Windsor walk-off sinks Bold at the buzzer
Reading time: 3 minutes
By Julian Bettencourt
Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) men’s basketball team Bold suffered heartbreak in overtime after a thrilling battle with the University of Windsor Lancers, conceding a buzzer beater in the last second and losing a 97-95 contest at the Mattamy Athletic Center (MAC).
“Big loss, man. It took us a while to get into the game,” said fourth-year forward Akeem Clarke. “We did our best and it wasn’t enough, but we have a game tomorrow so we just have to get into it.”
TMU took an early 11-5 lead, highlighted by an impressive fadeaway jumper from Aaron Rhooms and a three-pointer from Ankit Choudhary that was almost converted from the half-court logo.
That three-pointer particularly highlighted Choudhary’s impressive first half with 13 points filled with deep threes and contested finishes on the edge. He also contributed six rebounds and six assists that night.
The fight continued until halftime. Windsor’s star duo of Thomas Kennedy and Najee Brown-Henderson combined for 50 points and gave the Bold a headache on the defensive end. On Kennedy in particular, Bold head coach David DeAveiro took pride in how his team limited the big man.
“[Kennedy] had a good night but didn’t dominate the game like other games. I thought [Brown-Henderson] was the guy who took the big shots tonight,” he said. “A good player like [Kennedy] punishes you when you make mistakes”.
The half ended on a high when Clarke pulled off a beautiful spin and finished, in a performance he described as his best of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Conference to date.
“Before I came here, I didn’t really know how to play basketball, I was just the size,” Clarke said. “Trainer [DeAveiro] helped me put all the pieces together and now I’ve played my best OUA game ever because of him.”
Clarke has seen an increase in minutes in the Bold’s recent games and has faced some of the league’s best centers during this period.
“I just have to bang with them. It was a good test,” Clarke said. “I’ve learned a lot on defense and I’m ready to go again.”
Clarke finished the game with seven points, five rebounds and numerous blocks – which for some reason didn’t show up on the stat sheet – in an 18-minute shift that Bold equaled in his career.
The third quarter was a different story. The Lancers started the second half with a 16-2 run and beat the hosts 25-11.
Even midway through the fourth quarter, the Bold seemed to have run out of energy. Windsor appeared to be holding TMU in check until third-year guard Mouhamed Ndiaye pulled off a pair of quick catch-and-shoot threes. A Rhooms steal and dish saw David Walker in a fantastic breakaway dunk that got everyone on their feet in the MAC.
The Bold was one ahead with just a few seconds left. In Windsor’s last regular game, Brown-Henderson was fouled on a three-point try, sending him to the line for a three-shooter and possibly sealing the game.
Henderson, who has been a 75 percent free throw shooter this season, only partially converted one of three free throws due to the raging crowd.
After last weekend’s win over the Carleton Ravens, DeAveiro urged TMU’s student body to come out to more games.
“I still think so [is] Community, I don’t know if it’s the student body or not. If it was a thank you, come out to the next one. I want to pack this place,” DeAveiro said.
During extra time, the two teams went back and forth. For TMU, it was Walker who came alive and scored 10 points in five minutes. However, it was Brown-Henderson, making up for his earlier mistakes, who deflated the buzzer beat shot and shocked the TMU crowd in attendance.
“Some of us are down but some of us are up because we played hard. They got lucky, I feel like,” Walker said. “Fatigue will take a small toll tomorrow but we just have to keep working hard. That’s basketball.”
UP NEXT: The Bold are back on the MAC to take on the Western Mustangs tomorrow, January 28th. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.