This past Saturday, November 10th, our men’s varsity basketball team took on the fourth ranked team in the OCAA West conference: the Sheridan Bruins. In a fast-paced, physical game in which our Eagles fought from start to finish, they fell 89 to 110.
You could feel the tension in the atmosphere, from warmup, to the seconds just before opening tip. Despite facing a juggernaut in the OCAA, our Eagles held their own, keeping up with the high-paced game set by their opponents while also keeping within striking distance of them.
Our Eagles racked up fouls early in the game, sending the Bruins to the foul line with over five minutes left to play in the first quarter. After a sluggish start, UTM opened the second quarter with improved focus and intensity. They continued to fight and keep pace, cutting a ten-point Sheridan lead to single digits near the end of the first half. But fouls by UTM continued to impede their progress against the Bruins, once again sending Sheridan to the foul line in penalty.
The Eagles began the second half with much of the same intensity they started the second. In the middle of the third quarter, UTM’s Zamam Khan, hits a three-pointer from the corner and is fouled in the act. He completes the four-point play giving his team a boost in momentum. Back to back threes by Kyle Krist, and then by Nicholas Kwantwi, put UTM within five points of the Bruins. Full-court pressure defence by Sheridan forced UTM into sloppy passes, and flustered transition defence, which put the Bruins back up by double-digits to the final quarter.
Although UTM kept Sheridan from running away with the game for the first three quarters, and half way into the fourth, they were unable to contain the onslaught of fast-break points made by Sheridan. Our Eagles made one final push, but they were unable to stop the bleeding once it had started.
“I don’t think we had that hot a start,” says Khan, who had 21 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and made 4 three-pointers before fouling out of the game. “I feel like if we didn’t let them get to such a good start, it would’ve been a lot closer towards the end.”
Men’s varsity Head Coach, Nkosi Adams, says the goal now is to focus on putting together a more complete game. “Right now we have spurts where we play well, and then we have lapses,” says Adams. He says it’s the little things his team needs to work on. Little things like foul shots and layups. “It takes everything out of you when you’re coming back and you’re missing an easy layup or an easy shot. But it’s a work in progress.”
Despite the lack of consistency, Khan doesn’t believe the final score tells the whole story. “They may have beat us by 20, but it’s not a fair reflection of how hard we played,” Khan says.
UTM now falls 2-4 in the season. They look to bounce back with a win next Sunday, November 18th on the road against the Conestoga Condors