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By: Jaycee Cruz

The importance of rebounding is old-hat in basketball circles. Ask a coach about how his team can improve and taking care of the glass is bound to come up. For the McMaster men’s basketball team, rebounding is one of their greatest strengths.

McMaster ranks eighth in the country when it comes to total rebounds per game, averaging a healthy 42 rebounds per game. If we dive deeper, Mac ranks fifth in defensive rebounds per contest (29.7) and 18th in offensive rebounds per game (12.3).

Mac’s rebounding has helped their recent success in their double-digit wins over Waterloo and Guelph. In both games, the rebound battle was close in the first half, but the Marauders increased their intensity on the glass in the second half.

This helped them increase their leads and secure victories over the Warriors and Gryphons. McMaster out-rebounded Waterloo 48 to 22 and out-rebounded Guelph 44 to 29.

“In our first half against Waterloo our scoring totals off of our defensive rebounds were horrendous. We had 16 defensive boards that led to seven fast-break points. In the second half it was like our defensive rebounding was turning into double the points,” said Amos Connolly, head coach the men’s basketball team.

“The rebound is one thing. The tempo at which you break out of it is another. I thought that we were better in the second half of the Waterloo and Guelph games,” said Connolly.

“We were better at translating a defensive rebound into a stressful possession the other way.”

A high-pressure possession is created by grabbing the defensive rebound and pushing the pace up the floor, which is a style McMaster likes to play. Run outs lead to easy points in transition.

“I think if you can get to the paint in eight seconds and stress the defense that way, that’s great. Whether that’s a post player running down the floor, rim-to-rim, or you enter the ball up the sideline and that guy attacks or gets into a threatening area within eight seconds, I think that’s good,” Connolly said.

Mac isn’t the biggest team in the nation. Their tallest regular-rotation players are Connor Gilmore and Taylor Black who both stand around 6’ 7”.

For what they lack in height, they make up in speed. One of Mac’s strengths is their quickness, which helps create favorable number advantages for the Marauders in transition. Connolly thinks pushing tempo is necessary with a team full of guys that hover around the 6’ to 6’ 5” mark.

“I think we’re deep and I think we’re athletic and I think we’re a little bit small. I think pushing pace makes sense for a team like this,” said Connolly.

It’s important that Mac knows that they have pieces that need to be used in certain capacities to yield successful results.

Despite the fact that a relatively fast tempo is ideal for the Marauders’ offense, they will slow the game down when it is necessary.

However, a fast pace is their first choice if they can get out in transition before the defense gets set.

“We do run half court sets when we have to. We attack a set defense with a set offense but the first look off of a defensive rebound is a run out,” said Connolly.

The Marauders have four games remaining in their regular season and they are all home games.

McMaster will take on the Queen’s Gaels next on Feb. 7 here at Burridge Gymnasium. Tip off is set for 2 p.m.

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