Ben Stevens and Ntore Habimana battle for position against Nipissing on Friday night (Credit: Brian Doherty Photos)
Laurier: 84 NIPISSING: 56
NORTH BAY, Ont. (November 4, 2017) – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men's basketball team got off to a good start on Friday night and never looked back as they defeated the Nipissing Lakers 84-56 for their first win of the season.
Earlier in the week, Head Coach Justin Serresse
mentioned how important it was to his players to come out this weekend and pick up victory number one of the season and his team delivered.
The purple and gold did have some shooting woes in their opener against Brock, but had no such issues on Friday, shooting 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from three, collecting 20 or more points in three of the four quarters.
A big factor in the turnaround was the return of last year’s leading scorer, Tevaun Kokko
(Markham, Ont.), to the starting lineup. He looked as though he hadn’t missed a beat, leading all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, to go along with eight boards. For the second game in a row to start the season, the Hawks heavily outrebounded their opponent, holding a 45-23 edge over the Lakers. Attribute that to the intensity the Hawks showed on the defensive end to hold Nipissing to just 31 percent shooting on the night.
Sprinting out to a 20-13 lead after one, the purple and gold were able to continue to increase that lead in the second quarter in large part due to some big contributions off the bench. Ali Sow
(Ottawa, Ont.), Adnan Begovic
(Mississauga, Ont.) and Vlad Matovic
(Kitchener, Ont.) were all in double figures coming off the bench, not allowing the Lakers’ second unit to breathe as the Hawks put up 28 in the second and a further 26 in the fourth to put any chances of a comeback to sleep.
Another key for the Hawks coming out of the Brock game was to cut down the turnovers. They did so in a big way, slashing their turnover total in half from 26 in game one to 13 on Friday.
Marvin Ngonadi (Toronto, Ont.) led Nipissing with 14 points in what was their home opener.
The Hawks wrap up their three-game road trip Saturday in Sudbury as they take on the team that vanquished them from the 2017 OUA playoffs, the Laurentian Voyageurs. Tip-off will again go at 8 p.m. and you can watch it live on OUA.tv