The highly anticipated game between The Crew and Great Apes proved to be the main event of Thursday nightâ€™s intramural basketball circuit.
The Crew (2-0), who entered the game as considerable underdogs, rode a 15-point performance from senior guard Josh McGinley to escape with a 55-53 win. The Crew led by as many as 11 points in the second half before the Great Apes narrowed the deficit to just one point, thanks in large part to The Crew hitting just 12-of-27 from the free-throw line.
The Great Apes (1-1) were led by former CSU basketball players Arin Dunn (13 points) and Terel Hughes (8 points). Hughes missed a pair of free throws that would have potentially put his team up 55-54 with less than 20 seconds to play.
McGinley, a former basketball walk-on himself, received help from teammates Keenan Smith, Ryan Coffey, Jake de la Torre and Zach Lund in the win.
â€œComing in we felt like they were the best team in the league,â€ said Smith, who scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds. â€œLast year we didnâ€™t play so well against them. This is a big win for us.â€
Though intramural rosters change with every season, the majority of players from these two teams met a year ago, a game the Great Apes won convincingly. de la Torre believes Thursdayâ€™s victory was a statement to the rest of the competitive league.
â€œ(Great Apes) are stacked. I feel like this win proves we have a real chance at winning the whole thing,â€ de la Torre said. â€œDefensively on the help side we needed to be strong. All of them can drive. We played good defense.â€
Great Apeâ€™s senior guard Ian Oliphant hit a pair of three-pointers down the stretch that kept the game within reach. After the game, Oliphant was quick to point out the difference in rebounding as the key to the game.
â€œThey played really well,â€ said Oliphant, who scored 12 points. â€œThey rebounded, which is something we didnâ€™t do too well.â€
All is not lost for the Great Apes, who can still qualify for the playoffs if The Crew slips up or if they opt out to buy-in to the postseason.
Want your team to be covered in next weekâ€™s Intramural Heroes? Sign up by emailing email@example.com.