Nothing beats the holidays. They’re a time to reflect on the year you’ve had and celebrate with loved ones. But it is a time of melancholy in the CFMU Sports Department as we say goodbye to the Marauders for 2019. Like Christmas Eve, we have to sit and stare at all the fun stuff put in front of us and wait in anticipation. While we’re all sneaking back for a ninth shameful helping of holiday ham, though, the Marauders are gearing up to own 2020. There’s so much action to look forward to in the New Year, but for now, we’ll just have to wait.
Men’s Basketball Owns the Weekend
At first glance, the 81-64 win over Brock looks like a blowout victory, but it was a close game just about all the way through. Quarter to quarter, everyone was playing a hard-fought game. The key for Mac was playing strong, consistent ball, with a 46% team shooting night. They ended each period with a small lead, but those little leads all added up into a big one at the end of the game. This game also featured a heavyweight bout at the point guard position between two top-20 scorers in the OUA: Brock’s Tyler Brown and our own Jordan Henry (Henry is sixth, Brown is seventeenth). They put on a light show in Burridge Gym, both throwing up 22 points while playing over 36 of the 40 minutes in the game. Henry had the advantage on the rest of the stat line with 7 rebounds and 9 assists, flirting with a triple-double.
At the other guard spot, Tristan Lindo had a very efficient game shooting the ball, 5 for 5 from the field and 1 of 2 from deep, with 2 blocks to boot. Connor Gilmore was his usual outstanding self with 18 points and 12 rebounds. However, because I don’t want the team’s head to get too inflated, I do have one thing to nit-pick. Gilmore put up 6 threes in this game and 9 the following night in Toronto, and while I love seeing that kind of gusto from him, it’s a little outside his wheelhouse. Don’t get me wrong, Gilmore is not a bad deep shooter by any stretch; he hit 33% over these last two games. Where my issue lies is that he’s so dominant down low that it just doesn’t make sense to me to have him play that much out of position. Mac’s not hurting for strength from that position, either; this team is chock-full of perimeter players who can hit threes while Gilmore holds down the middle.
On Saturday, the Mac men hit the road to take on Toronto, escaping a tighter contest with their second win this season against the Varsity Blues. They went 46% on the night as a team, marking another great shooting night for this team. Few things are as important as shooting the ball with efficiency and Mac has been doing a great job of that, especially in their last few games. Damiann Prehay was on point from the field after struggling to find his rhythm against Brock. He hit 5 for 7 on the night. Sefa Otchere hit a team-leading 21 points on 14 shot and made the game-clinching layup for the Marauders. Jordan Henry put up 15,which is still great by any measure, though lower than usual for him. Nevertheless, he did a great job of spreading the ball around and hit 10 assists for the first time this season.
With two wins on the weekend, Mac now sits at 8-2 and has reclaimed their number 7 national after dropping a little last week. This is a team on a roll; they’re clicking in the shooting game, spreading the ball around, and finding ways to win games. Keep your eye on them when they return in January – my guess is you’ll be glad you did.
Women's Basketball: A Continuing Struggle
The women’s basketball team experienced a somewhat tougher weekend, going 0 and 2 on the double-header. They got themselves into a hole early against Brock on Friday, but almost scraped their way back. After going down 35-20 in the first quarter, Mac managed to cut into Brock’s lead, slowly but surely. After two quarters, it was down to 8, and it had been cut down to just 2 points after the third. It all came down to the fourth quarter. Mac played with heart and grit, going after Brock defensively and making aggressive plays at the rim. Unfortunately, Brock raised their level of play to match Mac and held onto their 2-point lead right through to the end. Leading the 4th quarter surge was veteran Forward Christina Buttenham. Buttenham put up 13 in that quarter, going 5 of 6 on her shots as part of a 32-point 10 rebound performance. This is exactly the kind of fire you like to see from your veteran leaders when you’re down in a close one like this, especially in a season that has not lived up to expectations as of yet. It is also an indicator of the talent and will this team possesses that will keep those expectations high for the rest of the season.
The game started better for the Marauders on Saturday in Toronto. They were in lockstep with the Varsity Blues after the first quarter, but once again the game slipped away. Toronto seized the lead near the end of the second quarter and ran up a lead of 14. And, once again, Mac made a strong late-game push. They outscored Toronto 22-20 in the fourth, but unlike Friday’s game, this one was already out of reach. It’s perplexing to see games from this team where they play 2 quarters like the defending national champs they are, and then totally fall off the map for the other 2 quarters. They are so close to being back to the level of play that brought them that trophy, but doing it for half a game is just not good enough. They’ll get a chance to re-evaluate over the break, and I look forward to seeing how they shape up after a bit of a step back.
Marauder Scholar Breakfast Honours Athletes in the Classroom
On Friday morning in CIBC hall, the Marauder Scholar Breakfast was held. At the event, a small army of Marauder athletes were honoured for their work in the classroom. Soccer cleaned up, with 2 players taking home major awards. Emma Czernuska netted the Mary E. Keyes award as the 2018-19 Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. Czernuska graduated last spring with a degree in biology, and also did great work in the community as a volunteer with a few different healthcare organizations. In addition to being awarded first team OUA all-star status, Arnand Sergeant won the Dr. Jack Kennedy award for Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Sergeant is currently working on his third year in the Arts and Sciences faculty. In total, 376 student athletes were honoured as Marauder Scholars; 104 of them also earned a spot as U Sports academic all-Canadians. Congrats to all!
A Short Programming Note
This week is our last Marauder Sports Roundup of 2019 as we head into the holiday break. But weep not! You can still tune in to our final show this Monday at 9am. We’ll make it worth your while and put a nice, neat bow on 2019. As for the Roundup, we’ll return in the New Year with more Marauder content for you to enjoy. Whether you agreed or disagreed with anything I’ve written here, I thank you for reading along and I can’t wait to get back to it in 2020.
From everyone at CFMU, happy holidays to you and yours.
Duncan Simmons is the CFMU Sports Director and a 3rd year communications student from Vancouver, BC. He is the author of the Marauder Sports Roundup, released weekly on Wednesdays. Lover of all sports and all sports fans. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.