Men avenge blow-out versus Windsor

On Saturday afternoon, the Laurier men’s basketball team was looking for more than an upset win over the hometown Windsor Lancers. They were also out for revenge.

Just two weeks ago, those same Lancers paid a visit to the Laurier athletic complex and steamrolled the Hawks, winning 109-76, showing little sportsmanship along the way.

“Late in that game Windsor put down a dunk and acted more like a high school team than anything else and I said to the boys, ‘they’re disrespecting you,’” said Laurier head coach Peter Campbell. “We talked about that beating they put on us and that [got the Hawks’] attention. They were all sitting there thinking ‘that was embarrassing.’”

With that added incentive, the Hawks knocked off the number-eight nationally ranked Lancers, 85-82 in their own gym in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarterfinal. The win not only lifts the underdog Hawks to the OUA final four, but also marks the first time Laurier has beaten Windsor since 2007.

“Last game got out of hand and coming into this game we knew that they weren’t going to put 109 on us again,” said Laurier guard Max Allin. “We knew they were going to come into the game a little over-confident and take us lightly but we knew that we were just as good if not better than them and we just came in and beat them.”

Allin picked the perfect time for a career night, as the second-year put up 36 points, leading the Hawks’ offence. Making Allin’s performance even more crucial was the fact that Windsor held Laurier scoring leader Kale Harrison to just nine points.

“Kale was their main focus and they were always looking to shut him out,” said Allin. “His shots weren’t falling as they normally do, so it was up to the rest of us to pick up the slack.”

“That’s one of the tough parts of being Kale Harrison, any time you come into a game the other team is focused on stopping you,” added Campbell. “But Max stepped up and just made all the shots, especially at crunch time near the end of the game when things could’ve gone either way.”

In addition to Allin, Campbell highlighted the performance of rookie point guard Jamar Forde, who struggled in his first career playoff game last Wednesday versus Guelph, only mustering four points. Forde was second in team scoring with 13 points, however Campbell was more impressed with the first-year’s defence.

“Jamar did a great job on [Windsor guard] Isaac Kwon and that’s a lot of pressure on a freshman to take on the best scorer in our league,” said Campbell.

“He still had over 20 points, but Jamar really kept him in check for most of the game and showed a ton of growth.”

As monumental as the upset over Windsor was, the Hawks will have to pull off an even bigger feat if they intend on moving forward.

This Friday at the OUA final four in Hamilton, Laurier will take on the nation’s top team, the undefeated Carleton Ravens.

“They’re the best team in the country, they’ve been number one since October and there’s no argument that they shouldn’t be number one,” said Campbell.

“You can get up eight and it doesn’t fluster them, they can get up eight and they don’t stop. It’s certainly going to be a tough match-up for us, but if we can match their focus and intensity, we’ll give them a good run.”