The UTM men’s division 1 basketball team had a great night on the road against Skule-A in Toronto at the Goldring Centre on Wednesday November 23. The 6-1 championship calibre team dominated the U of T engineering squad 70-42.

Even though the score showed a large gap in the levels of talent, it didn’t reflect the strength of play by Skule A. The engineers’ style of play and the specific officiating had UTM defending with a full-court press. UTM defenders applied pressure to the engineers the entire length of the court for the majority of the game. The pressure applied, man-to-man, was a tiresome feat.

Alessandro Tanzi, UTM’s fourth-year shooter, thought his team got off to a great start. “We had the offense flowing, and our ball movement was great.” He adds special mentions to some players that helped contribute to the win in a strong way: “Greg Roberts played great on the offense, and Shaquille David played well in the paint on defence.”

It was a great night for the talented squad, who had something to prove since they fell short in their home court tournament last Friday, November 18 in the RAWC. The men hosted the extramural tournament, playing other colleges in and around the Southern Ontario area. They faired exceptionally well, winning three games and tying one, but that wasn’t enough to get them to the finals. UTM didn’t advance based on their point differential. Conestoga had a better point differential, scoring 33 more points in the tournament than UTM did with their 24.

It’s unfortunate that the men lost without even losing a game, but Juan Nunez, the head basketball coach, doesn’t dwell on it too much. “I’m not upset. It is a disappointing situation and somewhat frustrating, but at the same time, we had the opportunity to not put ourselves in that situation and didn’t act on it,” says Nunez.

Nunez sees a lot of great qualities in his team, and believes that they’re on the right path. However, he isn’t shying away from pointing out their flaws and working relentlessly to improve on them. “There were times where we were passive in our play and we allowed the other teams to stay in the game or take the lead. Overall, I’m glad with the improvement we’re showing and the progress the guys are having individually and collectively.”

“This tournament did help us for most of the games. [In the tournament], we have played some of the best basketball we have had this year,” he adds. “Above all, we are headed in the right direction, and hopefully we’ll repeat as champions this year.”

The men are back in action on Monday, November 28 against the UTSC Maroons on the UTM home court. Tip-off for their last regular season home game is at 8:00 p.m. This is the last game of the regular season until the exam break is completed. When students return to class, regular season action will resume on January 30.

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