Men’s basketball splits weekend games

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(Photo by Heather Davidson)

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team had an opportunity this weekend to overtake the Western Mustangs and gain sole possession of third-place, and postseason home court advantage, in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West division with six games remaining in the regular season.

The Hawks — now sitting in third-place at 7-9 — narrowly defeated the Waterloo Warriors 90-86 on Thursday and lost a heartbreaker to the Guelph Gryphons 84-81 on Saturday.

A pair of Mustang losses to the Windsor Lancers and McMaster Marauders dropped Western to fourth-place with a record of 6-10.

Laurier sealed the two-game sweep of this year’s edition of the battle of Waterloo against their crosstown rivals, who are outside the playoff picture looking in at 2-14.

“I think we came out thinking we’d win this game,” said head coach Peter Campbell. “[Regardless of the standings], in the OUA West, everyone is capable of competing against everyone and when you get to the battle of Waterloo, it really gets serious.”

The Hawks’ starters all reached double figures in the win against Waterloo, led by veteran guards Max Allin and Jamar Forde, who each had 17 points.

Rookie guard and Toronto-native James Agyeman recorded his first career double-double with ten points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Agyeman drew contact from defenders, penetrated the lane and generated his own shots against the Warriors’ top guards.

Laurier struggled to defend Waterloo on the perimeter as the Warriors shot a staggering 48 per cent from beyond the arc as a team.

Rookie guard Myles Charvis led all scorers with 23 points, shooting 44 per cent from the field and tallying 9 rebounds and 6 assists.

“We’re dependent on Max and Will [Coulthard] to hit a certain percentage of field goals,” continued Campbell.

“They haven’t played up to their level together.”

Coulthard, a vital part of Laurier’s potent offence, was contained by Warrior guards and spent an extended period of time on the bench before heating up in the second half.

The third-year guard finished with 14 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Campbell also noted the inconsistencies and lack of urgency — especially down the stretch — on the Hawks’ behalf against the Warriors.

“We really gapped them in the second half, had the game locked up and then stopped playing,” said Campbell. “You can’t do that.”

Sophomore centre Matthew Chesson contributed 15 points, five rebounds, and two assists.

He has managed to remain healthy and make an impact after sustaining a concussion in the fall.

“Definitely a good feeling,” said Chesson. “We need to practice hard and listen to coach.”

Campbell praised his centre’s resilience to battle through a concussion and loss of his starting position after a team rookie of the year campaign in 2012-13.Laurier continues to sit third in the OUA West, eight points behind second place. McMaster currently sits first in the OUA West with 26 points.

WLU will need to at least stay third or fourth in the OUA to maintain a home playoff game.

The Hawks travel to Windsor to play the second-place Lancers on Wednesday before returning home Saturday to take on the Brock Badgers, who sit eighth in the OUA, two spots out of the playoffs.

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