Sunday, 18 October 2009

Marauders capture Redbird Classic with second half comeback

The Marauders completely took the game over in the second half with their defense especially, turning a 10 point halftime deficit into a 23 point route over the Ottawa Gee-Gees in a battle of two previously-undefeated teams. Mac allowed only 17 second-half points after 6'4" fifth-year guard Josh Gibson-Bascombe lit up Love Hall for 25 first-half point giving the Gee-Gees a 50-40 lead at the break. But the tough, physical Marauders, led by 5'11" point Jermaine DeCosta, guarded the ball very well and made shots, taking the lead for good with about 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter and rode the hot shooting of 6'2" Tyrell Vernon (24 points, 4-7 3's), a tournament all-star, and tournament MVP 6'6" Keenan Jeppesen (22 points, 11 rebounds) to remain unbeaten at 5-0. Gibson-Bascombe finished with 35 points including 5-8 from 3 point land to lead all scorers while fellow fifth-year senior Donnie Gibson added 16.

Gee-Gees Head Coach Dave DeAveiro praised Mac's defense and lamented his less experienced players "our young guys had an eye-opener today against a top team that can lock down the dribble... apart from our two fifth-year guys we could not score when it counted against their strong, aggressive defence". While Ottawa finished 9-23 from downtown, the Gee-Gees made only 3 of 12 3's in the second half in the face of Mac's lock down "d". Mac outscored Ottawa 55-17 in the second half.

Mac coach Joe Raso was elated with his team's performance in the second half, calling their play especially defensively "incredible - by far the best we've played all year". "They came out and did exactly what we talked about at halftime and there's nothing that pleases a coach more." Raso also praised his bench, especially Scott Laws and "Matt Willusz stepped up and became a real CIS player this afternoon". Raso added that "Josh was fantastic and we were able to wear him and Donnie (Gibson) down a little, but both were very good today for Ottawa."

6'7" freshman Ryan Christie added 13 points and 9 rebounds for McMaster. Gee-Gees 6'6" second year forward Warren Ward played sparingly due to the flu.

McGill faces UQAM at 4 PM as the tournament concludes.

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