McMaster opened the home portion of their OUA basketball season on Friday night and did so in ring-ing fashion.

In a reverse of scheduling, the Marauder men tipped off the action first against the Algoma Thunderbirds and picked up their third victory of the 2019-20 campaign.

Even though they had a shift in their start time, the Marauder men came out ready to play and easily handled the Thunderbirds, downing them 83-53.

McMaster would score the first bucket of the game and never look back, outscoring Algoma 14-4 over the first five minutes of the game. By the end of the first quarter, the lead ballooned to 24-12 after Jordan Henry hit a three-pointer just prior to the buzzer going off.

The lead continued to row in the second quarter, getting as high as 21 points when Damiann Prehay made a layup for the 37-16 lead with 5:08 left in the half.

When it was time for the teams to take a break, Algoma had cut into the lead by McMaster continued to have comfortable lead at 47-30.

Coming out of the half, both the Thunderbirds and Marauders came out flat as the teams combined for 26 points with McMaster accounting for 15 of them and holding a 21-point lead. They would go on to control the fourth to put another 21 points on the board to Algoma’s 12 for an 83-53 victory.

Five Marauders would find themselves finishing the game with double digit points and two of them picking up double-doubles. Jordan Henry led all Mac players with 18 points while Connor Gilmore and Sefa Otchere each had 11 points. Prehay and Tristan Lindo had identical totals, posting 13 points and 11 rebounds for double doubles. McMasters’ Ezichi Kalu led all players on the floor in rebounding, hauling in 12 rebounds.

For Algoma, Nicholas Gehlen and Peter Wetuvanga led their team in scoring, posting 20 and 15 points respectively in the loss.

The win brings the Marauders’ record to 3-1 on the year, two-points back of Lakehead who leads the OUA Central division.

Prior to the women’s game, the McMaster Athletics Department honoured the 2018-19 U Sports National Championship women’s squad, the first in the program’s history, with a ring ceremony and an unveiling of the championship banner.

Following the ceremony, the Marauder women looked to show why they are the defending national champions.

The ceremony must have had an affect on the team as they allowed Algoma to jump out to a 5-0 lead in the first 30 seconds of the game, but the Marauders settled in and then outscored the Thunderbirds 19-8 the rest of the opening quarter of play.

In the second quarter McMaster smothered the Thunderbirds and virtually put the game away before halftime, outscoring their opponents 29-9 for a 48-22 lead. At the break, Christina Buttenham led the squad with 13 of her 17 points on the evening.

Scoring in the second half tapered off a bit for the Marauders, but the result was never in doubt. They add another three points to their lead after posting 16 points in the third quarter to Algoma’s 13. Then in the fourth Algoma posted their largest point total of the game, scoring 21 points with eight of them coming from Karly Fracalanza as the Marauders had many of their bench on the floor for the final frame.

Francalanza led all scorers with 21 points while her T-Birds teammate Dionne Martin had 11 in the game.

Along with Buttenham, Arianne Soriano (15), Sarah Gates (14) and Olivia Wilson (14) all ended the game in double digits scoring with Wilson collecting 10 rebounds in the game. Bettenham would also lead all players in the game with five steals which helped Mac to score 29 of their points off turnovers.

Friday night’s victory moves the Marauders to 3-1 on the season and are tied for second with the Brock Badgers and two points back for Ryerson in the OUA Central standings.

Both the women and men will be back in action on home court Saturday night when they host the Guelph Gryphons at the traditional start times of 6:00 PM for the women and 8:00 PM for the women.