On Wednesday night, the UTM Eagles took the court against U of T Law for UTM’s final game of the season in Division 1 basketball action. The Eagles came into the game with a near-perfect 9-1 record, coming off a hard-fought win against the second-place Woodsworth team. U of T Law was 2-8 and fighting for a playoff position coming into Wednesday night’s game. Having already secured a playoff position, UTM was only looking to take the top spot in the standings.
As the game began, it was clear that both teams had come to win. UTM took the opening tipoff and opened the game with a bucket and foul, and Law responded in a similar fashion to make the score 3-3 early in the game. UTM had an organized attack and scored several baskets, but Law was keeping a strong possession and forcing UTM into fouls. At the five-minute mark, Law sunk two free throws to tie the game up at 10-10. Afterwards, Law seemed to tire out, and the Eagles took advantage of it, scoring four straight baskets to secure an 18-10 lead.
However, Law did not back down and continued forcing UTM into fouls until they brought the score back to 18-14. The Eagles responded with a couple of baskets, but Law had found a groove and nearly closed the gap, forcing UTM to call a timeout leading by just 23-21.
The Eagles returned with renewed vigour and started with a quick three-point shot. They were clearly refreshed, moving the ball around quickly, scoring baskets on fast breaks, and getting three straight steals to rack up a 31-21 lead. But Law turned around again and scored a couple of three-pointers to tie it at 31-31. After this, the game became very tight, UTM scoring off several steals and fast breaks and Law responding with free throws. The half ended with UTM getting blocked and Law getting a free throw to tie the game once more at 41-41.
The second half began at a much slower pace than the first, both teams focusing on their defensive play. After two minutes of pressure, Law broke the deadlock with a three-point shot, and UTM immediately responded with one of their own. The pace remained slow, but UTM’s foul troubles kept coming back, giving up several opportunities recklessly and allowing Law a 48-45 lead. UTM responded with a quick bucket and foul to tie the game up once again at 48-48. This was followed by four scoreless minutes during which both teams looked tired.
UTM once again broke the deadlock on a fast break, and started taking advantage of Law’s short bench. The exhausted Law players could not contain the speedy Eagles, and after several more steals and transition baskets, UTM had put together a 58-50 lead. Law continued fighting, but they were no longer a match for a more motivated UTM team, who continued to take advantage of any and every fast break, bringing the lead to a compelling 64-55.
There was no stopping the Eagles in the endgame—an acrobatic rebound gave them another basket and the cheers of the small crowd that had come to watch. Law responded with a three-pointer, but UTM kept laying on the transition points and brought the score to 70-58. Law put in one last effort in the final minute of play, scoring another basket, but the Eagles did not let up, and ended the game with a final steal and basket to earn a 76-61 win.
This win secures the top spot for the UTM Eagles and gives them the best possible playoff draw.
The fans are excited that the team has been so successful this season. “It’s awesome to see the team winning so much; they just always find a way to get the job done,” says Wesley Fabroa, a first-year UTM student. “I can’t wait until playoffs, when they face the best teams in the league. Those will be some fun games to watch.”
UTM has next week off as the other teams finish their regular seasons. The Eagles return to action in three weeks for a semi-final game against the fourth seed of the division.
This article has been corrected from the print edition. The title was “Eagles law down the law on Woodsworth” rather than “on U of T Law”.