The McMaster men’s basketball team used a strong second quarter to take control of the game and corral the Western Mustangs, 91-59, on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 2) in London.
The Marauders entered play without starting guard Aaron Redpath, who rolled his ankle in the last game against Laurier, but the team still scored the first seven points of the contest before Western got its first basket and built a 22-14 lead after one period of the Ontario University Athletics meeting.
In the second quarter, Mac dominated the play, outscoring Western 21-7 in the period and grabbing a 43-21 lead heading to the halftime break. Marauder Joe Rocca had a sensational half, shooting 7-of-10, with four three-point goals, including one right at the halftime buzzer for a total of 18 points.
With Western struggling from everywhere, the McMaster lead continued to grow after the intermission and reached as much as 34 points – 66-32 – late in the third. Western found points hard to come by this day, and as a team missed its first 11 free throws before a make by Andrew Van Kamp broke the shutout from the charity stripe.
McMaster started the fourth stanza like it started the game by scoring the first seven points to build a comfortable 73-34 advantage. Both teams went to their benches as the final quarter wound down and the Maroon closed out the 32-point win.
Top shooter for Mac was Rocca, who finished with 21 points, despite not playing in the fourth quarter. Rocca made 8 of 11 shots, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Taylor Black with 16 and Rohan Boney with 15 also hit double figures for McMaster. Ryan Higgins led Western with 13.
The win improves the Marauder record to 10 and 7 in the OUA West. McMaster will next face Guelph on Wednesday (Feb. 6) in the Rise Above Capacity game. Start time is 8 p.m. for this latest effort to fill every seat in the Burridge Gym.