By Armen Zargarian
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) men’s basketball team lost to the McMaster Marauders 75-68 at Burridge Gymnasium in Hamilton on Friday night.
The game was tied 66-66 with 2:04 remaining, but McMaster went on a 9-2 run to close out the Bold.
“You have to be mentally tough to play the last three minutes of a close game,” said head coach David DeAveiro. “And we’re nowhere near mentally tough.”
In the final minutes the Marauders blitzed the Bold with a 2-2-1 press that resulted in back-to-back turnovers that led to points for McMaster.
“We didn’t run our press break, and that was the game,” said DeAveiro.
The game started on an equally frustrating note, with the Bold fouling two three-point shooters in the opening frames. But TMU recovered, led by David Walker who finished the game with a team-high 20 points on 7-15 shooting.
Ankit Choudhary found Walker for a backdoor cut and slam to start the second quarter, but the Bold, who averaged 90 points a game coming into the contest, found themselves gridlocked in a rugged 31-31 tie heading into halftime.
The Bold welcomed backup point guard Isaiah McRae onto the team after DeAveiro previously told The Eyeopener McRae was stepping away from the team.
The Marauders lightning-quick point-guard Tyler Garcia kept the pressure on the Bold by pushing the pace at every opportunity. Garica finished with seven points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals.
TMU’s defence seemed up to the challenge for most of the night, often forcing McMaster to take tough, contested shots. One defensive stance in the third quarter led to a transition layup for forward Simon Chamberlain. The layup extended TMU’s lead to eight points—their largest of the game.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Marauders guards Ewaen ‘AY’ Osunde and Mike Demagus swung the momentum in McMaster’s favor to start the fourth and final quarter.
The Bold held late leads in both of their losses to the University of Toronto, and the fourth quarter against McMaster revealed some eerie similarities.
“We self-destruct, we beat ourselves,” said DeAveiro. “Part of that is maturity, part of it is leadership.”
With a narrow 55-53 lead, DeAveiro called a timeout before the final stretch of the game.
But McMaster came out smelling victory and took their first lead of the second half, 60-58, with under six minutes left. The rest of the game remained tight, but the Marauders showed more poise and made all the big plays in crunch time.
“It’s going to keep happening unless they decide as a group to come to practice, listen and apply the instructions in the game,” said DeAveiro.
UP NEXT: TMU will look to get back in the win column on Nov. 18 against the Algoma Thunderbirds at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.