By: Justin Parker
The up and down season for the McMaster men’s basketball team continues, as they dropped a rough 83-62 decision to the Waterloo Warriors on Feb. 4. Despite David McCulloch’s 13 points, the Marauders struggled to contain the Warrirors on defence, allowing Waterloo to outscore them in every quarter.
Poor shooting efforts kept the Marauders off the scoreboard multiple times throughout the game, shooting 32.9 per cent from the field and 20.8 per cent from three. The team was also out-rebounded 43-32, with Connor Gilmore leading the Marauders with eight rebounds.
“We haven’t been shooting the ball particularly well, and that’s been a problem for us,” Gilmore said. “I think we’re executing and moving the ball well, but I think once we start knocking down shots and getting into a groove we’ll be fine.”
Gilmore has been a consistent bright spot on the team throughout the season. He leads the Marauders in points and rebounds, nearly averaging a double-double (19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds). Gilmore’s stats are good enough to rank him third in points and fourth in rebounds in the province.
Gilmore has emerged as a leader amongst a relatively young team. After losing four starters from last year, the Marauders needed more players to step up and take some ownership of the team.
“Dave [McCulloch] stepped up – he’s gone from playing 20 minutes a game last year to now playing close to 40…he’s a great defender and a great leader on the court,” Gilmore said. “Elliot Ormond stepped up a lot…he’s provided tons of energy on defence. He’s a great rebounder, finishes well around the basket, so he’s been great too.”
As of publication, McCulloch is leading the Marauders and Ontario University Athletics in minutes this year, averaging 36.2 per game. In that time he has been showing off his all-around game, averaging 12.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. McCulloch has put in a lot of work in the offseason to fit into a larger role this year.
“I think we surprised a lot of people with how great we were playing in September through November; now it’s a different story.”
Third-year guard, McMaster men’s basketball
“It’s been tough, but in a good way,” McCulloch said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have some very talented players that I’ve learned from in my first two years, so I felt fully prepared when the season came around to fill that larger role.”
Despite the recent struggles, the team is looking ahead.
“This season has taught me a lot about how much you need to grow as a team and gel in order to be successful,” Gilmore said, “I think this is a great group of guys, it’s been really fun playing with them. We’ve gone through ups and downs, but it’s taught me to persevere and stick with everyone and come together as a team.”
McMaster hosts the Algoma Thunderbirds this Saturday, who currently sit at 4-12 on the season. The Thunderbirds average the second-lowest points per game in the OUA and are tied for the second most points per game allowed. In order to obtain a good spot in the playoff picture, the Marauders must stabilize their play and win out their last three games.
“This season has been a roller coaster so far,” McCulloch said. “I think we surprised a lot of people with how great we were playing in September through November; now it’s a different story. We’ve lost a few games and now we’re in a spot where we may not even host a playoff game. But I think with this adversity will come some very good things.”
There is no time like the present to iron out the kinks and figure out their gameplan. A streak of competitive efforts could be the momentum the Marauders need in order to make a strong impression come postseason play.