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TMU Bold men's basketball player Simon Chamberlain stands while he's at the bench
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Thirsty Thunderwolves sink Bold on second game of back-to-back

By Dexter LeRuez

The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s basketball team dropped their first game of the season in an 86-78 loss to the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).

The loss was the second game of a back-to-back series between the Bold and the Thunderwolves to open up the season. 

In game one of the series, TMU had sent the Toronto faithful home happy with an 86-76 win. 

However, in game two, Bold head coach Dave DeAveiro felt there was one major difference between victory and defeat: “Tyler Sagl.”

Sagl is the fourth-year guard who played for the Bold during the 2021-22 Ontario University Athletics season who made five of his 10 three-pointers in Saturday’s game en route to scoring 20 points for the Thunderwolves. 

Meanwhile, for Sagl’s former team, three-point shooting was a struggle. After making just one shot from beyond the arc in their season opener, the Bold attempted 11 triples in the first frame of play with only one shot finding its way into the basket.

“I think they were packing the paint because we dominated the paint yesterday,” said DeAveiro. “They challenged us to shoot more threes than we normally would.”

Late in the frame, the Bold shifted their focus to forcing their way inside the paint, scoring six points in the final minute of play to end the quarter down 22-13. 

“We really need to buckle down on how hard we practice”

While the Bold prioritized short to mid-range shooting in the second quarter, the Bold’s long-range shooting showed signs of life. The team scored nine points from beyond the arc, outscoring the Thunderwolves 20-16 in the frame to go into the half down five. 

One difference between game one and game two of the Bold’s season was turnovers. 

In the Bold’s season opener, the team turned the ball over 16 times. However, in the first half of game two, the Bold nearly matched their turnovers from the previous night with 14 by the time they returned to the locker room for half-time. 

Lawi Msambya—a fourth-year guard for Lakehead—was the lynchpin behind the Thunderwolves’ defensive prowess, snatching up nine steals while scoring a game-high 23 points. 

Despite a promising end to the half, the Bold were outmatched in the third frame as the Thunderwolves dominated the glass. 

In the third quarter, the visiting team grabbed five offensive boards, matching the Bold’s total rebounds on both sides of the floor in the frame. 

TMU Bold men's basketball players Aaron Rhooms and Cameron Ramage talk on the court

The Thunderwolves scored 11 second-chance points in the third to finish the quarter with a 16-point lead, their largest of the game. 

Entering the final quarter, the Bold prepared themselves for a comeback. However, the hosts would be without the assistance of a key player—fourth-year guard David Walker. 

Walker—who scored 23 points for the Bold the night prior—played a mere 13 minutes in Saturday’s game.

When asked about his decision to bench Walker, DeAveiro initially said, “no comment.” However, the Bold bench boss later changed his mind regarding his comment on the matter.

“I just didn’t think David had energy tonight,” said DeAveiro. “Down the stretch, he was great for us yesterday, but I just didn’t feel like David had the energy he needed to be successful today.” 

Walker’s offensive production was replaced by a veteran of the program.

Third-year forward Simon Chamberlain scored 11 of his 20 points in the final quarter of play. Chamberlain drained three three-pointers in the frame, including a critical shot to close the Thunderwolves lead to just six points with 57 seconds to play. 

“We needed to go on a run at the end so I was just trying to get some shots up,” he said. 

Complementing Chamberlain during the final frame was third-year guard Marsei Caston. 

“I just didn’t think David had energy tonight”

Caston, who joined the Bold in the off-season, previously played National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I basketball for the New Mexico State Aggies. 

Despite his talent, Caston had failed to show what he was capable of for the Bold prior to Saturday’s game. 

However, on Saturday, Caston showed out, scoring a team-high 21 points on 8-15 shooting. 

“We knew Marsei had some offensive talent and it was taking him a while to get ready to play,” said DeAveiro. “He’s figured it out, he’ll get more opportunities to see what he’s capable of doing, so he’ll just keep getting better and get more comfortable with the group.”

Despite the efforts of Chamberlain and Caston, the Bold couldn’t gut out the win, failing to capitalize on a trip to the charity stripe and a shot from beyond the arc as the Thunderwolves held on to take their first victory of the season. 

With the back-to-back series over, the Bold will need to look forward to their next stretch of games, a stretch that DeAveiro noted would be rough. 

“We really need to buckle down on how hard we practice,” said DeAveiro. “[We need to work on] the small little things in practice and really understand over the next month what it’s like to play Wednesday and Saturday.”  

UP NEXT: The Bold will host the McMaster University Marauders at the MAC on Nov. 8. Tip-off for the game is at 8 p.m.

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