The UTM Eagles squeezed by Skule A in the season opener, winning 56-52 in the RAWC.
After finishing last season with a record of 9-1-1, the Eagles have high hopes headed into this season, and they started off on a good note. The men’s basketball program competes in the U of T intramural league. They play in Division 1, which is the highest level of competition in U of T intramurals.
The beginning of the game was slow for the Eagles. After scoring the first basket, the offense went silent, only scoring two more points in the first quarter. However, the Eagles repeatedly missed shot after shot and had trouble controlling the ball, leading to many turnovers.
Things weren’t looking good once the second quarter began. The same mistakes from the first quarter continued into half of the second. The Eagles were trailing by as much as 13 before they began to pick up ground. They started to score more and finished the first half trailing by four, thanks to a last second 3-point shot from Ahmed Abu Awad in the dying seconds of the half.
The Eagles had many opportunities to score more, thanks to some awarded free throws. Unfortunately, their woes at the free throw line were evident throughout the first half. The Eagles only shot 1-for-9.
The second half started out much better and stayed that way for the remainder of the game. UTM found a source of motivation and began to push harder, looking to secure a win in the first game. The shooting was better, and the defence was solid. They started to pick up fouls in the paint, which led to more free throw chances. In the end, they shot 11-for-19 from the free throw line, a vast improvement over the first half numbers.
After tying the game during the third quarter, the game became intense. The lead went back and forth between the teams, but in the fourth quarter, the Eagles took the lead and managed to hold on for the last four minutes.
Nick Al-Rehany was the biggest contributor in the game for the Eagles. He led the team with 13 points.
This is a jam-packed season for the Eagles, and they look to make the jump to the OCAA competition next year. This year the squad will play additional exhibition games against OCAA varsity teams and in OCCCR extramural tournaments.
The Eagles play their next regular season match against University College at the Goldring Centre in Toronto on October 17.