MBASK nearly steal one against the Badgers
Despite missing some key players, the Hawks almost pulled off a season-opening upset of Brock

Sunday, October 29, 2017 - Posted by Mac Turchan

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. (OCtober 29, 2017) – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men's basketball team had an opportunity to test themselves against one of the OUA’s best in their regular-season opener against the Brock Badgers Saturday afternoon at the Bob Davis Gymnasium in St. Catharines. Missing two starters in Tevaun Kokko (Markham, Ont.) and Chuder Teny (Kitchener, Ont.), many of the Hawks younger players took on more prominent roles. While the youthful squad showed a lot of guts and intensity, a few too many mistakes cost them in the end as they fell 80-70.

The Hawks (0-1) went down early in this one, the Badgers (2-0) capitalizing on the 17 first-half turnovers committed by the purple and gold. Handling the ball was a problem area throughout for the Hawks, as was the physical nature of the contest. With lots of fouls going either way, the game was slowed down and lost some of its natural flow, a fact Head Coach Justin Serresse believed favoured the stronger, more veteran Brock team.

Although Laurier shot just 31 percent in the first half, the Badgers were not exactly shooting the lights out either at 40 percent, so the Hawks were able to stay within striking distance down 41-28 at the break.

Not willing to roll over to the Badgers, the Hawks came out of the locker room for the third quarter ready to fight. Serresse cited the impact of rookie Adnan Begovic (Mississauga, Ont.) coming off the bench as a key proponent as the Hawks began to mount a comeback. Begovic scored all of his eight points in the third, including a pair of triples.

Serresse also praised the team’s prowess on the glass Saturday. Despite being outmanned and undersized compared to their opponents, the Hawks controlled the glass, outrebounding Brock 55-40 and 20-10 on the offensive end. Though the purple and gold did not have an efficient shooting night, the work on the offensive glass was key in creating lots of second-chance opportunities.

To the surprise of no one, Kemel Archer (Brampton, Ont.) led the way on the glass, collecting 10 boards to go along with 12 points for a double-double in his Laurier debut. Matt Minutillo (Brantford, Ont.) and Ntore Habimana (Mississauga, Ont.) added eight apiece.

Following a 30-point outburst in the third, the Hawks entered the final quarter down just two by a score of 70-68 and in position to pull off an upset. The Badgers though were able to take advantage of a few too many missed shots and turnovers by the purple and gold in the fourth to escape with the 80-70 victory.

Ali Sow (Ottawa, Ont.) led the way for the Hawks in terms of scoring, dropping 14 in his debut. Tyler Brown (Hamilton, Ont.) paced the Badgers with 17 points and seven steals.

While acknowledging the good things he saw in terms of his team’s fighting spirit, Serresse admitted that, as competitors, the fact that they could not steal the game after clawing all the way back stings. He knows that it’s not everyday you catch a team like Brock having an off-shooting game. However, he looks forward to when these two teams can meet next when the Hawks are back at full strength.

The Hawks are back in action next weekend, travelling north to face Nipissing and Laurentian.

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