Marauders escape with narrow basketball win

McMasterThe McMaster men’s basketball team survived a fourth-quarter deep freeze and hung tough for a 65-63 win over Queen’s on Friday night (Nov. 22) in Kingston.

For all but the briefest time in the third quarter, McMaster led for the entire game but had difficulty closing out the Gaels on their home-court.

The first quarter saw the Marauders jump to an 11-3 lead and by the end of the period, the eight-point advantage was still in place at 23-15.

In the second quarter, McMaster started with a 9-4 run to grab its biggest lead at 32-19. Then it seemed as if the officiating got into the Marauders’ heads as a no-call on a drive that had obvious contact and three straight offensive fouls called against the Maroon gave Queen’s some new life. The Gaels ended the quarter by outscoring the Marauders 16-5, and getting within two points at halftime 37-35.

Seizing the momentum, Queen’s came out in the third and went ahead 47-46. But it was McMaster’s turn to finish a quarter strong and the 14-5 run to end the third built the Mac advantage to 60-52 with one quarter left.

The final 10 minutes was excruciating as neither team found any offensive flow. Queen’s trailed 64-60 for what seemed like forever, and as time ran down Marauder fans wanted just one more basket for what looked to be a safe lead. But the Maroon struggled mightily in their half court set and made some poor decisions, allowing Queen’s to close within a basket with 15 seconds remaining. Ahead by two but with the ball, an errant Marauder inbound pass was stolen by the Gaels, who now had a chance to win or force overtime.

Playing for the game with 12 seconds left, the Marauder defense forced the Gaels into taking a contested shot that missed and despite a second chance off the miss, Queen’s ran out of time and McMaster escaped with the win. Queen’s held the Marauders to five points in the fourth, but couldn’t pull off the miracle comeback.

Joe Rocca led the Mac attack with 17 points, while Leon Alexander scored 13, Taylor Black 12, and Aaron Redpath 11, as the Marauders had nice balance on the scoresheet. Roshane Roberts was top shooter for Queen’s with 13.

The win improves the McMaster record to 4-3 in the OUA. The Marauders will play Saturday night at York, to wrap up 2013 interlock play with teams from the OUA East.