Golden Hawks finally end losing streak

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Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

A clean start to the New Year was not in the cards for the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s basketball team. Losing to the Mustangs 78-76 on a buzzer beating layup is not so much the ideal way anyone would like to enter the second half of a season.

On the second night of back to back games, however, they went up against the Windsor Lancers, looking to break their five-game losing streak.

The Lancers got busy to begin the game as they started out with a 6-0 run straight out of the gates and led 17-8 three minutes in.

That quickly changed as Laurier regained their footing, going on a 12-0 run in the three minutes following. The Hawks closed out the first quarter with a score of 28-23, pulling ahead even more.

The second quarter was played closely by both sides as they were both shooting the ball well from the field and from three. Laurier, behind Tevaun Kokko – who scored 16 in the first half off the bench – managed to go up 12 at one point.

Windsor, still playing it close, kept the lead between five and 10 points, but had a hard time closing the gap due as their shooting gradually fell off. Going into halftime, the score was 53-45.

“I was very proud of Kokko being able to do that, trusting his teammates, trusting the offense coming to him.”

In the third quarter, the game continued this way for Laurier as Windsor seemed to hit a wall and was incapable of breaking the lead down to anything less than 5 points. With so many players contributing on both ends of the floor and showing their versatility on both ends, Laurier looked like the team many have expected them to be.

Entering the fourth quarter down nine, the Lancers slowly cut into Laurier’s lead and, at the 4:37 mark, they pulled ahead. From there, every possession was a battle on both ends of the court. Tevaun Kokko once again caught fire, scoring 12 points in the last 4:22, helping Laurier pull out a hard fought 98-91 win.

“I’m hoping that tonight is the first step towards this next semester where every game, we’re trying to establish our culture – our style of basketball,” head coach Justin Serresse said.

“I’m proud of how they played as a team, they didn’t get down on themselves and everybody contributed on the glass, on defense, in scoring and all of that stuff, and Windsor is a good team.”

In a battle of star players, Kokko took this one over Mike Rocca of Windsor. Rocca had 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists, while Kokko scored a career-high 30 points off the bench in a winning effort.

“I didn’t think he was in a right mindset yesterday and that’s why he didn’t start. But today, he came in and you know, he scored 30 points,” Serresse said.

“He was very efficient … he was aggressive playing his style of basketball but yet still playing with the flow of the offense.”

“I was very proud of Kokko being able to do that, trusting his teammates, trusting the offense coming to him,” Coach Serresse said of the second-year guard.

Next up for the Golden Hawks will be a Jan. 10 matchup versus the Guelph Gryphons on the road.

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