Nearly one year ago, at the Goldring Centre, the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team tasted an incredible victory against the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold. On November 15, the Blues were unsuccessful in recreating that memory, losing 96–91. 

Coming off the weekend when they lost by two points to the McMaster Marauders, the Blues tried their best to get the win against the Bold. The lack of assertiveness from the three-point line and in transition made it hard for the Blues to close the nine-point gap that reigned the game right from the first quarter. 

What happened

The Blues won the initial tip-off, yet the first two points of the game came from Bold forward Lincoln Rosebush. Still, the first triple and the Blues’ only lead of the quarter — and of the game — came from guard Callum Baker, assisted by forward Lennart Weber. Baker is currently the top scorer in the Ontario University Athletics, averaging 25.8 points per game. 

Shortly after, the match went to 12–11 mainly due to a triple from Bold guard David Walker, and the Blues’ initial seven-point lead was nearly gone. The Bold took the lead in the following play, where Rosebush grabbed and scored off of his own rebounded shot. The Blues scored five more points in the rest of the quarter, ending it with the Bold up 26–17. 

The second quarter started with Weber connecting a layup from under the net, making the eyes of the crowd shine with excitement, hoping to see the Blues make a comeback. Moreover, Bold guard Gabriel Gutsmore missed a triple, which resulted in Weber stealing the rebound and swiftly passing to guard Dane Quest — but he also missed the shot. 

Shortly after, Blues forward Anthony Daudu shortened the difference by scoring a three-pointer. Overall, Daudu contributed 15 points that night, seconding Baker, who finished the game with 24 points.

The Bold’s man-to-man defense made things difficult for the Blues. Bold forward Simon Chamberlain grabbed a rebound and quickly passed to Bold guard Marsei Caston, who drilled a three to increase the Bold’s lead, 38–26. By halftime, the Blues were down 51–40. 

The third quarter kicked off with the same 11-point difference in the score. The missing shots and inaccuracies kept the breach. The Bold’s largest lead came this quarter with a difference of 15 points, while the Blues were below 74–59. 

In the fourth quarter, the audience went wild celebrating an outstanding steal and layup from Baker, who put the game 79–70. Amazingly, Baker did this play again and put the score 79–72. The crowd was on the edge of their seats as the Blues were progressively playing better, a potential comeback looming. 

A particular standout was Blues guard Nathan Bureau, who scored three points from the free-throw line after Caston committed a personal foul. Overall, Bureau was perfect from the line, scoring all seven of his free throws, and ended the game with 13 points. Bureau was a bright spot, lifting the crowd with only one minute left on the clock. His points helped the Blues to reduce the Bold’s lead to five, and the game was 94–89. 

At this point, no one wanted to leave the Goldring Centre. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Walker’s foul put Blues forward Ryan Rudnick at the free-throw, and the Blues were four points away from completing a miraculous comeback. Yet, the seconds ran fast, the time was up, and the game ended, the Blues losing 96–91. 

What’s next

On November 18, the Blues and Bold played each other again, this time at TMU, but the Blues lost 100–93. Now on a three-game losing streak, the Blues will play back-to-back games against the York Lions on November 24 and November 25.