Men’s basketball’s season ends against No. 7 Windsor Lancers

(File photo by Ryan Hueglin)
(File photo by Ryan Hueglin)

WINDSOR, Ont. — After a win against the Guelph Gryphons, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team headed to Windsor to take on the No. 7 nationally ranked Lancers looking for another big win.

It was possible, and the prize at the end was a trip to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Final Four at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.

But a very athletic Lancer team took over the Hawks after the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 91-68 win which sent Laurier home packing without a chance at an OUA championship.

“It was a disappointing finish to the season, but Windsor came out with more intensity and more effort and we didn’t match it,” fifth-year guard Max Allin said, who suited up as a Hawk for the last time. “They beat us inside and were too big.”

“We didn’t play with confidence and when you’re playing a team like Windsor with three-fifths the guys all league all-stars, you’ve just got to play as well as you can,” head coach Peter Campbell said.

Both Windsor and Laurier began the game sloppy, giving up turnovers and not finishing easy shots. After the first quarter, Laurier managed to stay with the Lancers, coming out with an 18-18 tie.

However, the second quarter was a different story, as Windsor would put up as many as 26 points to Laurier’s 12. The Hawks struggled to put away shots that would typically be easy for them, and with a large Windsor team on the opposite side of the court, it became harder to close the gap.

In the third, Laurier managed to pick up the intensity, but couldn’t make up the 14-point gap. The Hawks trailed by almost 20 heading into the fourth and were fighting against the likes of Lien Phillip and the clock.

Phillip finished the game shooting 11 for 14 and a game-high 28 points.

“You’ve just got to try to keep him off the board and you’ve got to battle him for position and reduce his touches,” Campbell said of Laurier trying to limit Phillip’s points. “And it’s hard to do. He’s an all-Canadian from last year, he was player of the year from our conference last year, he’s just one of the best players in the country and the guys we have guarding him aren’t. They’re young guys and they’re learning to be basketball players.”

The final quarter featured Laurier running out of time and resources to hold the Lancers and the point spread began to widen.

With just over two minutes left in the game, Campbell made the decision to sit fifth-year Allin and fourth-year Jamar Forde, who played their last games as Golden Hawks.

A standing ovation was given for the two Hawks from the Laurier crowd that made the journey.

Although the Hawks couldn’t manage to hold the Lancers, the game wasn’t without its promising parts. Two young Laurier players shined, as the youngest Coulthard, Owen, put up nine points in the final quarter. All nine points were off three-pointers.

Simon Polan-Couillard also was a huge help in the fourth, picking up four rebounds and fighting for every ball.

“The future’s bright for us,” Allin said. “We’ve got a lot of younger guys that are hungry and want to put in the work and want to be good, so the future looks good for the Golden Hawks.”

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