Offence-driven Hawks split games
It was a bittersweet weekend for the Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball team on the court this weekend, as they managed to overpower the Queen’s Gaels in their first game on Friday, but couldn’t complete the late-game comeback against the York Lions on Saturday afternoon.
On Friday night, the Hawks proved why they are the fourth-ranked offence in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) as they hammered the Gaels 96-76 en route to their largest point spread of the season since their first game — against the newcomers, the Algoma Thunderbirds — by a difference of 20 points.
“I thought we played well as offence tonight, we had a slow start, but the guys played hard,” said head coach Peter Campbell. “They out-rebounded us and kept it close through three quarters, and closer than it had to be, but we moved the ball well and our scorers scored, so we pulled through.”
The offensive surge came courtesy of OUA all-star guard Max Allin, who poured in 27 points and snatched 12 rebounds, and guard Will Coulthard who chipped in 20 points of his own.
“We moved the ball really well, and we have four, five or six potential scorers in our lineup, we just have to get them going like we did at the end tonight,” praised Campbell on his superb offensive squad.
Despite the usual suspects of Allin and Coulthard putting up points for the Hawks, the most notable performance came from Cambridge, Ont. rookie Jack Simmons, who poured in a season-high 16 points, including a monster dunk to cap the night off.
“There has been some hitches in my game, but I feel like I am getting better every game and tonight I thought I played well,” said Simmons on his strong performance against the Gaels. “It was a team effort though, we pushed the ball really well and beat them up and down the court and that is where our success came from.”
The Golden Hawks have had a tremendous offence thus far in the season, but have been lackluster on the defensive side of the court. However, it appeared to be much improved on Friday night.
“It’s something we have to keep working on throughout the season, and we will gradually improve on,” said Campbell. Third-year guard Jamar Forde echoed his coach’s thoughts by saying the team appeared better defensively tonight.
“We were enthusiastic and followed our game plan, which was great for defensive help tonight,” added Forde. “Help on rebounding and defense is important, and we were good with it tonight.”
On the heels of a strong performance on Friday night, the Golden Hawks failed to replicate the same result as their admirable fourth-quarter rally fell short to the York Lions 90-83 on Saturday. Allin and Forde both recorded double-doubles for Laurier in the losing effort, as Allin finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Forde had 21 points and ten rebounds.
The Hawks remain even at a 3-3 record, good for second place in the OUA West. Laurier looks to improve on their record as they open up the first of a four-game road trip against the powerhouse and No. 1 nationally ranked Carleton Ravens on Friday in Ottawa.