, 50-33. The 17-point gap eventually got to 21 before the Marauders began to claw their way back into the game. McMaster would go on a 12-0 run in the dying minutes of the quarter thanks to efforts from Laws and Jordan Tew (Greensville).

The Marauders opened up the final quarter down by 11 and Cam Michaud (Grimsby) would quickly score a three and a jumper cutting Western’s lead to 58-52. Mid-way through the final frame the Mustangs would continue to respond to McMaster runs and despite the Marauders cutting the lead to just three points, 66-63, Western was able to respond.

Ryan Barbeau’s (Belleville) three-pointer would put the Mustangs back up by seven. The Marauders were unable to swing the momentum back in their favour and coupled with fouls and Western capitalizing on free throws, the Marauders fate was sealed.

Michaud scored 16 points in the loss and Big MAC Player of the Game, Kenan Etale (Dundas), scored 15 for the Marauders and added eight rebounds and seven assists. Laws also reached double digits with 11 points.

Western’s Barbeau had a game-high 22 points and fifth-year veteran Andrew Wedemire (Sarnia) scored 21 of his own, grabbing seven rebounds in the process.