The UTM Varsity Eagles Men’s basketball team played their first game of the season, an exhibition pre-season game against the York University Lions. Fresh out of tryouts, a young and eager roster struggled to form any kind of chemistry or rhythm. Unable to keep up with the taller and more experienced Lions, they fell in a massive beatdown: 100-47.
The Eagles had some good energy to start the first quarter, but it didn’t take long for the Lions to take over. With 3.7 seconds left, the Eagles had a chance to take the final shot of the quarter, but UTM Eagles number four Nana Osei Tutu Sarfo turned the ball over, and committed an unsportsmanlike technical foul leading to two free-throws for York. The Lions lead the Eagles 30-6 to end the first quarter.
UTM began the second quarter with much of the same energy they started with in the first, but York was bigger and stronger. The Eagles defence picked up, double teaming early and increasing pressure on the ball before York could run an offence. The Lions struggled to score.
UTM’s number 11, second-year guard George Karagan, whipped a crisp cross court pass to number two, first year guard Keaton Thornton, who hit the three-pointer. UTM was able to draw two fouls and get trips to the free throw line, but they were unable to make foul shots. With just over two minutes left to play in the first half, UTM’s improved defence kept the Lions to just four points in the quarter. York’s scoring draught ended in a flash. Missed layups and sloppy passes by the Eagles led to quick and easy Lion points. The York Lions scored 14 in the final two minutes of the half, leading the Eagles going into half time, 49-15.
To start the third quarter, York continued where they left off in the first half with an offensive onslaught. They outhustled the Eagles to rebounds and fifty-fifty balls, leading to more points. Eagle’s second-year center, number one Andreas Jankovic made a turn around hook shot, scoring UTM’s first points since mid-way through the second quarter. York responded with three three-pointers in a row, in a matter of seconds, leading to a UTM timeout.
Out of the time out, York continued to outplay the Eagles, even with York’s starters pulling out of the game. Eagles guard number 17 Baridillo Poroman hit a three-pointer to end a five-minute scoring drought. But he turned the ball over on a pass, which led to an emphatic Lions dunk. The UTM Eagles score just eight points to the York Lions’ 29 in the third quarter. Lions lead 78-23.
Despite the starters resting for the remainder of the game, York didn’t let up in the fourth quarter. The York Lion reserved play with just as much intensity, refusing to let the Eagles get out and run. More UTM turnovers led to more York buckets. UTM’s Kargan, currently one of the smallest on the floor, grabbed a big rebound that led an Eagles break. He made a run from one end of the court to the other, went for the layup, made contact but couldn’t finish. The trailing Jankovic grabbed the board and finished with a layup.
UTM’s defence seemed to crumble, and they couldn’t stop the bleeding as York got almost everything they wanted on offence. UTM continued to draw York fouls, but struggled to capitalize at the free throw line. With just minutes left to play in the contest, UTM made one last push. Thornton, proving himself to be a young sharp shooter hit another three pointer. Eagles number 15 Shaquille David drove to the basket and finished at the rim despite contact. On another possession, UTM’s number 14, first-year guard Luke Burston, swung the ball to David who sunk the corner three. On a UTM break, Thornton hit Karagan with a lead pocket pass, who finished with a right-hand layup and drew a foul. Karagan missed the free throw, but the Eagles hustled for the board leading to a York turnover under their basket. On the baseline out of bounds play, Eagles guard Henry Lao popped out to the corner. Burston hit the popping Lao who hit the short-corner jump shot.
Eagles were eaten alive in the Lions’ den, in a massive 100-47 defeat. UTM won’t be facing York in their upcoming season, as York plays in the OUA (Ontario University association) while the Eagles play in the OCAA (Ontario College Athletic Association). Though a brutal beatdown, this preseason exhibition hopefully shed some light on what work the Eagles need to do to be ready for the upcoming season. UTM Eagles Men’s Basketball team plays their first official league game on October 18 against the Seneca Sting on the road.