In one of the most complete efforts seen this season, the McMaster men’s basketball team crushed the Lakehead Thunderwolves, 101-64, to sweep both weekend games in Thunder Bay.
Looking to avenge their Ontario University Athletics defeat the previous night, the Wolves came right at the Marauders and the first quarter ended with the teams tied at 20. Joe Rocca had the hot hand early for McMaster, as he was making shots from all over the court.
This was the first occasion in some time that McMaster did not lead their opponent after the opening 10 minutes, and maybe that got the team’s attention. The Marauders dominated the second quarter, outscoring their hosts 29-13 and opening up a comfortable 16-point margin by intermission at 49-33. McMaster ended the period on a 9-0 run and had the Wolves on their heels.
In the third quarter the Marauders opened with a 10-2 run to increase their advantage. Credit Lakehead for making a run of its own though and while McMaster still won the quarter, Lakehead had reduced the Mac lead to 69-50 with 10 minutes remaining.
Having a secure lead allowed McMaster to keep fresh legs on the floor and fatigue became a factor in the fourth quarter as Lakehead seemed to tire and the Maroon kept up the pressure. With Rocca still shooting well and the Marauders getting production from the entire cast, the margin continued to grow until the final buzzer allowed the Wolves to make their exit.
Rocca was one of five Marauders to score in double figures with a game-high 23, followed by Taylor Black and Adam Presutti with 14 each, Trevon McNeil added 12, and Nathan McCarthy scored 10 and grabbed 10 boards for a double-double. Igor Lebov led Lakehead with 15. All 12 Marauders hit the score sheet.
McMaster shot a very solid 49% from the floor, including 11 of 23 from three-point range. Lakehead made 42% of its shots, but only one of eight 3-ball attempts.
The first-place Marauders improve to 15-3 in the OUA West, while fifth-place Lakehead slips to 6-12. The weekend sweep is the first time McMaster has taken two games at Lakehead since the 2005-06 season.
Next action is on Wednesday (Feb. 5) when the Marauders welcome the Brock Badgers to the Burridge Gym. Start time is 8 p.m.