Fourth quarters have not been kind to the McMaster men’s basketball team lately, but the Marauders withstood a late York rally and finished the final period strong to earn a 78-72 win on the road in Ontario University Athletics action on Saturday (Nov. 23).
The Marauders won each of the first three quarters, holding leads of 19-13, 36-28, and 58-49 at the end of each period. The Lions were content to play a zone defense and the Marauders used solid perimeter shooting to build the lead.
But heading into the crucial fourth quarter York cranked up the intensity and started its comeback. An 11-4 York run to start the fourth reduced the deficit to two points and forced McMaster into a timeout. The Lions continued to press and actually took the lead at 68-67 with under four minutes left in the game.
Mac’s Joe Rocca stuffed a tough bucket to restored the Marauder lead and Taylor Black rose to the occasion for the Maroon. Black made a clutch trey to give McMaster a 74-70 lead with just over a minute to go and after the Marauders forced a Lion miss, Black grabbed an offensive rebound and slammed home a dunk to increase the lead to six. York scored a late basket and Marauder Adam Presutti made two from the charity stripe to complete the scoring, as time ran out on the Lions.
Black was the top shooter for Mac with 13, followed by Rocca who had 12, with Presutti and Aaron Redpath each scoring 10. McMaster made 10 of 31 three-point attempts against the Lion zone. York’s Ryan Ejim had a game-high 27.
The Marauders end interlock play with a 5-3 record, and will be at home to face Guelph on Wednesday, Nov. 27 with tip-off at 8 p.m. McMaster and Windsor share top spot in the West Division with 10 points each. Guelph will bring a 2-6 record to Hamilton.