Coming off their first loss in over two months, the McMaster Marauders showed some resiliency and played a complete game in beating the Laurier Golden Hawks, 107-66, in Hamilton on Wednesday night (Feb. 12). Combined with Windsor’s loss at Waterloo, the Marauders clinch first-place in the West Division of Ontario University Athletics men’s basketball for the first time since 2006.
The Marauders played intently for four quarters and never gave Laurier any opportunity to challenge for the lead. With the score 9-9 in the first-quarter and Hawks’ All-Canadian Max Allin already having made two, three-balls, it looked like Laurier was ready for a battle. But behind a three-point salvo from Aaron Redpath, Joe Rocca, and Nate Pelech, McMaster finished the quarter with a 32-18 lead and the momentum.
In the second quarter, the Maroon continued to push the tempo and behind some sweet shooting by Adam Presutti and strong scoring from Taylor Black, who powered inside for three dunks, McMaster expanded the lead to 54-32 by intermission.
Laurier came into the game hoping to nail down fourth-place in the OUA West to get the home playoff game in the first round, but McMaster knew it could not afford another loss if it wanted to claim the division pennant after losing at Windsor last Saturday.
In the third quarter the Marauders kept the pressure on and outscored Laurier 16-4 to take a 70-36 lead before the Hawks took a timeout to stop the Maroon onslaught. Leading 81-45 after three quarters, the Marauders were able to substitute liberally with all 11 players getting some floor time. Mac’s Leon Alexander was especially impressive as he physically dominated, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the second-half.
The team stats were as lop-sided as the score with McMaster shooting 52% from the floor compared to Laurier’s 36%, and McMaster dominating the glass with 50 rebounds to the Hawk’s 26.
Individually, McMaster got 19 points from both Redpath and Rocca, Presutti added 16, Alexander 15, and Taylor Black had the double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Laurier was led by Jack Simmons, who scored 14.
McMaster improves to 17-4 in league play and will wrap up the conference schedule versus Waterloo on Saturday, Feb. 15. Game time in the Burridge Gym is 3 p.m.