The Marauder men’s basketball team needed to sweep the visiting Lakehead Thunderwolves to move up in the standings but dropped a tough 78-75 contest on Friday night (Feb. 15) in the Burridge Gym.
The Ontario University Athletics game started well for McMaster as Taylor Black and Joe Rocca drilled treys on the team’s first two shots. Lakehead responded to the early barrage though and the teams battled until a long three-point goal by Dwayne Harvey at the buzzer gave the ’Wolves a 25-22 lead.
Photo: Rick Zazulak/McMaster Athletics
McMaster fell behind 33-26 early in the second quarter, but behind some inside scoring from Nathan McCarthy began to take control. The Marauders closed the quarter strong and grabbed the lead at 45-41 heading into intermission. Lakehead was on fire from long-range in the first half, hitting 7 of 12 from beyond the arc.
With Lakehead looking to assume control in the third, they tried to extend their pressure, but Mac met the challenge and after three quarters held a six-point lead.
Lakehead showed its veteran savvy in the final quarter, and slowly chiseled down the Marauder lead, before moving in front 74-72 with under a minute to go. The Marauders showed some grit and came back with a three-pointer from Adam Presutti to go back in front at 75-74 but Lakehead went inside to their all-star post Ryan Thomson, who scored to regain the lead with 6.9 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Marauders failed to execute a winning play of their own and were forced to foul after turning the ball over. Two made free throws left Mac with a last chance to force overtime, but Presutti’s desperation three missed and Lakehead stole the victory to nail down the second seed in the OUA West.
McMaster was led by BIG MAC player of the game McCarthy, who scored a career high 21 and added nine boards. Rocca, with 11, and Presutti, with 10, were in double figures.
Lakehead got 22 from Thomsen, 19 from Ben Johnson and 18 from Harvey.
McMaster is now locked into third-place in the OUA West and will play a quarter-final on Feb. 20 in the Burridge Gym. Before that they will complete the conference schedule with one more game against Lakehead on Saturday (Feb. 16) at 8 p.m.