Laurier men’s basketball falls to Western

On Saturday afternoon, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team hosted the Western Mustangs in an important game for the purple and gold, who are currently fighting for the final playoff spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division.

Despite the home court advantage and a solid effort, the Hawks were unable to finish the game on top in what was a closely contested match.

Several lead changes occured throughout the game, as well as a few debatable calls by the referees, combining to generate a very exciting basketball game.

A great individual performance by Kale Harrison allowed the Hawks to hang around for most of the game and at times get on very hot shooting streaks.

Harrison finished with 19 points, mostly off of his jump shot, something that he has struggled to get going this season.

“He is back, making me look like a good coach again,” joked head coach Peter Campbell after the game. “It has been a rough year for Kale [Harrison] with injuries but he finally seems healthy and has showed that the last two games.”

Off of the bench, Evan Schwantz and Matthew Buckley provided secondary scoring as well as energy, evidenced by their strong rebounding performances.

Schwantz finished with eight points and Buckley had 11, something that coach Campbell said they will need to continue as the season progresses.

“If by chance we play Western in the playoffs, we will need stronger performances inside from our big men,” said Campbell, alluding to the fact that Mustangs’ all-star Andrew Wedemire was dominant underneath the basket on Saturday.

Despite foul trouble all game, Wedemire was still able to score 24 points in a dominating performance.

Ryan Barbeau and Garrett Olexiuk also turned in big games for the Mustangs, especially in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks were trailing by two heading in the fourth, but that was when Mustang Ryan Barbeau took over, scoring 12 points in that quarter alone, ultimately ending Laurier’s afternoon.

Laurier’s team defence was a strong point for most of the day, forcing over 20 turnovers. Although, as Campbell observed, turnovers are something that need to be capitalized on.

“It’s good to see us generating those turnovers,” he said.

“But we need to shoot the ball better and finish or else they mean nothing.”

Laurier will face McMaster tonight, with their next home game on Feb. 10 against the Guelph Gryphons.