Two things can happen when a team undergoes a losing streak. First, they figure out what they’ve been doing wrong and work on it relentlessly. Secondly — and more importantly — a ravenous hunger sets in the belly of the team, a craving that grows and grows with every loss, a yearning that can only be cured with a win. Eventually, that team becomes a perfect blend of emotion and hard work that can only be described as dangerous.
The Varsity Blues’ basketball team finally satiated their hunger on Friday night, beating the Nipissing Lakers 88–67 at home for their main course, and hitting 10 three-pointers for dessert.
The game was relatively slow in the beginning, with every basket seeming like it was hard-earned. Right off the cuff, you could tell how hungry the Blues were when Iñaki Alvarez swiped the ball from a Nipissing offender and turned it into an easy layup at the other end of the court.
The Blues were hot from behind the arc, knocking down six three-pointers in the first half. Much of this could be accredited to their great passing and off-the-ball movement. Guards were flying as they came off of screens, resulting in many of them getting opportunities for open shots. Shadkami took advantage of spacing, notching 12 points in the first half.
The Lakers didn’t go down without a fight though. Point-guard Muktar Mohamed finished the game with 22 points, a high for his team. Nathan Riley was also an important asset for the Lakers, scoring 12 points in the game. When the Blues went for sharpshooting, the Lakers played physically, getting to the line consistently. Much to the Blues’ dismay, the Lakers shot 28–33 from free while the Blues shot 14–20. Every time the Lakers got a foul, the Toronto bench was vocally frustrated, as portrayed by their loud moans.
The Blues outrebounded the Lakers by four rebounds. Much of this can be credited to their power forward, Anthony Daudu, towering over opposing players and using his size in the paint. He made it hard for opposing guards to play among the trees and rose to the net anytime the ball bounced off of it.
Overall, not only did the Blues play like a team that was aching for a win, they played like a team with more quality in general. Nipissing is a better team overall this season — their record is 3–5 — but it looked like the Blues were unfazed by this fact.
The Blues are now 1–6 this season and have moved up to seventh position on the U SPORTS standings. They will play their hometown rivals, the Ryerson Rams, on Wednesday, February 16. In order to give the Rams a run for their money, the Blues will have to remember what it was like to be famished and play like they played in their game against the Lakers.