After blowing out the York Lions by 31 points just three weeks ago, the Voyageurs men's basketball team had a much tougher go of it this afternoon in Toronto. The Lions came out firing, leading the Voyageurs through each of the first three quarters but it was the Voyageurs who embodied the adage of 'playing until the final whistle' and walked out of the Tait McKenzie Centre with a 79-77 victory.
The game got off to an ugly start for the Voyageurs who saw almost every shot they put up rattle around the rim and bounce out. After the first quarter, the visitors found themselves down 20-8 and in desperate need of some offence. The offence finally came in the second quarter but not before the Lions had extended the lead to 17. A late push from the Voyageurs saw the teams head into halftime with the same 12 point margin as the first, with the Lions up 41-29.
The Voyageurs began cutting into the lead in the third quarter, taking the lead at one point before the Lions ended the frame on a small run, heading into the fourth quarter up 58-52. The final quarter saw the Voyageurs complete the comeback, taking the lead late and forcing the Lions to hit a game-tying lay-up with 17 seconds left, which set the stage for a wild finish.
The Voyageurs took a timeout after the Lions' basket and elected to advance the ball to the front court, which, in a FIBA rule change this year, set the shot clock at 14 seconds. Kadre Gray, the country's leading scorer, got the ball in his hands and worked the clocked down before putting up a three-point shot. Gray's shot was short and hit off the front rim but the shot clock was not reset, causing the horn to sound, albeit with 3 seconds remaining on the game clock. Nine of the players on the floor stopped as a result of the horn but the Voyageurs' Sam Ivey was heady enough to grab the loose ball and lay it in before the game clock ran out. After some discussion between the officials and the scorer's table, it was ruled that Gray's shot indeed did hit the rim, nullifying the shot clock horn and Ivey's shot would count, giving the Voyageurs the 79-77 victory. Gray led all scorers with 32 points on the day.
The Voyageurs now head to Kingston where they will battle Queen's tomorrow night at 8pm.