On December 3, 2022, as university students across Ontario prepared for winter break, the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team endured their toughest loss this season against the Queen’s Gaels in Kingston.
It was a nail-biter match and although the Blues made a striking comeback in the third quarter, the Gaels’ guard, Connor Kelly, stole the 96–95 win after hitting a buzzer beater three-pointer. Despite this outcome, the Blues’ powerful pair, Iñaki Alvarez, who carried both teams with 40 points, and Callum Baker, who secured 28 points and four assists, had an outstanding offensive performance.
After a well deserved break, though, the Blues were back in action on Wednesday, January 4 when they faced the York Lions at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. They previously faced Lions on November 16, 2022 and brought home a 69–60 win.
The Lions came out strong in the first quarter; they closed in on the Blues defensively and managed to take an early six-point lead. Although the Blues moved the ball quickly and created many goal-scoring opportunities, things really took off for the Blues in the second quarter.
Blues’ guard, Baker, created smart offensive plays and attacked the key with speed, securing 10 points in the second quarter. By the end of the second, the Blues took an 11-point lead and went into halftime with a score of 41–30.
In the second half, the Lions were determined to shorten the Blues’ lead and applied tighter coverage in attempts to shut down the opposing offense. However, the Blues were able to maintain a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Despite the Lions’ efforts to make a late comeback, the Blues came out in the final quarter looking to increase their lead and they did just that: the Blues secured a final score of 93–72.
The powerful pair did it again: Baker led the Blues with 31 points, five assists, and three rebounds while Alvarez finished with 19 points, three assists, and three rebounds.
In a post-game interview with The Varsity, Alvarez was elated with his team’s performance. “I thought we played really good defense,” he stated. “We fought together as a team, we moved the ball pretty well on offense, [and] a lot of guys were getting involved so I thought that was good.”
On Saturday, January 7, the Blues men’s basketball team won in Guelph with a final score of 99–85. The Blues are ranked first in the OUA Central division, at 9–2 overall with a 0.818 win percentage. The Blues will play Lakehead University on January 13 and look to prolong their dominance.