Div 1 Blue battles KPE

Blue plays final game of fall semester, sits fourth in standings

The Division 1 UTM Eagles men’s Blue basketball team outperformed the U of T kinesiology and physical education basketball team for an 87-80 win last Wednesday, putting Blue solidly over the .500 mark with a 4-3 record.

Both teams started off at a quick pace, although they had trouble getting shots to fall. UTM’s Tariq Ado broke the ice for his team, opening the scoring at just over two minutes into the game. KPE had a tough time capitalizing on many opportunities during the first quarter of the game; they took many uncontested shots that would hit and slip into the hands of a UTM defender. After a timeout at the 7:33 mark, KPE seemed to find its rhythm, slowing the pace and passing the ball much more effectively under the net, where KPE’s Erec Kingston had little trouble putting the ball into the basket.

Once the Eagles slowed their own pace, they were able to organize themselves and get into a defensive rhythm. Victor Dang made a major block against Kingston, allowing UTM’s Tyrelle Subban to dribble the ball down the court and make a clutch jump shot, putting UTM at a 28-21 lead. Subban was a vital player for the Eagles in the first half, not missing a single basket and scoring eight points to take his team to halftime with a lead of 34-23.

The second half started off much more controlled and organized, with both teams passing the ball more effectively, leading to more scoring opportunities. UTM put their trust in Subban, who continued to dominate with more clutch baskets, scoring five three-pointers during the half and rarely missing his free throws and two-point jump shots; he ended the night with a total of 26 points.

KPE exposed a flaw in the Eagles’ play: they found them covering the three-point line more vigorously than other parts of the court, leaving the area under the net open. KPE took advantage of this weak spot and put Devante Brown and Prabjit Singh-Ajrawat in the paint, passing to them often and letting the big men repeatedly put the ball in the basket. Brown and Singh-Ajrawat finished the game with 14 and 22 points respectively.

KPE’s Patrick Dooc was a firecracker, playing well above his size, creating great opportunities for his team to score points and making two outstanding three-point shots to inch his team closer to the tying mark. Dooc’s performance solidified him as KPE’s MVP of the night. Unfortunately, a collision with another player forced Dooc to limp off the court with a hamstring injury, sidelining him for the rest of the game.

After Dooc was benched, his team’s shot at winning slipped away. Eagles guard Greg Roberts connected on clutch free throw shots to lengthen the lead. KPE scored a total of 57 points in the second half—more than doubling their first-half performance—but it wasn’t enough to give them the win.

After the game, UTM’s Tyrelle Macdonald reiterated the comments the Eagles’ head coaches had made at halftime: “We need to come out less anxious in the beginning of the game and settle down so we can make shots that we know we can make,” he said. He attributed his team’s strength in the second half to their shots at half.

The UTM men’s Blue team is now fourth in the Division 1 standings at the end of the fall semester, the halfway point in the season. Blue will be back on the court on January 15 to take on UTSG’s Rotman team.

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