While the game is at home in Waterloo, emotions are still likely to be stronger than usual as former McMaster Marauder player and Assistant Coach Justin Gunter, in his first season as Head Coach of Waterloo Warriors, faces the program he’s been associated with for more than a decade – the McMaster Marauders – for the first time ever. Gunter’s young group, which he took over mid-summer, has been maturing rapidly despite a 1-6 record on the season, ending the first half with a victory over York (Gunter’s first OUA win) and then a tight loss to Queen’s. Waterloo did lose a non-conference game at Humber 80-78 on 3rd January. This is Mac’s first game in almost 2 months. While Gunter’s emotions should be charged even higher when he first visits Burridge Gym (not scheduled until next season), tonight’s game should be added motivation for him and his improving group.
Two other games in the OUA tonight as Ryerson Rams, fresh off their loss at Harvard last night, host York Lions at the Mattamy Center in downtown Toronto while Brock Badgers visit Laurier Golden Hawks. This will be Laurier’s first game in about 7 weeks.
In the AUS, the latest edition of one of the most intense rivalries in the entire CIS takes place this evening in Antigonish as Cape Breton Capers travel to St. FX. Capers are 4-5 and in 5th place in the AUS standings while X-Men continue to struggle at just 1-7 for 2 points which is 8th (last) place. Tonight’s game (starting at 7 PM ET/8 PM AT) is the first of a home-and-home set with the teams meeting again Saturday in Sydney.
In the only other meeting between the two teams to date, 6’7″ Meshack Lufile had 11 of his season-high 35 points in the fourth quarter and added 11 rebounds as Capers used an 18-4 run late in the fourth quarter to break open what was a one point game late. Needless to say, X needs at least a split if not a sweep to re-assert themselves as AUS tournament contenders. Game is available on AUS TV.