On a day when they didn’t play their best, the McMaster men’s team picked up steam in the second half and defeated the Waterloo Warriors 90-68 in the final regular season game of Ontario University Athletics West basketball.
Prior to the game, McMaster honoured its only graduating player as fifth-year senior Nathan Pelech was presented with a framed Marauder jersey to recognize his career in Maroon.
The Warriors came out like a team with something to prove to the first-place Marauders and behind their outstanding freshman guard Myles Charvis, ended the first quarter with the lead at 27-24. Charvis was on fire early and scored 17 in the opening 10 minutes.
Waterloo continued to play well in the second quarter and was in front 36-32 midway through the period when McMaster seemed to notice they were in a tough game. Sparked by Adam Presutti, the Marauders finished the quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 43-38 lead at the half. Trying to exploit its size advantage, McMaster went inside as much as possible and got production from Nathan McCarthy and Leon Alexander. Charvis cooled off some but still had 21 points in the first half.
Now playing with the lead in the third quarter, McMaster was more aggressive attacking the basket and fouls became an issue for the Warriors. McMaster got the lead as high as 59-47, before ending the quarter with a 10-point advantage at 66-56.
Unable to get the margin under 10 and perhaps suffering some fatigue from playing fewer bodies, Waterloo could not keep McMaster at bay in the final stanza. McCarthy continued to power inside and Presutti continued to hit from outside and on drives to the hoop. McMaster was able to clear the bench and close out the 90-68 win to finish league play with an 18-4 record.
McCarthy was the top Marauder shooter with 23 points and also grabbed nine rebounds to just miss the double-double. Presutti added 18, Alexander 15, and Joe Rocca 10 as the Marauders came up with another balanced effort. Charvis finished with a game-high 28 for the Warriors.
McMaster dominated the battle of the boards 54-24, with Mac’s Taylor Black the top rebounder with 12 caroms for the game.
The Marauders will now wait to find out who their opponent will be in the playoffs, but they know they will be in the Burridge Gym for an OUA West semi-final on Saturday, Feb. 22nd with a 2 p.m. tip-off.