It was too little too late for the McMaster Marauders.
A surge late in the fourth quarter brought the Ontario University Athletics West Division leading Marauders to within three points of Windsor but that was as close as they would get in dropping an 81-75 decision to the Lancers on Saturday (Feb. 8) in men’s basketball. For Windsor, the win brought the Lancers to within four points of McMaster.
The loss ended a 13-game winning streak for the 16-4 Marauders while the Lancers improved to 14-5.
Joe Rocca and Aaron Redpath led the Marauders with 18 points apiece and both hit 50 per cent from three-point range. Leon Alexander chipped in 15, going 5-for-9 from the floor and a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe.
The Marauders struggled to find the range on their jump shots in the first quarter, but managed to grab a 13-12 lead with 4:20 to play in the frame. Windsor, however, found its stroke from beyond the arc and took an 18-15 margin. With momentum in the home team’s corner, Lien Phillip snared an offensive rebound and dropped in a hook shot to beat the buzzer and give Windsor a 21-15 cushion to start the second quarter.
That lead remained in place for much of the second period until McMaster began to chip away and pulled to within three. McMaster employed the press to great effect in the final minutes of the half, forcing three consecutive turnovers from Windsor, and paving the way for a game-tying bucket on the final possession. There, the Marauders called time with three seconds to play before successfully finding Nathan Pelech down low, who fought off a defender to lay in a buzzer-beating shot that knotted the score at 36.
Rocca enjoyed an efficient first half, scoring a team-leading 14 points while going 5-9 from the floor and 4-7 from three point range.
Windsor opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run to retake the lead early. But McMaster once again stayed in touch, thanks in large part to the work of Alexander down low, who hit a turnaround jumper to bring the Marauders within one at 46-45. The Lancers, however, were getting the better of the visitors on the offensive glass and creating second-chance opportunities as Windsor led 54-50 after three quarters.
The Lancers opened the final stanza on a 9-0 run to establish a 13-point spread with the Marauders choosing ill-advised shots from beyond the arc. McMaster’s long-range game improved in the late stages, as Redpath sunk a corner three to bring the Marauders within 10 points with three minutes to play. He followed with a beautiful reverse layup to further reduce the deficit.
Alexander followed a layup in transition with two free throws to bring the Marauders within five points, 77-72, and Redpath made it a three-point game with yet another triple with 13 seconds to play. A late turnover proved costly, however, as Enrico Diloreto hit two free throws to effectively ice the game.
Diloreto paced the Lancers with a game-high 26 points while Lien Phillip contributed 20.
Next up for the Marauders is Laurier who visits McMaster on Wednesday (Feb. 12).