Men’s basketball can’t sweep weekend series against Algoma

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani
Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

A resilient effort from the Laurier men’s basketball team wasn’t quite enough as they lost 78-72 to the Algoma Thunderbirds on Saturday and were unable to complete the weekend sweep.

After being down by as many as 14 points in the first half, the Golden Hawks fought back and took a one-point lead into halftime, thanks to their deadly three-point shooting. They finished 11-26 (42 per cent) from three-point range for the game.

However, the game fell out of reach in the fourth quarter, as the Thunderbirds delivered the knockout punch. Although Laurier had a one-point advantage heading to the fourth, the Thunderbirds stormed back and led by as many as 10 points.

In the end, it was simply too much for the Hawks to overcome.

The offence was not the problem on this day for Laurier.

Their defence, however, was a letdown as they gave up a total of 78 points. Laurier struggled to contain the Thunderbirds dynamic duo of Jermaine Lyle and Sean Clendinning.

They combined for 35 points while shooting an efficient 50 per cent from the field.

Head coach Justin Serresse spoke about his team’s shortcomings after the game.

“Maybe we ran out of gas. Our rebounding was an issue. We were getting stops, but we didn’t complete the stops and that was definitely hurting us. Overall, the defence was also a problem. We gave up 78 points to a team that doesn’t score more than 65 points a game.”

Despite the loss, the Hawks got a great performance from starting guard Chuder Teny. The Kitchener native hit five 3-pointers on his way to a 17-point performance. He also put on a great playmaking display as he dished out 5 assists.

Another bright spot for Laurier was the play of guard Tevaun Kokko as he scored 13 points to go along with 5 assists. Kokko has now strung together back- to-back impressive games.

A scare for the Hawks came in the third quarter as Kokko took a hard hit on his face. Fortunately, it didn’t appear to be serious as he re-entered the game in the fourth.

“He’s okay. He just got hit in the face and nobody saw it. But that’s a part of the game,” said Serresse.

Although his team couldn’t get the win, Serresse did have some positive things to say about his team’s effort.

“The pace was much better. We were getting after them and that’s what I was trying to tell them. We can’t be passive defensively. What happens is we get very lazy and complacent at times on defence. That hurts our transition game. When we got some energy, we showed that we can score 20 plus points in a quarter.”

The Hawks record is now 1-2.

The good news for the Hawks is that the season is still young. They have four months to right the ship and make a run for the playoffs.

The team should continue to improve as they adapt to coach Serresse’s system.

The Hawks’ next obstacle is Queen’s University, as they head on the road to face the Gaels.

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