Late-game calls figured into the results of at least two OUA games last night as both Brock Badgers and McMaster Marauders won important road games with last second free-throws, both on plays involving loose balls that very likely would not have figured in to a direct scoring opportunity. The controversies in the OUA combined with the perplexing call in Antigonish combined to make last night’s U-Sport action exciting and, in some circles, debate-provoking.
Brock (11-5, 6-4) 71, Lakehead (7-15, 3-8) 69...Badgers authored what could be a season-defining win, coming back from 28 points down in the final 18 minutes of the game, winning with a pair of free throws by 6’1″ Michael Asemota on a controversial play with 15 seconds remaining to escape with a split in Thunder Bay. Thunderwolves were completely in charge after a 27-3 run built on a flurry of threes to lead 52-28 early in the third quarter. But Badgers began to play desperate, pressing all over the floor and turning the momentum in their favor. Brock took their first lead with just over a minute to play as 6’6″ freshman Daniel Cayer (13 points) nailed a huge three from the left wing just in front of the Brock bench. 6’1″ Mor Menashe then tied it with a lay-in and Brock worked for the go-ahead shot but tough Lakehead “d” resulted in a contested shot that missed everything and in the resulting scrum and no definitive look at a scoring opportunity referees found a foul on Lakehead’s Nick Burke as the shot clock expired. Asemota made no mistake on both free throws and a contested 3 from the right wing by T-Wolves Alexandre Robichaud came up short, allowing Badgers to escape with the character-building win. 6’5″ Johneil Simpson was instrumental in the comeback with 18 points, virtually all during the comeback including a dunk and a three during a personal 9-0 run that turned the momentum in Brock’s favor. 6’7″ Dani Elgadi shook off a string off inconsistent performances with 16 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes as the Badgers now prepare for Queen’s and York next weekend. T-Wolves get set for a trip to Nation’s Capital to meet Ottawa and Carleton.
McMaster (14-5, 6-5) 73, Guelph (7-11, 3-7) 72… 6’1″ David McCulloch hit the game winning free throw with less than one second to play after another controversial, end-of-game call put him on the foul line and the Marauders survived at Guelph despite blowing a late 7 point lead. With the score tied at 72, McCulloch drove the baseline and missed on a reversed lay-up. The resulting rebound created another scramble/scrum with officials determining that 6’5″ Drew Walford fouled McCulloch, again with very little chance of a definite scoring opportunity. McCulloch made no mistake on the first and then missed the second on purpose to seal Gryphons fate. Guelph got back in the game on the heroics of 6’1″ Daniel Dooley who hit a clutch three and then a huge running one-hander in the lane to tie the score. McMaster got a quality effort in the second half from 6’7″ Connor Gilmore, including a three that gave Mac a 7 point lead late followed by a big put-back that gave Marauders the lead with just 25 seconds remaining before Dooley tied it, setting up McCulloch’s heroics. Dooley led all scorers with 21 points while once again Gilmore led Mac with 20 points – 14 after halftime – and 13 rebounds.
In other games, #1 Carleton rode to 30 point first half lead to hammer Laurentian 99-52 as 6’4″ Joe Rocca went a perfect 5 for 5 from 3 to lead all scorers with 23 points… #2 Ottawa won comfortably at home 72-56 over Nipissing as 6’3″ Caleb Agada led the way with 18 points and 8 boards. Ottawa native 6’6″ Justin Shaver had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers… Ryerson Rams, trailing by 1 at the half, pulled away in the third quarter for a 69-52 thumping of York Lions led by 6’3″ Adika Peter-McNeilly‘s 29 points and 6 rebounds… 6’3″ Reilly Reid broke a tie with a pair of free throws with a minute remaining as the Varsity Blues came back from a late third quarter 10 point deficit to defeat Queen’s in Kingston. 6’2″ Sukh Singh had 21 to lead all scorers while Toronto’s 6’5″ Manny Sahota helped rally the Blues with 16 to lead Toronto…Algoma Thunderbirds came up with an important split at Waterloo, leading by as many as 22 points in defeating the Warriors 77-68.