The crowd slowly filed into the RAWC in anticipation of the game between the UTM men’s White Eagles and Scarborough. Both teams warmed up on their respective sides of the court, and as the game drew closer, you could sense that both teams wanted the win.
The members of UTM White have slowly been forming an identity for themselves over their last couple of games. They have become a strong rebounding team, and their defence is starting to show at just the right time.
It was a closely contested game at the start, with both teams playing tough defence and not allowing any easy baskets. UTSC had the better start offensively, with their shooters knocking down shots from outside and inside. Their ball movement early on in the game caused problems for the Eagles’ defence, and UTSC took an early 15–9 lead.
UTM’s coach, Juan Nunez, quickly took to his bench to keep the game from slipping away and put some life into the offence. The bench answered his call. UTM big men Harris Nvrkanovic and Jeff Thorpe protected the basket, denying any easy points in the paint. UTM’s bench continued to flourish, getting their hands in the passing lanes, which led to easy baskets on the other end.
The Eagles continued to move the ball, and with the assists flowing, they built their lead to 11 points by the time there was 2:10 left in the first half. But UTSC ended the half stronger. UTSC’s coach had been screaming at his players the whole half to get their hands up and play tough, and they finally started listening to him. They got their hands up and started collecting some offensive rebounds. UTSC went on an 11–2 run to end the first half, but UTM was still up 34–30.
The second half of the game was all about offensive rebounding. Both teams started off the second half in much the same way they had started the first: with intense defence. This meant many missed shots—and with missed shots comes a chance for rebounds. This is how the Eagles won the game.
Nvrkanovic and Thorpe picked up six offensive rebounds between them, which lead to 14 second-chance points for the Eagles. Both UTSC’s coach and its players were visibly frustrated at their own lack of rebounding. The crowd screamed for their home team, and some trash-talking erupted between members of the UTSC team and someone in the crowd. It was nothing serious, and the referees calmed the situation down.
Nunez maximized his 13 players and kept his rotation neat throughout the game. The Eagles won with a score of 81–67. Afterwards, he congratulated his players on a game well played.
It was a game of runs and defence: both teams had runs that could have easily led their teams to victory, and White’s defence has steadily improved over the course of the season. Considering the impressive play they’re showing on offence, they’re getting hot at the right time.