Saturday, 12 January 2008

OUA West: Hawks get split; Windsor, Brock get big road wins; Mustangs Pound Warriors

Laurier (5-6) 72, Lakehead (6-6) 56 The Hawks got 16 points from 6'5" freshman Kale Harrison in a much better defensive effort, taking 54-41 lead after three quarters and rolling to an easy win against the T-Wolves to salvage a split of their two game weekend series. 6'4" Kiraan Posey was limited to 24 minutes due to foul trouble and scored 14 points while adding 7 rebounds for Lakehead. A game article from Mike Quigley, WLU Assistant Coach: One of the hardest tasks for most of the teams in the OUA West is to play against the same team on a second successive night after losing a close game on the previous one. The Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks were able to bounce back Saturday night against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves after dropping a heartbreaker to them on Friday. The Hawks were able to gain a split on the weekend and get back into the winning column with a 72-56 victory over the T-Wolves at the WLU AC and keep pace in the very tight OUA West. The win moves the Hawks record to 5-6 (tied with Western & McMaster) 4 points behind the league leading 3 way tie of Guelph, Brock & Windsor and 2 in back of Lakehead. The Hawks also own the tie-breaking point spread should the 2 teams finish in a tie at the end of the season. It was important for the Golden Hawks to open the game strong and match and/or surpass Lakehead’s intensity. They did this and jumped into a quick 5-0 lead but then the offense seemed to stall for what seemed to be an eternity. Three Warren Thomas open 3-pointers over the middle portion of the 1st quarter were only countered by 1 from Kale Harrison and the Thunderwolves took a 9-8 lead. They increased the lead with a transition layup but 2 driving layups by the Hawks put them back up on top and the Hawks led 12-11 after the 1st quarter. The teams opened the 2nd quarter by trading baskets although the Hawks gained a little since theirs was a 3. Over the next few minutes each team’s offense was successful, hitting for 6 points each on 3 possessions. With just over 5 minutes remaining in the half, the Hawks went on an 11-1 run to open up a little room featuring their running game with good defensive pressure forcing 6 turnovers. A defensive lapse at the end of the quarter, giving the T-Wolves an open 3 on poor zone slides and a transition layup, cut the Hawks lead to 7 points but they led 32-25 at the half. As a team, the Hawks shot the ball well in the first half (41.9%) but at least 5 or 6 of their misses were lfrom within 3 feet of the basket so their percentage and their lead should have been higher. The Hawks realized from the previous night’s lessons that a 7 point lead was not safe. They had to win the second half to ensure a final victory and that would begin by matching Lakehead ‘s intensity and not allowing them to get on a roll. The Hawks’ defense was up to the task this night not allowing the Thunderwolves to score on consecutive possessions throughout the 3rd quarter and holding them to 16 points. The Hawks’ offense, on the other hand, though not setting the meshes on fire, held its own, hitting 3 more 3's, 7/10 from the foul line, and added 22 more points giving them a 54-41 lead after 3 quarters. The Hawks were able to maintain their defensive pressure throughout the 4th quarter as well never letting the Thunderwolves back into the game. The closest that Lakehead came was 11 and the Hawks took the 4th quarter as well 18-15 ensuring the victory. The Hawks won by a final score of 72-56. The only negative during this stretch was the Hawks going 9/16 from the foul line. It was enough this night but in a closer game it could be a factor as it had been the night before. Rookie sensation Kale Harrison (wing, Stratford, ON) led the Golden Hawks in scoring with 16 points. Justin Golob (2nd yr, post, St. Catherine’s, ON) had a second strong shooting night in a row and finished with 14 points. Three Hawks, Andrew Pennycook (2nd yr, post, Toronto, ON), Matthew Walker ($th yr, wing, Waterloo, ON) and Trevor Csima (5th yr, post, Oakville, ON) all added 9 points in a balanced attack. Csima also led the Hawks with 8 rebounds while Pennycook added 5 more blocked shots. The Hawks also got a lift from their bench as freshmen Brandon Greenwood (wing, Mississauga, ON), Conor Meschino (wing, Oakville, ON) and Austin Walsh (point guard, Hamilton, ON) all had strong shifts at both ends of the court taking advantage of their opportunities for minutes in back-to-back games. The Thunderwolves were led by Warren Thomas (5th yr, F/C, washington, DC) and Kiraan Posey (4th yr, F, Baltimore, MD) as usual. Thomas had 17 points and 13 rebounds while Posey added 14 points. The Hawks will now prepare for the #6 ranked University of Guelph Gryphons who will come to town this Wednesday night. Tipoff at the WLU AC will be 8:00 pm.

Brock (7-4) 87, Guelph (7-4) 79 The Badgers forged a three-way tie for first place in the West keyed by a 27 point effort from 6'3" Mike Kemp, who had 27 points including 4-6 3's. With the Badgers leading by 4 early in the fourth quarter, 6'4" Borko Popic, who went only 6 for 20 from the floor, hit back-to-back threes to give the Gryphons their last lead of the game at 67-65. But then Kemp went to work in what Brock Head Coach Ken Murray called "Michael's best offensive game of the season", knocking in a three of his own to give the Badgers the lead for good. Guelph Head Coach Chris O'Rourke lamented his team's mental approach defensively: "We talked about not helping off their guards and wings and instead broke down at key teams against a team that usually makes their open 3's". Brock scored 22 points in the final 6 minutes of game, going a sizzling 12-24 from downtown and 83% from the free throw line as 5'10" Brad Rootes added 22 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Guelph stayed in the game going 8 for 15 from downtown as Popic had 21 points/12 boards, 6'9" Duncan Milne 21 points, 10 rebounds and 15 points for 6'4" Jay Mott. The game was tied at 40 at halftime before the Badgers took over in the second half. Brock played without 6'3" Rohan Steen, who continues to battle leg injuries while the Gryphs were without 6'3" Nick Pankerichan , who injured his knee at practice on Thursday and 6'4" Jonathan Moscatelli, who is still about 2 weeks away from returning to the lineup. Greg Layson's thoughts on Big Man on Campus

Western (5-6) 95, Waterloo (4-8) 70 The Mustangs finished the first half on 20-4 run punctuated by an ally-oop dunk by 6'6" Brad Smith and a transition slam by 6'10" Colin Laforme to lead by 28 at intermission and went on to pound the Warriors before an exciting, Mustang-alumni-filled audience at Alumni Hall. The Mustangs dominated the defensive glass and scored almost at will in transition in building the 63-35 halftime lead including a 7 for 11 effort from downtown. 6'1" Matt Curtis (15 pts, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and only 1 turnover) once again led the charges, especially for the short time it was still a game in the first half as he had 13 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Smith finished with 21 points and 6 rebounds while 6'6" Andrew Wedemire added 11 and Laforme 7 points, 9 rebounds as Western dominated the glass 44-25. Waterloo shot only 12 for 42 (35%) in the first half and only 6-23 overall from downtown for the game while again playing without 6'3" freshman Cam McIntyre. Western hosts the Windsor Lancers this coming Wednesday night while Waterloo travels to Brock.

Windsor (7-4) 76, McMaster (5-6) 62 The Lancers came up with an important road win at Mac, keyed by a strong effort by their maligned bench cast, as 6'8" Greg Surmacz was instrumental inside and 6'3" Isaac Kuon came up with one his better offensive efforts of the season with 22 points. The Lancers played without 6'5" Kevin Kloostra who was nursing a hamstring injury and had to deal with first-half foul trouble for 6'1" Ryan Steer who nonetheless came alive in the second half to finish with 15 points. The Lancers went 8 for 16 from downtown. The Marauders had a couple of chances to bring the game back in the second half including 4 consecutive free throws early in the fourth quarter which could have brought the game back to single digits but could not capitalize. 6'9" Terry Licorish had his most productive offensive effort of the season with 18 points, 8 rebounds and added 5 blocks while 6'2" freshman Tyrell Vernon added 12 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists as he continues to mature under the pressure of headlining a young team as a freshman.

OUA West Standings
Guelph 7-4
Windsor 7-4
Brock 7-4
Lakehead 6-6
McMaster 5-6
Western 5-6
Laurier 5-6
Waterloo 4-8

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