Toronto 80 Laurentian 85
It was do or die for the Laurentian Voyageurs who would face off against a tough University of Toronto Varsity Blues squad in the first round of the OUA playoffs.
Falling from second team in their division to the four spot after a five game losing streak, it was a game that Voyageurs hadnʼt necessarily planned for but, regardless, had to endure if they wanted to keep their playoff hopes alive.
After a close opening quarter, the Vees were able to come out with a small lead in the second. This lead was exactly what they needed to bring them into the latter half of the game where they held their own and came out victorious with a final score of 85-80 over the Varsity Blues.
Second chance opportunities were key for the Voyageurs in this match, as they out-rebounded their opponents 49-32.
Leading the way for the Voyageurs was fifth year guard David Aromolaran with 19 points as fifth year forward OJ Watson followed with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Top scorer for the Varsity Blues was Daniel Johansson who had 17 points in the match.
As mentioned, with this win will advance the Voyageurs into the next round of the playoffs, where theyʼll face off against the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa on Saturday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 8pm.
Waterloo 89 Windsor 101
WINDSOR, Ont. - The Windsor Lancers opened the post season at home against the Waterloo Warriors Wednesday night, and came away with a 101-89 win at the St. Denis Centre.
The Blue and Gold had earned the three seed in the OUA and were looking not only to advance but defend home court. After a tight start the Lancers asserted themselves and began amassing a significant lead. Despite a late effort from the Warriors, the Lancers won 101-89, moving on to the Wilson Cup quarter finals on Saturday.
Marcus Jones had an amazing night for the Blue & Gold putting up a game high 33 points on 11-for-13 shooting. Fifth year senior Mike Rocca had another great night for the Lancers with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Luke Allin hit 17 points and Damian Persaud 14 points.
Nedim Hodzic was Waterloo's high scorer with 26 points and an amazing 18 rebounds. Justin Hardy also had a double-double for the Warriors with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Warriors heavily out-rebounded the Lancers 47-27, but committed 14 turnovers to Windsor's four.
The Lancers and Warriors offense came out of the gate fairly strong, as both teams were finding a rhythm on their respective offenses. Neither team could separate early as the first quarter concluded with the Lancers leading by just three.
The second quarter fared better for the Blue & Gold as they began to claim a growing lead towards the end of the half. Led by the guard tandem of Jones and Rocca who had 15 and 10 respectively, the Lancers went into the half with a 48-37 lead.
In the third quarter the Lancers continued their hot performance as they continued to build their lead as the quarter progressed. Windsor outscored the Warriors 30-18 as their offense continued to fire on all cylinders after a hot 48 per cent shooting mark in the first half.
Trailing by 20 late in the game, the Warriors fought back to make the game a little closer but their efforts would fall short. Windsor advanced on the back of a very good offensive outing, 101-89.
McMaster 76 Laurier 102
WATERLOO, Ont. – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men's basketball team put together their best performance of the season on Wednesday night as they won their OUA First Round playoff game against the McMaster Marauders 102-76 at the Athletic Complex.
Entering the game, Laurier, the fourth seed in the OUA West division, faced several questions coming into their first home playoff game since 2014. How would they be able to slow down a team that had won eight of their past nine games and scored 90 points per game over the past month? Would their lack of postseason experience hurt them at all?
The Hawks answered those questions and many more Wednesday evening in front of a pumped-up crowd at the newly re-opened Laurier Athletic Complex as they set a new team record for points scored in a playoff game en route to their first playoff win since 2015.
Head Coach Justin Serresse knew that a fast start would be extremely important to get the momentum and confidence on their side and the Hawks were able to do just that. Fueled by a few consecutive stops on the defensive end, a three-pointer by Ali Sow (Ottawa, Ont.) followed by an and-one from Joseph Fo (Markham, Ont.) and a layup from Ben Stevens (Halifax, N.S.) had the purple and gold up 17-7 midway through the first.
They were off to the races from there.
The key to the Hawks being able to break 100 points on offence Wednesday was ball movement. While the dynamic duo of Sow and Tevaun Kokko (Markham, Ont.) were able to put up big scoring numbers, combining for 45 points, they both did a superb job at facilitating and finding their open teammates as well.
As a team, the Hawks had an elite-level 27 assists, to go along with just 11 turnovers.
Serresse told his players pre-game "Play with confidence. I am not going to play a guy who isn't looking to shoot. I am not playing a guy who isn't going to be aggressive."
The team responded with offensive contributions up and down the bench. Fo, Matt Minutillo (Brantford, Ont.), and Kemel Archer (Brampton, Ont.) gave the Hawks five players scoring in double figures.
The Laurier bench was dominant against the visitors, outscoring McMaster's bench 47-13.
Even with the offensive outburst, it was critical that the purple and gold did not lose focus on the defensive end. Up 11 points heading to the fourth, the Hawks suffocated the Marauders' offence, only allowing 11 points in the final quarter and creating a lot of frustration for the visitors as their season continued to slip further and further away.
Archer led the Hawks with 14 boards as Laurier out-rebounded McMaster 49-35. Kokko had four steals to go along with his game-high 26 points.
Advancing to the OUA Quarter-Finals, the Hawks will travel to St. Catharines Saturday for a matchup with the U SPORTS No. 3 Brock Badgers. Serresse expects a physical game and a lively crowd and believes the key for his team will be to weather the storm in the first couple minutes before settling into their rhythm.
Queen’s 79 Ryerson 103
TORONTO, Ont. - The two-time defending Wilson Cup champion Ryerson Rams showed postseason experience can make all the difference, as the Rams withstood a third quarter surge by the Queen's Gaels and went on to a big 103-79 victory and advanced to the OUA quarter-final.
After holding the lead for much of the first half, including by as many as 15 points, the Rams saw their lead disappear midway through the third quarter. Queen's swung the momentum to their side and played with the lead for about four minutes before Ryerson responded to take a 68-66 lead into the fourth quarter.
Rather than panic, the Rams came out of the quarter break calm and poised to close out the victory. Ryerson's offence came alive in the fourth, piling up 35 points in the final ten minutes. It was also a testament to the age-old "defence wins championships" formula as the Rams allowed Queen's to score just 13 points, their lowest total in a quarter, to secure the win.
Ryerson shot the lights out from the field, finishing 50% from both the floor and from three-point range. More than half of Ryerson's field goals came from beyond the arc as the Rams went 19-for-38 from long distance and 34-for-68 overall.
Rams guard Manny Diressa finished with a game-high 30 points while adding seven assists. JV Mukama chipped in with a big 24 points while Filip Vujadinovic posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Windsor 89 Western 72
LONDON, Ont. - The Windsor Lancers men's basketball team hit the road on Saturday to take on the Western Mustangs in the OUA quarter-finals. Fresh off beating the Waterloo Warriors on Wednesday night, the Lancers came from behind to defeat the Mustangs 89-72.
After losing to the Mustangs twice in the regular season, it looked like more of the same early, however, the Lancers were able to come out on top and advance to the OUA Final Four for the fifth time in the last six years.
Western's Omar Shiddo led all players in points with 29 points in the losing effort. The Lancers were led by senior captain Mike Rocca who scored 24 points.
Rocca also chipped in 13 rebounds, enough to lead all players and notch a double-double. The Mustangs were led by Jedson Tavernier and his seven rebounds.
The Lancers had five players score double digits with Rocca, Marcus Jones, Damian Persaud, Lucas Orlita and Anthony Zrvnar all scoring 10 or more points. For the Mustangs, Shiddo, Marko Kovac and Eriq Jenkins all scored in double digits.
Things didn't look good for the Blue & Gold early. The Lancers were impatient on the offensive end, leading to a lot of missed shots and a lot of easy offense opportunities for the Western Mustangs. The Lancers hovered in the 20 per cent area in terms of field goals and only hit one three in the opening frame of action. Despite the shooting woes, the Lancers managed to remain close enough to mount a comeback.
In the second quarter, Windsor found some patience and the shots started falling as Rocca and the Lancers battled back. After a rocky start, the Lancers found themselves up at halftime, 38-29.
In the second half the Mustangs went off in the third quarter, shooting 80 per cent from the three-point line in the third frame. Western began to carve into the Lancer lead as they looked to defend their home court. Fortunately, for the visiting Lancers, Rocca did not want to hit the road with a loss in hand as the senior scored on over 50 per cent of his looks from the field as the Lancers survived and advance to the next rounds of playoffs, 89-72.
Ryerson 77 Ottawa 69
OTTAWA, Ont. – The Ryerson Rams will once again be making a trip to the OUA's semi-finals after acquiring a hard fought 77-69 victory over the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday night at Montpetit Hall.
The contest was nail-bitingly close throughout it's entirety, with only the final quarter's point differential being greater than three-points. The Rams had only carried a one-point lead heading into the final ten minutes of action, but slowly began to inch away from a Gee-Gees squad that seemed to run out of gas.
The game was so close in fact, that each team attempted 62 field goals in total, and each made 25 of them, for a shared total of 40.3% from the field. Additionally, both teams made an identical seven three-points throughout the contest. The only differentiating factor that could be distinguished between two teams was free-throw percentage.
Out of 27 attempts at the charity stripe, the Rams connected on 20. By contrast, the Gee-Gees were given 24 attempts at the line and only connected on 12. That 8-point difference was the deciding factor in this contest.
In moving away from the statistical aspect of the games it was the remarkable contributions of the Rams line-up that was able to provide the team with this victory.
Manny Diressa (Toronto, Ont.) led all scorers on the evening with 22 points, to go along with eight rebounds, five steals and two assists. Jean-Victor Mukama (Hamilton, Ont.), who exploded for 24 points in the first-round match-up against Queen's, had a stellar evening providing 15 points to go along with nine rebounds and two assists for his team.
Laurier 73 Brock 91
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Basketball coaches often wax poetic about putting their teams in a 'position to win.'
Well not only did the Brock Badgers men's basketball team do just that Saturday night, but they did it in the first 10 minutes of their Ontario University Athletics Wilson Cup quarter-final game against Wilfrid Laurier.
The Badgers outscored the Laurier Golden Hawks 27-6 in the first quarter and 26-8 in the second en route to a commanding 91-73 win at home. Brock will now host Ryerson in a Wilson Cup semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with a trip to the USports National Championships on the line.
In addition to advancing to the OUA Championship game set for Saturday, March 3, both semifinal winners are assured spots at the Nationals in Halifax. It's the position head coach Charles Kissi has been working toward since he arrived at Brock.
"We've worked for five years to put ourselves in this position. Now we have a chance," he said. "This is for a trip to the national championship and our guys know that, so we have to be as sharp as we were in the first half tonight."
As they've come to be known for, the Badgers' success Saturday was the result of its depth. Cassidy Ryan and Johneil Simpson led the team with 23 and 21 points, respectively, but four players had 14 or more points including Dani Elgadi, who hit a three-pointer in the third quarter to move himself into fourth place on Brock's all-time scoring list.
The Badgers shot 60 per cent from the floor while Laurier, led by Ali Sow's 22 points, struggled at 33 per cent. The visitors outscored the Badgers 25-20 in the third quarter and 34-18 in the fourth, but Kissi said that's not a statistic he's worried about.
"No concerns at all. Our job was to win that game by one or more, not 40, and that's all we were doing," he said.
Brock, which finished the regular season ranked third in the country, will now host the eighth-ranked Ryerson Rams, which beat Ottawa 77-69 in their quarter-final Saturday. In the other semifinal, Carleton (ranked first) will host Windsor (unranked).
The Badgers beat Ryerson 80-75 during the regular season, but it was an overtime-nailbiter.
"They're a good team. I feel that we match up pretty well, but it's a chance to go to Halifax so they're going to give us everything and we have to prepare for that," said Simpson. "We won a lot of games during the year, but now you lose one game and you could go home, so you have to treat every game like it's the championship."
Laurentian 69 Carleton 83
OTTAWA, Ont. – The Ravens faced a determined Voyageurs squad, who entered the Ravens' Nest without the services of their regular season leading scorer in Kadre Gray. Laurentian kept pace with Carleton for two quarters before falling to the Ravens 83-69 in front of a passionate hometown crowd.
Third-year guard Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, ON) turned in an efficient performance, scoring 26 points, including making 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Joseph earned a double-double by handing out 10 assists and snagging three steals.
Laurentian opened the season with an impressive 16-2 record, but stumbled into the Wilson Cup Playoffs thanks to five straight losses. The Voyageurs were able to earn a close opening round win against the University of Toronto and entered Saturday night action with an aggressive mindset. After a finger roll by Joseph in traffic put Laurentian in an early 13-6 hole, the Voyageurs responded with a 4-0 spurt courtesy of two free throws from Anthony Iacoe and a layup by OJ Watson. Iacoe hit a pull up jump shot with 54 seconds left in the quarter to keep the Voyageurs close at 19-17.
Both teams continued to take aim at each other’s' interior defence in the second quarter. Watson finished off a vicious put-back dunk to bring Laurentian to within a single point one minute into the frame. Sophomore forward Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) kept Carleton ahead by hitting a short jumper and finishing in traffic with a layup on the next few possessions. But each time the Ravens tried to break ahead, Watson or Theo Thomas were there to bring Laurentian back within three points. A three-pointer by Iacoe gave Laurentian a one-point lead, but fifth-year forward Cam Smythe (Vancouver, BC) got Carleton back on track with a three before Joseph scored on a strong drive to support a 39-36 lead at halftime.
Back-to-back threes from Smythe and guard Marcus Anderson (Brampton, ON) helped Carleton add to its lead to begin the third quarter. Nelson Yengue, Laurentian's second-leading scorer during the regular season, was held scoreless in the first-half. A layup by Yengue brought the Voyageurs back to within 48-44, but again Joseph was there with a short turnaround jumper to respond. Carleton entered the fourth with a double-digit lead after Watson cut the score to 56-46 with a fadeaway jump shot.
The pace of play opened up in the fourth quarter as Laurentian attempted to stage its final comeback attempt. Few things seemed to be going the Voyageurs' way as Sam Ivey checked into the game for the first-time and hit what was believed to be a three-pointer, which would have cut the deficit to 12. However, it was ruled that his foot was on the line, thus rendering his tally worth two points. Fourth-year guard Mitch Wood (Guelph, ON) hit a three seconds later and Carleton's lead grew to 65-49. Watson completed an and-one to bring Laurentian to within 13 points once more, but with less than 70 seconds left to play, it was too late, as the Ravens nursed the lead before the buzzer announced the 83-69 win.