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Men's Basketball
(Credit: Kha Vo)
(Credit: Kha Vo)
PREVIEW: MBASK look to extend their streak
Game Dates and Times: Friday, January 19 – 8:00 p.m. (vs. Algoma) and Saturday January 20 – 2:00 p.m. (vs. Algoma) *
Game Locations: University of Waterloo Physical Activities Complex (Both) *
Live Webcast/Radio Coverage: OUA.tv and Radio Laurier
Tickets: vs. Algoma (Fri.), vs. Algoma (Sat.)

*Note that due to flooding at the Laurier Athletic Complex, this weekend’s matchups against Algoma have been moved to the University of Waterloo Physical Activities Complex. While scheduling for Friday night’s game remains the same, Saturday’s games have been moved to an earlier time, with the women tipping off at 12:00 p.m. followed by the men at 2:00 p.m.

UNCHARTED TERRITORY
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team has seen no shortage of obstacles thrown their way this season. Injuries have constantly been a spot of bother and many new faces has meant lots of lineup juggling for Hawks Head Coach JUSTIN SERRESSE as he sought to find the right combinations to unlock the true potential of his team.

Despite all this, over the last two weeks, the Hawks (6-8) look like they have finally found their identity after some struggles in the latter stages of 2017. Perhaps more impressive than their three-game win streak that has included two double-digit victories on the road is the manner in which they have achieved this recent success.

Serresse has preached all season-long that his players must be focused on the process over the results, understanding that if they play to their high-paced, in-your-face style of basketball, the wins will come. The purple and gold are beginning to look like a prototype for the modern game as they have rounded into form in January. The ball is humming on offence, and that increase in movement is leading to open looks, especially from three.

Those shots from beyond the arc? They are falling. After going 14-30 from deep on Saturday against McMaster, Laurier sits atop the OUA in three-point percentage at 36.3 percent. Leading the barrage from the three-point line is the Hawks’ two-headed monster in the backcourt, Tevaun Kokko (Markham, Ont.) and Ali Sow (Ottawa, Ont.), who have made 61 triples between them this season.

The emergence of Kemel Archer (Brampton, Ont.) in the new year (averaging 14.5 PPG and 8.8 RPG in January) could be the spark behind the formation of a big three in purple and gold alongside Kokko and Sow. The three have been producing at all-star levels during this resurgence for the Hawks and will need to continue to do so if the team is to achieve Serresse’s goal of locking down home court for the first round of the OUA playoffs.

Though the team is performing as well as they have all season, they will have to contend with a new challenge this weekend as they take on the Algoma Thunderbirds (4-10) in a pair of games. The flooding at the Athletic Complex has forced the Hawks out of their homecourt and down the road to the home of their rivals at the University of Waterloo.

Regardless of the situation, the purple and gold have a great opportunity to return to an even record for the season against a Thunderbirds team that has lost five in a row coming in.

TIP-IN’S
-    Algoma’s season has been a roller-coaster ride to say the least, beginning the year losing five straight, then picking up four consecutive victories before their current slide
-    The Hawks’ home matchup next Wednesday against the McMaster Marauders has been moved to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium and will now be a school day game commencing at 1:00 p.m.
-    The purple and gold will at least be familiar with their new surroundings this weekend as they played three pre-season games at the UW PAC in October during the Naismith Classic, winning two out of three

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (6-8)

G Ali Sow (Ottawa, Ont.)
-    The rookie guard lit it up for the Hawks last week coming off the bench, going for 20 and 24 points respectively in back-to-back wins, collecting Laurier Male Athlete of the Week honours
-    An absolute nightmare of a matchup for opposing teams’ second units, Sow ranks fourth across the entire OUA in three-point shooting percentage, connecting at a frighteningly-efficient 45.5 percent clip

Algoma Thunderbirds (4-10)

G Ian Nash (Detroit, Mich.)
-    Shouldering a heavy load for the Thunderbirds, Nash is playing a team-high 33 minutes per game, while averaging close to 18 points a game on 42 percent from the floor
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