Photo of Varsity Blues vs McGill Men's Basketball on October 2nd. Benjamin Lappalainen.

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues looked to build off their success earlier this week against Sheridan College and pickup their second straight win in exhibition play against the McGill Redmen on Friday. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned.

Technically McGill’s third match of the season, the game, which was held at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, screamed ‘exhibition’ as neither team looked completely comfortable on the court. Due to the intensity of their play, the Redmen were able to overpower the timid Blues and applied full court pressure from the get-go.

“We wanted to create tempo, I felt we had a little more depth than they had. I wanted to get them tired a little bit and keep pushing it,” said McGill head coach David DeAveiro.

Neither team could buy a bucket until the 6:58 mark of the first quarter when McGill guard Dele Ogundokun, who sank a straightaway jump shot, ended the drought.

The Blues, not coping well under pressure, shot only 27 per cent in the first half. “We created the tempo by turning the ball over so much, and [the Redmen] were able to get out and run and that caused a lot of problems,” said Blues head coach John Campbell. “They really took advantage of the layup opportunities we had and we could’ve kept it a little closer and that could’ve helped us,” he concluded, adding that the defensive struggles resulted in the dismal score.  The Blues answered back when 6’7 forward Daniel Johansson sank a free throw, one of his 14 points on the night, almost immediately following the Redmen’s initial score. However, the Blues couldn’t make up the deficit, which grew to seven points, midway through the quarter.

The second quarter looked to be off to a sluggish start as a five-second violation was called on the Blues. But after a four-point play by guard Sage Usher it became a one-possession game.

After a few more three-pointers from both sides, McGill was forced into a timeout as the Blues rallied. The Blues, however, still found themselves down 11 to end the half.

The third-quarter featured up and down play with the difference between the two teams growing to twenty points. The Blues are not ones to quit and seemed to have a little more fight in them. A jump shot by Devon Williams lead to a 9-0 run by Daniel Johannson and Wilson Torres. At this point, Sage Usher took his second charge of the game and accumulated a few more points. McGill, however, stole the momentum with a demoralizing two-handed baseline jam by Francois Bourque, and by the end of the quarter, the Blues were down 13 points.

The final result was an 83-64 win for the Redmen as the Blues fell to 1-1 in exhibition play. The Blues were able to raise their field goal percentage to 34.8 per cent but whenever a team gets out-rebounded 48-28 the likelihood of winning is fairly slim.

“We have nine new players, a big part of it is just not being used to the intensity and the level of play,” said Campbell post-match. “For us it will be a growth period and hopefully by the time conference play starts, we’ll play at the CIS level.”

The Blues play their next home game against St. Francis Xavier on October 8 at 8PM at the Goldring Centre for High
Performance Sport.

Like our content? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

* indicates required