The young Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) men’s basketball team wrapped up their NCAA summer series with a 108-76 loss to the Oregon Ducks, leaving them with a 1-2 record.
The game packed the Mattamy Athletic Centre to near capacity on Friday night and included front row guests, Memphis Grizzlies defensive stalwart Dillon Brooks and Toronto Raptors big Chris Boucher, who both showed up to support their alma mater, Oregon.
Kel’El Ware opened the scoring for the Ducks, but it was Canadian Quincy Guerrier who carried the Oregon offence through the early stages of the game until Toronto Metropolitan University coach Jeremie Kayeye called a timeout to talk things over with his squad.
“The magnitude of the game was getting to our guys,” said Kayeye. “I see [Oregon] get a couple offensive rebounds, we’re not pressuring the ball, and I thought okay, this cannot go on…They’ve had their punch. That’s great; let’s readjust with this.”
TMU’s star player Aaron Rhooms, who has had a busy summer spending time with the Scarborough Shooting Stars, the Globl Jam training camp, and the Ball Don’t Stop Pro-Am, responded by taking control over the offence and scoring 12 of his 22 points in the first quarter while showcasing his ability to score from every range.
Oregon’s Brennan Rigsby responded to keep his team in the lead by shooting 66.7 per cent from three-point range on the game on his way to 18 points, seven assists, and four rebound games. Ware would begin to grind down the TMU front court and scored a game-high 26 points and seven rebounds.
While Oregon took a 56-32 lead into halftime, TMU would come out the break on fire with Liam O’Leary Orange hitting a three, followed by Rhooms hitting another to cut the lead down to seven while Oregon’s dominant three-point shooting went cold, but Oregon quickly adjusted to attacking the rim and racking up the fouls against the young TMU side who worked with a slightly shorter bench against Oregon.
“It’s a process of running out of gas,” said Kayeye. “It’s no excuse, but it’s a fact that for a lot of these guys, it’s their first time.”
While Rhooms was dominant, the shooting duo of Ankit Choudhary and Simon Chamberlain were subject to pressure from Oregon all game long, holding Choudhary to 10 points and Chamberlain to 15.
“Obviously, the competition is much higher,” said Choudhary. “I’ll have to watch the film, take what I can as far as making better reads and plays, offensively and defensively.”
TMU will now take a month off to study the film and prepare for the upcoming Ontario University Athletics (OUA) season and will be back in action on Oct. 1 when they face Bishop’s Gaiters in a preseason match-up. Over the next month, Kayeye says his team will iron out the defensive issues that arose in their NCAA matchups and be ready for an OUA season where TMU is projected to be one of the best teams in the league.
“We just have to be more confident; we’re bound to have targets on our backs,” said Rhooms. “Instead of shying away from it, I think we should embrace it.”
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Oregon players Quincy Guerrier, Keeshawn Barthelemy and Ethan Butler. The first two being from Montreal and Butler born and raised in Toronto. All three were able to play in front of Canadian fans on this tour, which included stops in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto this evening.
Aaron Rhooms game-high 22ps 8rebs
Simon Chamberlain 15pts 4rebs
Liam O’Leary-Orange 12pts 3rebs
Ankit Choudhary 10pts
Quincy Guerrier 9pts 2rebs
Keeshawn Barthelemy 15pts 3asts
Ethan Butler: 3pts 7rebs
Toronto Metropolitan University vs. University of Oregon boxscore click HERE.
Photo courtesy Jason Seto