The Blues suffered a narrow defeat in a thrilling game against the Rotman Whites, ending with a score of 67-74.
The match in Gym C was close from start to finish. Blues point guard Austin Chambers opened the scoring with an incredible three-pointer and left the Whites’ defence in disarray. Chambers sustained the Blues’ lead by bagging another magnificent three-point shot far from the three-point line.
Despite the team’s ability to read plays, the Blues were missing “a big man”, as Chambers pointed out after the game. Indeed, Rotman’s Duncan Milne was crucial to the Whites’ win on Wednesday night, contributing roughly 30% of Rotman’s points. Milne first showed signs of power four minutes into the half when he capitalized on a rebound that followed the solo run of teammate Aaron Yick. Yick couldn’t convert his layup, but Milne soared much higher than the three Blues defenders circling him and tapped the ball into the net. Owing to his height, Milne was instrumental in the Whites’ well-orchestrated defence. Ten minutes before the break, Milne timed a terrific block on Greg Roberts’ layup. At the end of the half, it was clear that the Blues were relying too much on Chambers’ and Kent Bray’s three-point shots to remain in the game.
The intensity increased tenfold in the second half. Milne reopened the scoring after a pass from Yick to round two UTM defenders before dropping the ball into the basket. Chambers responded on the fourth minute with a terrific solo counterattack, rounding Yick, who was alone in defence, to exploit the Whites’ paint on his own and score a layup. Chambers was again the star of the show when he collaborated with Victor Dang on the seventh minute. He raced straight past the Rotman offence before making a quick bounce pass to a streaking Dang, who was able to convert with a layup. Ekpedeme Moren soon followed Chambers’ offensive lead, having grabbed the ball on a rebound to jump high above two Whites guards to score. Roberts soon converted another layup before Bray scored a three-pointer. Roberts then put in a wonderful effort, passing the ball straight to Dang, who scored on a layup without a single Whites defender covering him. UTM were starting to catch up with Rotman, but their efforts couldn’t pull them to victory as Milne and Yick continued to rack up points for Rotman for a win by a mere seven points.
Though the UTM Blues have the talent to win games, their lack of experience is proving a barrier. But “They are increasingly competitive and they performed with great chemistry. The only direction in which they can evolve is forward,” says head coach Amer.
Chambers was the man of the match; he was a constant threat on offence, providing the pace and power necessary for the Blues to capitalize on the transition. His give-and-go play with Bray was very effective, the pair continuously scoring vital points from well behind the three-point arc throughout the entire match. Few opposing players would like to be responsible for defending against him.
UTM Blue will be back in action on January 29, when they take on Skule A, U of T’s engineering society, at St. George.