It wasn’t the prettiest day on court for Aaron Redpath, but the rookie guard scrapped his way to 21 points and led the Marauders past the Windsor Lancers on Feb. 25. With the 77-67 victory on home court, Mac moves into the OUA Final Four hosted at Waterloo and will play a conference semifinal on Mar. 2.
The 10-point margin of victory in the Saturday afternoon quarterfinal flatters McMaster, after what was a hotly-contested playoff match which came down to the wire. High percentage shooting for the Marauders was the order of the day, and allowed the home side to stay one step ahead of a Lancer team that was dominating the glass for much of the contest.
Hitting for over 50% in the opening quarter, Mac led 15-12 despite strong play from the Lancers’ Lien Phillip. That trend continued in the second frame, as the Marauders used the fast break effectively to find easy looks, and were consistently finding the net with the short range jumper.
The hosts suffered a spate of turnovers in the second quarter which threatened to overturn their lead, but when rookie point guard Adam Presutti notched a gutsy pull-up jumper to end the opening half, the Marauders clung to a 37-34 lead.
McMaster’s young backcourt duo of Redpath and Presutti were pacing the Maroon and Grey’s attack at the break, with the former leading the way with 10 points, while the latter had yet to miss a shot of any kind and had nine points of his own.
An uninspired offensive start to the second half and a dominant rebounding effort from the Lancers saw McMaster slip behind in the third quarter, but the hosts would level the match at 51 by the end of the period when Joe Rocca drained a textbook triple off of a Presutti bounce pass.
A 7-0 run from the Marauders put them back into the driver’s seat to open the fourth frame, but once again, Windsor would claw back to within striking distance. Five consecutive points from the Lancers’ Rotimi Osuntola Jr. brought the visitors within a point at 63-62, with 4:15 remaining in the quarterfinal match.
Despite a technical foul, the Lancers would take a 67-66 with two minutes remaining, but would not score another point in the dying stages. Rocca retook the lead for the Marauders with a miraculous dribble drive and lay-in, before Cam Michaud added two of his own on a finger roll to make it a three point game with 1:14 remaining.
With the game still in reach, the Lancers put the final nail in their own coffin, succumbing to the Marauders’ pressure defense. Managing a steal at half court, the hosts found Redpath on the break and the rookie found the lay-up and a foul on the play. After the rookie drained the extra point, the Marauders led 73-67 with only a minute on the clock. It was a purely academic exercise from there.
Redpath was easily the man of the match with 21 points, 13 of those coming from the charity stripe. The rookie guard consistently caused havoc on the drive, and his 15 attempts from the line speak to his effectiveness in challenging Windsor’s defenders. Cam Michaud and Joe Rocca each added 15 points of their own in the win, while first-year point guard Adam Presutti had nine points and a team-high six assists.
Converting 26 of their 55 attempts from the field, the Marauders shot an impressive 47.3% over the course of four quarters.
With the win, McMaster awaits the outcomes of tonight’s other OUA quarterfinals to determine their opponent on Mar. 2 in Waterloo.