Laurier drops to tie for third

(File photo)

The Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball team welcomed the dominant 10-3 McMaster Marauders to the Athletic Complex on Saturday afternoon looking to grab an upset and reach .500 on the season.

Unfortunately, Laurier put forth a disappointing performance, falling 87-69 in a game where they were never really able to get going.

Right off the opening tip, McMaster established their inside game, which tended to be a trend, as their  centre Nathan McCarthy finished with a game-high 18 points.

Laurier’s outside shooters, fifth-year Max Allin and third-year Will Coulthard, struggled to get their shots to fall early.

However, some good defence and timely baskets helped the Golden Hawks to be down just seven at half time, 39-32. Head coach Peter Campbell focused on the few positives from the first half which included a solid defensive stretch.

“There was one brief period we played pretty good defence for the first 25 minutes … if we could do that consistently against a team like that, that has lots of weapons, then we are playing good defence,” said Campbell.

The Golden Hawks carried that effort into the second half for about two to three minutes until some brutal turnovers and missed shots from key guys allowed the game to slowly slip away. McMaster pushed the lead all the way up to 16 and it grew from there.

McMaster is a team whose offence is a well-oiled machine on an average day and coach Campbell attempted to break down what makes them so hard to guard.

“The problem with that is if you don’t double down. [Joseph] Rocca is a three-point shooter, [Adam] Presutti is a three-point shooter … we are not going to win a game like that, if all of our guys aren’t going,” stressed Campbell.

The Marauder’s style of play forced Laurier to play more of a half-court game, which suits the visitors a lot more.

It was a frustrating day offensively as the Hawks were getting the opportunities, but the shots just weren’t flowing.

Allin was just 5-for-17 from the floor and only 3-for-10 from three-point range and the team as a whole shot just 32.4 per cent.

Fortunately, there was a lone bright spot on the court on Saturday in Matthew Chesson, who had a long-awaited breakout game.

Chesson had a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 boards.

Chesson suffered a concussion in the fall and didn’t have an opportunity to get going so far this season.

“It’s definitely the breakthrough game I was looking for. It’s been a rough season with me and injuries.This is kind of the way I expected to play in my second year,” said Chesson.

Chesson’s play gave him some recognition from his coach as well.

“He played hard and he had some things go well for him … so that’s the first time he’s looked like a basketball player since that hit so that’s good,” said Campbell.

Next up for the Golden Hawks are the Waterloo Warriors on Wednesday at Laurier’s Athletic Complex, as they look to get back into winning ways after dropping three of their last four and falling to 6-8 on the season.

“We need to just be working hard, exploding, rebounding like hell and we have to transfer that to the game,” Chesson said.

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