It was a big stage with a great crowd, but the McMaster men's basketball team spoiled the party by beating the Brock Badgers 80-69 in front of 2,673 OUA fans at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
It was a game of runs from the tip as McMaster jumped in front 8-2, only to see Brock go on a tear to take a 20-13 lead behind big man Dani Elgadi. Mac scored the last two hoops of the quarter though, and after 10 minutes, the Badger lead was 20-17.
The Badgers maintained the margin through most of the second stanza, but McMaster again closed strongly to win the quarter and take a 37-34 lead into the intermission.
Brock fought back in the third quarter to re-take the lead at 46-45 and the teams started trading baskets, before another late push gave McMaster a 58-54 lead heading to the final quarter.
Fouls started to catch up to the Badgers as starters Ryan Bennett and Tyler Brown both fouled out early in the period, leaving Brock shorthanded. McMaster started to add to the lead and a huge trey from Aaron Redpath gave McMaster a 73-63 lead, forcing Brock to call timeout to stop the bleeding.
McMaster kept rotating in players to stay fresh and the Marauder depth paid off as Brock ran out of gas and the men in maroon ended play with a 10-4 run to close out the big win.
Leon Alexander scored 28 points for McMaster in a terrific effort and got solid support from Rohan Boney with 16 and Redpath with 14. Elgadi was a monster and finished with a game-high 36 and 12 boards for the Badgers.
McMaster now moves ahead of Brock in the OUA Central division standings, and more importantly moves ahead of the Badgers in RPI and is in position for a first-round playoff bye.
The Marauders close out the schedule at Guelph on Friday, February 26.
Source: McMaster Marauders