By Blake Talabis
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s basketball team kept their winning ways rolling this weekend by beating the Laurentian Voyageurs 100–58 on Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
The Bold had a bit of trouble finding their offensive game in the first quarter, but a strong collective performance from the team was more than enough for them to get the convincing win.
“Being able to have guys that can come in and produce…one through twelve. It means a lot,” said third-year Bold guard Aaron Rhooms. “Making it challenging for other teams, even when the starters are off, you still have to make a game plan.”
The Bold had a clear advantage over their competitors who only had two wins in the entire season coming into the night. However, the Voyageurs weren’t set on letting the game get out of hand early.
The visitors came out hungry for stops, running a full-court press off the very first possession. The Voyageurs were looking to establish their defensive intensity early. This led to a scrappy first quarter of basketball where neither offence got much of what they were looking for.
However, the Bold were determined to match the defensive intensity the opposition brought forth. Rhooms led the charge with five boards in the first quarter alone, helping his team take a four-point lead into the break.
The Bold eventually found their offensive rhythm early in the second quarter. Production from the Bold’s bench led them to a 9–0 run to start the frame. This was capped off by a huge jam from first-year TMU guard Gabe Gutsmore, forcing the visitors to call a timeout.
“We were doing the things we talked about over the last couple of days,” said Bold head coach Dave DeAveiro. “We can bring some pretty good players off the bench.”
Despite it only being the second quarter, the Bold were on the brink of putting their opponents away, as they came out with a full-court press of their own coming out of the timeout. This tactic—alongside some active hands—was a defensive formula the Voyageurs had no answer to.
The visiting team’s struggles continued into their defensive end as well as the Bold carried on their plan to attack the rim with little resistance from the opposition.
“Sometimes you do things to change the flow and pace of the game,” said DeAveiro. “You just need to change it up.”
Turnovers were another issue for the Voyageurs as nine of them in the quarter led to thirteen Bold points who would take a comfortable fifteen-point lead into the half.
It was more of the same from the Bold after the intermission as Gutsmore hammered another one down on the fast break to continue the offensive onslaught from the home side.
Handling the basketball continued to be a struggle for the Voyageurs as the Bold defence smothered their offensive counterparts, allowing them to utilize the fast break after more giveaways from the visitors.
“We wanted to play with a little more pace, and intensity on defence,” said DeAveiro.
This mindset set the tone for the rest of the game. The Voyageurs continued to shoot poorly from the field and couldn’t figure out how to stop the Bold from scoring in the paint, which allowed the Bold to keep up their dominant showing heading into the final frame.
Each team continued their trends from earlier into the fourth. The contest was ultimately put to bed when fifth-year Bold guard Cameron Ramage hit a straightaway triple early in the fourth to extinguish any life left in the unlikely Voyageurs comeback.
Yet, the Bold didn’t let up and hit a game-high eight triples in the quarter, finished off with fifth-year guard Adrian Stevens hitting an and-one three-pointer to put an emphatic mark on the blowout win.
The Bold will look to continue their form as they prepare for their road trip to the nation’s capital to take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens on back-to-back nights.
“If you want to be considered to be one of the best teams…you got to go on the road and play the best,” said DeAveiro.
UP NEXT: The Bold will play the Gee-Gees on the first leg of a back-to-back on Feb. 9 at Montpetit Hall in Ottawa at 8:00 pm.