The McMaster men’s basketball team got a balanced team effort, and a monster performance from forward Taylor Black, in defeating the Toronto Varsity Blues 96-75 in Ontario University Athletics season openers for both teams.
The Marauders started the game strong and immediately went after the Blues at both ends. Offensively, McMaster was hot from beyond the arc with Aaron Redpath, Joe Rocca and Adam Presutti hitting from long range. Toronto showed it, too, had some weaponry and it looked like a shootout was going to unfold as McMaster ended the first quarter leading 27-22.
The second quarter saw both teams try to make a run, but after Toronto closed to within four at 35-31, McMaster started to increase its advantage. By the intermission, the score favoured the Maroon 46-37.
The third quarter was noteworthy for two reasons: The first was that Black started to dominate, scoring inside and outside. The second was that Rohan Boney gave the team a tremendous jolt of energy at both ends of the floor, hammering a dunk in transition and making an enormous rejection on defense. With the Mac shooters looking confident, the lead grew to 74-55 after three quarters.
Even with the comfortable margin, the Marauders played hard and won the fourth quarter 22-20, sweeping all four periods from the Blues. Redpath, Nate Pelech and Trevon McNeil all hit big shots and the Marauders used their entire bench.
Black just missed a double-double with 28 points and nine boards. He shot 11 or 17 from the floor, including two of three from beyond the arc. Other double digit scorers were Rocca with 16, Redpath with 11, and Leon Alexander, who scored 10 points on a perfect five for five shooting effort.
Toronto had five players in double-figure scoring, led by Dakota Laurin with 16 and Devin Johnson with 15.
McMaster dominated the battle of the boards with 49 rebounds, including 26 off the offensive glass, while Toronto grabbed 23.
McMaster will face the Ryerson Rams on Saturday (Nov. 2) in the Burridge Gym at 8 p.m. as the second half of an OUA basketball doubleheader. The Ryerson men will be a tough challenge as they are ranked No. 4 nationally.