Colts drop exhibition tilt to Varsity Blues

U of T gives Centennial tough competition coach was looking for

Centennial's Husam Shallo led the way on offence against U of T whlle the tone on defence. Colts lost the exhibition game but gained valuable experience said coach Michael Jackman. (Zulfi Sheikh/Toronto Observer) 

Centennial Colts fell 102-68 to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in an exhibition game last Friday night at the Goldring Centre.

Malik Gibbs came off the bench and had 12 points, shooting 40 per cent from long range on a night where the Colts really needed his offence. The team only shot 26.7 per cent from three and 34.7 from the field.

It was the first time the Colts, an Ontario colleges team, had played an Ontario university team in recent memory.

“I was trying to feel it out the first couple of quarters, and then towards the end I started to get it going,” said Gibbs, who scored all of his points in the fourth quarter. “I should have went a little bit earlier, and just played my game from the jump, but I just wanted to see it out first.”

Malik Gibbs showed off his long-range shooting in his first game of the preseason. (Zulfi Sheikh/Toronto Observer)

Centennial showed their pesky defence, finding some success in their full-court presses.

Led by starting guard Husam Shallo and his 13 points and four steals, the Colts showed off their hands and their speed, racking up 12 steals as a team and getting out in transition often.

Trailing 49-26 at the half, Centennial came out in the third quarter on fire, with a three by Taye Crawford and two consecutive baskets by center Omar Nur, at the elbow and in the paint, respectively. The run was punctuated by an alley-oop midway through the third quarter from Crawford to Nur, but the Blues’ offence was just too much as they pulled away again.

University of Toronto was led by an all-around game from Noah Ngamba, with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Anthony Daudu stuffed the stat sheet as well, recording 11 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block.

The offence was rolling for the whole team, as five players reached double digits and everyone who touched the floor scored at least five points. The Blues showcased their three-point shooting as well, shooting 36.8 percent from deep as a team.

Despite the tough loss, the Colts saw the silver lining in a game like this as they prepare for the OCAA season.

“It’s a good experience,” said Nur, who had 12 points and eight rebounds. “To get live up-and-down reps against good competition, it’s a good opportunity.”

Head coach Michael Jackman echoed that sentiment, speaking to the impact of an exhibition game like this one, even without a victory.

“Hugely important for our growth. Hugely important for our confidence … I had the pre-season schedule set up to where we’re playing colleges and universities both so we can prepare for our competition and our OCAA conference,” said Jackman after the game.

“It’s important to know these games are preparing us for our OCAA challenges that are going to be coming up, so these games are only going to help us get better.”

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Posted: Oct 11 2023 7:11 pm
Filed under: Basketball College Sports