Rocca’s hot hands lifts Mac over Waterloo

rp_primary_mbball-weekend1It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Marauders men’s basketball team got a big fourth quarter from Joe Rocca and beat the Waterloo Warriors, 88-69, on Wednesday night (Jan. 15).

The first quarter of the Ontario University Athletics contest offered some ugly basketball as neither team shot very well and at the end of the opening 10 minutes, McMaster held a slim 23-21 lead. Moving to the second quarter, the men in Maroon started to sharpen their game. A 13-0 run toward the end of the period provided some cushion and at halftime the Mac advantage stood at 40-30.

McMaster got off to a quick start in the third quarter, and extended the lead to 18, looking like it might run away with the game. But the Warriors took advantage of several Marauder turnovers and poor shot selection to score the last 10 points of the period and get within eight, trailing 6-52.

But Rocca got hot at the right time, hitting a basket on the first shot of the final quarter and knocking down a trey on Mac’s next trip to bump the lead back into double figures. Now with the momentum, the Marauder lead grew to 20 points at 79-59 before Waterloo took a timeout to stem the assault. Rocca had 12 points in the period and nailed a late three to end any Warrior hopes.

The Marauders were led by Rocca, who scored a game-high 26 on a stellar 9-of-12 shooting night, also making 4-of-7 from behind the arc and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Taylor Black with 14 and Rohan Boney with 13 also hit for double digits.

Waterloo’s Jaspreet Gill also hit for 26 to match Rocca’s total.

The Marauders won the rebounding battle by 44-33.

McMaster improves to 10 and 3 in the OUA West and will next take on Laurier in Waterloo on Saturday (Jan. 18).