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Men's Basketball
(Credit: Kha Vo)
(Credit: Kha Vo)
Lots of excitement as MBASK open campaign
Game Date and Time: Saturday, October 28 – 4:00 p.m. (at Brock)
Game Location: Bob Davis Gymnasium, St. Catharines
Live Webcast/Stats: OUA.tv
Tickets: at Brock

EARLY MEASURING STICK
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team face a formidable opponent when they open their regular season schedule Saturday afternoon in St. Catharines against the Brock Badgers. The Badgers (1-0) finished the 2016/2017 season ranked No. 4 in U SPORTS, defeating No. 3 Ottawa to earn OUA bronze last spring. 

Laurier Head Coach Justin Serresse had nothing but praise for the Badgers program, explaining how he looks at their growth from a young team to a veteran powerhouse with “weapons all over the floor” as an example of the path his youthful Hawks team can look to, as they strive to become one of the OUA’s elite teams in the next couple of years.

As for the here and now, Serresse is excited by the commitment his players are showing towards improving their games as individuals and as a collective on a day-to-day basis. As a young squad, Serresse is not concerned with the purple and gold’s ability to score, but emphasizes that the team is still “learning the tricks on defence” to be effective against OUA-caliber opponents. Expect the Hawks to try to get out fast in transition and out-pace and outwork their rivals.

PRE-SEASON RECAP
The purple and gold had an extended run of non-conference play over the past month, enjoying mixed results with a 4-4 record. Despite the even record, the Hawks were in every single game, pushing powerful, veteran teams hard even in their losses.

The Hawks opened the non-conference schedule with a pair of games at the Athletic Complex, the first a double overtime thriller against the Laval Rouge et Or in which they fell 95-94. A week later, they notched an 84-78 victory over Fanshawe College.

Laurier then traveled down the road to the University of Waterloo to participate in the 49th Naismith Classic, where they played three games in three days. The Hawks lost a tight 80-76 clash on the Friday against the Montreal Citadins before rebounding on the weekend with comprehensive victories over Regina and MacEwan.

Finally, the purple and gold descended on the nation’s capital for three games, defeating Bishop’s before falling in closely contested games against Concordia and the host Gee-Gees.

TIP-IN’S
-    The Badgers were in action on opening night of the OUA regular season, rolling over Western at home 83-58
-    The Hawks travel north to face Nipissing and Laurentian next weekend before preparing for their home opener on Nov. 10

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (0-0)

G Ali Sow (Ottawa, Ont.)
-    The rookie guard has proven himself to be a high-energy, offensive sparkplug in the pre-season, displaying a style of play that should quickly endear himself to Golden Hawk supporters
-    Coach Serresse believes Sow has the tools to develop into an elite scorer in the league and it should be fun to watch the dual threat capability of him and last year’s leading scorer Tevaun Kokko (Markham, Ont.) in the backcourt

G Matt Minutillo (Brantford, Ont.)
-    Serresse had pegged the second-year guard as a breakout candidate this season for the Hawks, and did he ever in non-conference play, showcasing his improved shooting and playmaking abilities to add to his tenacious and gritty style on the defensive end
-    Minutillo provided one of the most exciting performances of the pre-season for Laurier, dropping 28 points on eight of ten shooting from three-point land, draining shot after shot after shot, stunning Fanshawe College in a Hawks win

F Kemel Archer (Brampton, Ont.)
-    An off-season transfer from Canadore College in North Bay, he averaged a double-double in 20 games played for the Panthers last season
-    Serresse has loved the intensity Archer has shown on the glass and in the paint, expect him to rock the Athletic Complex with some thunderous dunks this season

Brock Badgers (1-0)

F Dani Elgadi (Waterloo, Ont.)
-    The local boy has made good in St. Catharines, becoming an elite two-way threat for the Badgers, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds a game last season, the Hawks will need to find a way to limit his effectiveness if they want to have success Saturday 
 
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