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Men's Basketball
(Credit: Eva Ou)
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PREVIEW: MBASK continue their push for the No. 2 seed
Game Dates and Times: Wednesday, January 24 – 1:00 p.m.* (vs. McMaster) and Friday, January 26 – 8:00 p.m. (at Waterloo)
Game Locations: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium* (vs. McMaster) and University of Waterloo Physical Activities Complex (at Waterloo)
Live Webcast/TV/Radio Coverage: OUA.tv (Both), Radio Laurier (vs. McMaster)
Tickets: vs. McMaster, at Waterloo

*Game moved and rescheduled due to Laurier Athletic Complex flooding

RIDING THE WAVE OF MOMENTUM
It would be safe to say that, in the midst of a five-game winning streak, their longest since 2011-12, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team have as much confidence as they have had all year long. The winning mentality and culture that Head Coach Justin Serresse believes is so valuable to bridging the gap to the OUA’s elite is starting to take formation. 

The proof? The Hawks (8-8) are finding different ways to win during this string of victories. Although being able to force the pace on opponents will be the team’s primary means of success over the long-term, the purple and gold proved last Saturday in a 62-52 win over Algoma that they can also pull out games in which they need to rely on their team defence and ability to grind out offensive possessions in the half-court setting.

Having crawled their way back to even footing after sitting at a 3-8 record just a few short weeks ago, the Hawks find themselves in the thick of the race for the OUA West’s second seed and an automatic birth to the OUA Quarter-finals. This makes their pair of upcoming games this week that much more important.

First up for the purple and gold will be a school day affair at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium against the McMaster Marauders (3-13), a team that the Hawks have already beaten during their run. While the Marauders can score the ball, Laurier will look to expose their flaws on defence by pushing the ball out in transition.

On Friday, the Hawks will be looking for revenge against their University Avenue rivals in the Battle of Waterloo. The Waterloo Warriors (7-9) took the Hawks to task on their home court back in December, stealing an 85-74 win on the road. Coach Serresse was not impressed with his team’s effort that night and will certainly be looking for his team to inflict some payback on their rivals in black and gold, one of the several teams they are in a dog-fight with for playoff seeding.

TIP-IN’S
-    Laurier already clinched the season-long Battle of Waterloo series with men’s hockey’s 3-2 shootout victory on Jan. 6 and the Golden Hawks currently hold an 8-4-4 edge over the Warriors during the 2017-2018 OUA season
-    The Marauders did the Hawks a favour on Saturday with an upset win on the road at Western, leaving Laurier just a game back of the OUA West second seed
-    The Warriors split a pair of games in Thunder Bay last weekend against the Lakehead Thunderwolves

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

G Tevaun Kokko (Markham, Ont.)
-    Somehow continues to keep improving in the Hawks backcourt, completely taking over an otherwise low-scoring affair against Algoma Saturday, going off for 28 to follow up a 24-point effort the night prior
-    Was named Laurier Male Athlete of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Monday

McMaster Marauders (3-13)

G Miles Seward (Toronto, Ont.)
-    Averaging 18.5 points a game, Seward missed the Marauders previous contest against Laurier, but could prove to be a game breaker in the rematch

Waterloo Warriors (7-9)

F David Ramon Prados (Madrid, Spain)
-    After Warriors star Nedim Hodzic (Waterloo, Ont.) went down early in the first installment of the Battle of Waterloo, Prados played a key role in Waterloo’s victory with 13 points and a couple critical three-pointers late to seal the game
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