The exam-holiday break could not have come at a better time for the McMaster Marauders men’s basketball team after dropping a hard-fought 81-67 game to the top-ranked Carleton Ravens in Ottawa Saturday night (Dec. 3).
Much like the previous night’s Ontario University Athletics loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees, McMaster allowed Carleton to take a commanding early lead, forcing the Marauders to fight from behind the entire game. The Marauders led 6-2 off the tip, before the Ravens went on 15-0 run to go up 17-6. At the end of the quarter, Carleton was in front 19-10.
The second quarter saw McMaster, again like the Ottawa contest, make a run behind some long range shooting from Connor Gilmore, Lazar Kojovic and David McCulloch who all drained 3-point shots to close to within 26-22. But also like the night before, the Marauders were not able to sustain the effort and Carleton closed out the half on a 14-3 run to lead 40-25 at halftime.
Smelling blood the Ravens opened the second half on a 10-1 run to push the lead up to 24. But credit McMaster for refusing to quit and the Marauders started to find the range themselves, cutting into the Carleton lead. By the end of 30 minutes, Mac had trimmed the deficit to 14, but the Gee-Gees held a 57-43 lead.
The final quarter saw the Marauders continue to chip away until a bucket by Rohan Boney got the margin into single digits, 59-51. Carleton refused to fold though and behind Connor Wood, who made several big shots, the Ravens were able to maintain their advantage. A trey from Gilmore with just over three minutes left made it 73-66, but McMaster could get no closer and Carleton made its free throws down the stretch to close out the win.
Gilmore finished with 23 for the Maroon, with McCulloch adding 14 and Boney 12. For Carleton, Wood had a game-high 26, including some daggers as McMaster was coming back.
After starting the season with 17-straight wins, the Marauders have now lost four of their last five games and the team’s OUA record has fallen to 3-4. McMaster was No. 7 in the national top-ten entering weekend play, but could see itself out of the rankings after dropping the two games in Ottawa.
The Marauders will now focus on their exams and after a break for the holidays, they will get back to work in preparation for the second-half of the OUA schedule. McMaster next plays Friday, Jan. 6 in North Bay against the Nipissing University Lakers.