McMaster (3-0) 76, Victoria (1-2) 65… The Marauders made their first six threes of the night, jumping out to an early 20-9 lead and later built advantages of 25 in a dominating effort over the rebuilding Vikes. With the victory Mac is crowned Guy Vetrie Memorial champions for 2016.
6’4″ Lazar Kojovic was again the hero from beyond the arc going 5 for 6 and 6’6″ Connor Gilmore continues to show his ability to catch-and-shoot from distance as a stretch 4, scoring a career-high 28 points including 7 for 10 from downtown and adding 8 rebounds. With the emergence of Kojovic, who played in the shadows of McMaster’s more highly-touted and now graduated/left wings over the past 2 seasons, Marauders have at least 4 solid OUA players beginning with 6’1″ third-year guard David McCulloch who is playing with a new-found confidence knowing he will be the main decision maker for 30-35 minutes per game. McCulloch had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.
6’3″ Rohan Boney is a fixture inside and in the high post while Gilmore, still working on a consistent back-to-the-basket game, is an able rebounder and perimeter threat. While Mac also has 6’2″ Chris Thompson, who went down early in the McGill game with an injury and 6’5″ Matt Quiring, who played sparingly last season and is not yet proven as a big minutes, top-of-the-rotation guy, Marauders are rather thin – after the first 6, the quality level drops. To wit, the top 5 (Thompson missed the game tonight again) had 71 of the 75 points Mac scored and the game was well in hand early in the second half. Quiring battled foul trouble all weekend.
But McCulloch was by far the best guard at this tournament and Mac’s shooting all weekend was sparkling (16 for 27 from three-point range tonight). This team needs to stay healthy and/or find other pieces – see last season’s Brock Badgers. However this was a fine start for Mac who hosts upstart St. FX next Saturday at 5 PM and then Dalhousie Tigers at 3 PM on Sunday, both at home in Burridge Gym in Hamilton.