The McMaster men’s basketball team was desperate for a win after some close defeats in Ontario University Athletics interlock play, and managed to take a tough 87-82 road victory from the Toronto Varsity Blues on Friday evening (Nov. 30).
The inclement weather saw the Marauders delayed by almost two hours on their trip from Hamilton, resulting in the game tipping off after 9 p.m., for what was supposed to be an 8 p.m. start.
Despite the late start, the Marauders played a solid first quarter and survived 15 points from Toronto’s Alex Hill to take a 23-18 lead.
The second quarter saw the McMaster defense soften up and behind Hill’s shooting and two four-point plays from Toronto guard Arun Kumar, the Blues carried a 45-43 lead into the intermission.
The third quarter saw the Marauders regain the lead behind some tough shooting from Scott Laws, Taylor Black and Aaron Redpath. Heading into the final quarter, McMaster held a 62-61 advantage.
The fourth quarter was full of fireworks and fouls as both teams fought to avoid the loss. Tied at 79-79 with less than two minutes left, Marauder Adam Presutti made a tough runner in the paint to give McMaster the lead.
A pair of free throws from Nate Pelech made it a two possession game, but a long three-point goal from Kumar brought Toronto to within one with just over 20 seconds to go. Two missed foul shots by McMaster gave the Blues the ball with a chance to win the game, but Redpath stole the ball from Hill in what was the last of several key plays down the stretch. Toronto was forced to foul and Redpath knocked down four free throws in the final 20 seconds to close out the win.
Redpath led the Marauders with 21 points, including 11 of 12 from the charity stripe. Taylor Black had a double-double of 19 points and 10 boards, while Scott Laws chipped in with 17 and Adam Presutti scored 11. High for the game was Toronto’s Hill with 33 points, while Kumar scored 27.
McMaster snaps a four-game losing streak with the win and will take their 2-4 record to Ryerson on Saturday night (Dec.1) to face the unbeaten (7-0) Rams. Tip off at the Mattamy Athletic Centre is scheduled for 8 p.m.