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Men's Basketball
Vlad Matovic is Laurier's lone graduating senior and will be recognized prior to Sunday's game (Credit: Eva Ou)
Vlad Matovic is Laurier's lone graduating senior and will be recognized prior to Sunday's game (Credit: Eva Ou)
PREVIEW: MBASK look to bounce back for stretch run
Game Dates and Times: Wednesday, February 7 – 8:00 p.m. (vs. Western) and Sunday, February 11 – 2:00 p.m. (vs. Guelph - Senior's Day) *
Game Locations: University of Waterloo Physical Activities Complex (vs. Western) and RIM Park, Waterloo (vs. Guelph) *
Live Webcast/Radio Coverage: OUA.tv and Radio Laurier (vs. Western) *
Tickets: vs. Western, vs. Guelph

* Note that because of flooding at the Laurier Athletic Complex, game dates, times, and locations have been adjusted. Both radio and web coverage will be suspended on Sunday vs. Guelph due to facility restrictions at RIM Park

A STATEMENT TO MAKE
After a stretch of six wins in seven games, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team took a step back last week with back-to-back losses. Against No. 2 Brock, the Hawks (9-11) went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the nation in every aspect of the game. Save for an ugly five-minute stretch early in the second half, the purple and gold deserved a victory, but could not quite get over the line.

The magnitude and intensity of the matchup with the Badgers seemed to take its toll on the Hawks, at least mentally. They were not able to find that same level of energy and performance in what could be argued was a game of even greater importance Friday against the Windsor Lancers, a team in which the purple and gold were tied with in the OUA West standings, losing in what turned into a shootout.

Now down to fourth in the West and looking up, the onus is on the Hawks to recapture the fire that was lacking against Windsor for pivotal matchups this week with the Western Mustangs (13-7) and Guelph Gryphons (5-15). The Mustangs currently sit as the undisputed No. 2 in the OUA West and beat the Hawks at the buzzer the last time the teams hooked up in London. With a convincing win over Western, the purple and gold can not only find redemption, but send a statement to the division heading into the playoffs that they are the most dangerous challenger to Brock’s reign at the top.

On Sunday, the Hawks take on Guelph in their final home game of the regular season. Prior to the game, Laurier will recognize their lone graduating senior in Vlad Matovic, and will be eager to send the fifth year out with a win. However, it will likely not be the last game he plays at home in a Laurier uniform. As things currently stand, the purple and gold would play a first round matchup at home come postseason time.

TIP-IN’S
-    The projected first round opponent for the Hawks right now is the Waterloo Warriors, which would make for a mouth-watering Battle of Waterloo showdown
-    The No. 1 Carleton Ravens (19-0) are only four games away from completing a perfect regular season
-    The Hawks final two games of the season will be contested in Thunder Bay next week as they take on Lakehead (2-18) in a weekend set
-    Despite giving up 90 to Windsor on Friday, the work the Hawks have been doing on defence over the last month has showed. They are now ranked as the seventh best defensive team in the OUA, after sitting 15th a year ago

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (9-11)

G Ali Sow (Ottawa, Ont.)
-    The first-year guard continues to be a difference maker for the Hawks, powering home a career-high 31 points against Brock to earn himself Laurier Male Athlete of the Week honours

Western Mustangs (13-7)

F Marko Kovac (Windsor, Ont.)
-    Has been tearing it up for the Mustangs on their current four-game winning streak, posting at least 17 points a game while playing well north of 30 minutes a contest, it’s clear that Kovac will be someone Western will rely on Wednesday

Guelph Gryphons (5-15)

G Jonathan Wallace (Malton, Ont.)
-    The fifth-year guard carried the Gryphons offence the last time out against Laurier, scoring 17 points as a primary ball-handler, look for more of the same Sunday 
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