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Laurier's Ben Stevens battles for possession against Toronto on Friday night (Credit: Henry Zhao)
Laurier's Ben Stevens battles for possession against Toronto on Friday night (Credit: Henry Zhao)
Inconsistency plagues MBASK in loss to Blues
Laurier: 77 TORONTO: 86

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TORONTO (November 25, 2017) – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team maneuvered themselves into a winning position at halftime at the Goldring Centre in Toronto Friday night, but were unable to close the deal as the Toronto Varsity Blues took control in the third quarter and held on for the 86-74 victory.

Coming in to Friday night off a tough-to-swallow one-point home loss to Queen’s last Saturday, the Hawks (3-5) got the start they were looking for as a Matt Minutillo (Brantford, Ont.) three staked the purple and gold to an 8-2 lead just over three minutes in.

However, the Blues (4-3) countered, reeling off a 25-6 run to end the first up 27-14.

In a game full of momentum swings, the Hawks seized back control of the game with a 14-0 run of their own in the second quarter, led by Tevaun Kokko (Markham, Ont.) who scored a game-high 25 points.

Asked about the keys to his team’s 29-point outburst in the quarter, Head Coach Justin Serresse cited better rebounding, allowing the Hawks to break out with pace in transition to overwhelm the Toronto defence.

Back in the driver’s seat with a 43-42 lead and holding the momentum at halftime, the purple and gold were rocked by a Toronto resurgence in the third. Serresse was having trouble coming to terms with what transpired after halftime, as the Varsity Blues sprinted out to a 14-point lead after outscoring Laurier 28-13 in the third.

The coach noted that the lapse was caused by inconsistency in execution on both ends, as well as untimely turnovers, with Toronto winning the turnover battle 17-10. The Blues were able to impose a physical brand of basketball upon the game, wearing down the Hawks as the contest wore on.

Righting the ship in the fourth, the damage had already been done, as the purple and gold were unable to trim the deficit to single digits and make a run at a comeback.

Ali Sow (Ottawa) had another fine night scoring off the bench, with 18 points. Ben Stevens (Halifax) continued to look more comfortable on the court Friday with another solid effort of eight points and 12 rebounds.

Reilly Reid (Mississuga, Ont.) had 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in leading the way for Varsity Blues, while Nikola Paradina (Toronto, Ont.) racked up 23 points and 12 rebounds.

The Hawks are back at it Saturday night as they conclude their mini two-game trip through Toronto against the defending OUA champion Ryerson Rams (5-2). Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre and the game can be seen live on OUA.tv.
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