On November 4, the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team faced the McMaster Marauders in their first home game of the Ontario University Athletics season. Both teams were neck to neck the entire game, making for an exciting match. Yet, the Blues played aggressively until the end to secure a 102–100 win. 

What happened

Blues guard Aleer Aleer-Leek took the lead after tipoff, scoring the game’s first point and offering a promising start for the Blues. The Marauders were quick to come back and kept the lead throughout the first quarter, with the Blues not far behind. The first quarter ended with the Marauders leading 29–23. 

Aleer Aleer-Leek scored the first bucket of the game. AVERYN NGAN/THE VARSITY

In the second quarter, Blues veteran forward Anthony Daudu showed up defensively under the basket, leading the team in rebounds and initiating several key plays to help the team regroup and maintain a close score. Daudu ended the night with 10 rebounds, making him an essential player in the paint. While the Blues took a while to find their rhythm, the team still played well. 

By halftime, the Marauders led the game 45–37. McMaster guards Mike Demagus and Ewaen ‘AY’ Osunde were essential players to the team’s success, leading the Marauders in points. 

The Blues came out of the locker room ready to bring the heat and catch up to their opponent. With crucial plays by Blues guard Callum Baker and rookie guard Dane Quest, the Blues were finally back in the game. 

Rookie guard Dane Quest was essential for the Blues. AVERYN NGAN/THE VARSITY

The Blues were still trailing behind the Marauders halfway through the third quarter. However, first-year guard Nate Bureau had back-to-back key plays, putting up two three-pointers, a layup, and a free throw that put the Blues in the lead at 68–67 heading into the fourth. In a post-game interview with The Varsity, Baker praised Bureau for his work ethic and talent. 

“In practice every day he shows up and he works hard,” Baker said. “We all have the utmost confidence in Nate to go out there and perform, and he’s one of the best shooters on our team.” 

McMaster pushed back in the last quarter, but a timeout by the Blues helped the team regroup and play harder defensively. After the game, Baker noted that “the game was getting away from us a little bit. And [our coaches] got on us to really defend and get our stops, and that’s how we got back in the game.” 

A layup from Quest sent the Blues into overtime with another chance to seal the win. Fouls between both teams through overtime had fans on the edge of their seats until Baker pushed his way through the paint, scoring a two-point buzzer-beater and ending the game with a Blues victory.

Callum Baker prepares to take on a McMaster Marauder. AVERYN NGAN/THE VARSITY

What’s next

The Blues played a tough game against the Marauders again on the road on November 11, losing 78–80. The Blues now return home to play against the Toronto Metropolitan University Bold on November 15.