By Jonathan Reynoso
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s basketball team fell to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 87-81 in a wire-to-wire matchup on Nov. 29 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
TMU notched their second-straight loss, following a heartbreaker to the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks on Nov. 25, ending TMU’s five-game winning streak against the Golden Hawks dating back to 2017.
First-year guard Gabriel Gutsmore led the team’s scorers, racking up a season-high 21 points along with four rebounds and three assists. However, Gustmore struggled with foul trouble throughout the game, eventually fouling out with three minutes left in the fourth.
“It’s in the back of your mind every time that you go to the basket or play defence,” said Gustmore. “When the other team knows that…they’re going to go at you.”
Poor execution in transition and missed free throws plagued TMU’s efforts in trying to secure the victory.
“We shot 12 for 23 on free throws, which is 52 per cent,” said TMU Bold head coach David DeAveiro. “You’re not winning those games when you shoot 52 per cent.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair from the jump. The Golden Hawks were able to go on a 15-6 run in the middle of the quarter, though the Bold were able to stop the bleeding off a tough putback two from third-year forward Aaron Rhooms.
Laurier came out of the first quarter with a 27-23 lead due to their three-point shooting. They shot 63 per cent from three in the first quarter.
The Bold came out inspired in the second quarter, holding Laurier to 1-15 shooting, closing out defensive possessions and forcing the Golden Hawks to shoot 0-6 from behind the arc.
Though the Bold’s first-half effort earned them a 42-38 lead at halftime, the team could not hold up their defensive effort over the course of the game.
“We just couldn’t sustain it, we couldn’t sustain that level of defence,” said DeAveiro. “We’ve been able to do a half…but we haven’t been able to put four quarters together.”
The free throw shooting stunted the Bold in the first half going a measly 4-11 from the line.
“You’re not spending time in practice shooting free throws, it’s something you got to do on your own,” said DeAveiro. “It’s something we have to keep working on and getting better at.”
In the third quarter, the Bold’s sloppy play on the defensive end resulted in missed rotations and late closeouts, while the team also racked up eight turnovers. The Golden Hawks cut the Bold’s lead to a three-point game heading into the final quarter of action, which animated coach DeAveiro.
Laurier was dominant in the fourth quarter, winning the quarter 27-17 to hold the edge over the Bold and their late fourth-quarter efforts.
Despite the loss, DeAveiro was encouraged by the play of Gutsmore and first-year guard Kobe Charles.
“Our young kids get great experience playing these games, you saw Kobe [Charles] had a pretty good game today and [Gutsmore] just keeps on getting better…you see these kids get better with more opportunity,” said DeAveiro. “That’s good for us.”
UP NEXT: TMU hopes to jump back into the win column against the Waterloo Warriors. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. in Waterloo, Ont.