Like two heavyweights exchanging punches, the McMaster men’s basketball team outlasted the Windsor Lancers 70-68 and gained some space in the race for first place in the OUA West division.
The Lancers entered play missing two starters from the line-up but had a chance to pull even with McMaster in the standings with a win. McMaster knew a victory would give them a two-game bulge on Windsor.
It was the Marauders that jumped out to a quick 13-5 lead, but an early Windsor timeout seemed to settle down the Lancers and by the end of the opening quarter, the Maroon lead was 20-18.
The second-quarter saw points become very scarce as both teams played some intense defense. The Marauders got some good inside work from Nathan McCarthy and bumped the margin to 28-20. Windsor responded with some long distance shooting, led by guard Enrico Diloreto and grabbed a 31-29 lead. Playing for the last shot of the half, Adam Presutti found Aaron Redpath for a nifty lay-up at the buzzer and the teams entered the intermission tied 31-31.
McMaster grabbed a 49-43 lead in the third-quarter, but a strong finish by Windsor saw the Lancers score the last eight points of the period to lead 51-49 heading to the final stanza.
Two quick hoops to start the fourth-quarter put the Lancers up by six and forced a timeout by McMaster. It was the Marauders’ turn to respond and they tied the game at 55-55 with about six minutes left. The home stretch saw both teams fight for advantage and each was able to respond when it looked like they were on their last legs.
A three by Diloreto gave Windsor a 66-63 lead with under 90 second left, but the Marauders got some clutch hoops from Taylor Black and Redpath to go up 69-66. Needing a three to tie the game, Diloreto missed for Windsor and the Lancers were forced to foul. Black made one of two free throws to make it a two possession game and Lien Phillip’s basket with 1.1-seconds left could only get the Lancers within two points as McMaster closed out the win.
Top Marauder shooters were Redpath and Black, who each scored 19 with Black getting the BIG MAC Player of the Game recognition for his strong fourth-quarter play. Nathan McCarthy had a strong double-double effort of 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Maroon.
Windsor got a 26-point performance from Diloreto, who was the Lancer BIG MAC player of the game.
To illustrate how close the entire game was, the score was tied nine times and there were 10 lead changes. The battle of the boards went to McMaster by a narrow 42-41 margin.
McMaster now goes to 9 and 3 in the OUA West, while Windsor falls to 7 and 5 in second place.
The Marauders now start a series of three straight road games by playing at Waterloo on Wednesday, January 15th.