PREVIEW: MBASK continues road trip
Hawks stare down a testing early-season back-to-back on the road against Nipissing and Laurentian
Friday, November 3, 2017 - Posted by Mac Turchan
Game Dates and Times: Friday, November 3 – 8 p.m. (at Nipissing) and Saturday, November 4 – 8 p.m. (at Laurentian)
Game Locations: Robert J Surtees Student Athletic Centre, North Bay and Ben F. Avery Gymnasium, Sudbury
Live Webcast/Stats: OUA.tv
Tickets: at Nipissing, at Laurentian
GAME ONE IN THE BOOKS
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team opened their 2017-18 OUA campaign last weekend in St. Catharines, in what was the first taste of OUA action for many players on a youthful Hawks team. The Hawks (0-1) put in a gritty effort on the road, but ultimately could not get over the finish line against one of the OUA’s best, falling 80-70 to the No. 2 Brock Badgers (2-0).
With the game one nerves past them, Head Coach Justin Serresse is looking for his team to get back to their style of basketball, high energy on both ends and an emphasis on pushing the pace. After watching tape from the opener, Serresse explained how his players did not like what they saw, knowing that they had strayed away from that style. Look for the team to work on dictating the game with their pace and intensity moving forward.
The purple and gold will face a stern test as they look to improve on their opener. They make the lengthy trip north this weekend to North Bay and Sudbury to take on the Nipissing Lakers (0-0) and the No. 10 Laurentian Voyageurs (0-0). Despite the distance separating them, the Hawks have some recent history against both opponents that they will try to avenge this weekend. The Voyageurs knocked out Laurier in the first round of the OUA playoffs last February. Fans in attendance will no doubt remember the last time the Hawks and Lakers hooked up last December. In one of the more dramatic games of the season, Nipissing guard Ismael Kaba (Ottawa, Ont.) sunk the Hawks with a buzzer-beating three to win the game.
Besides looking to make amends for recent history, Serresse senses that his players will be highly motivated to notch that first and hopefully second win of the season this weekend. Serresse is hopeful that top-scorer Tevaun Kokko (Markham, Ont.) will be able to return to action this weekend after sitting out the opener due to injury, which would certainly be a huge addition to the lineup for the pair of tough road matchups.
- The Hawks will welcome in the ‘Beasts of the East’ Ottawa and Carleton to the Athletic Complex next weekend for their first two home games of the year
- The Voyageurs had an interesting exhibition schedule, playing in a pre-season tournament against NCAA opposition in San Jose, Costa Rica
- The East Division dominated the West on opening weekend, with all four East teams in action picking up wins over Western foes
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (0-1)
G/F Ntore Habimana (Mississauga, Ont.)
- Serresse loves Habimana’s length at the two or three spot, as well as his versatility to switch on to many different positions on the defensive side of the ball
- Already receiving an uptick in responsibility in his second season with the Hawks, contributing nine points and eight rebounds in a starting role against Brock
Nipissing Lakers (0-0)
G Jaaden Lewis (Thornhill, Ont.)
- The sophomore is a potential breakout candidate for the Lakers as he takes on a larger role following a successful rookie campaign
- Dropped 29 points and 13 rebounds in the Lakers’ final non-conference game against Montreal
Laurentian Voyageurs (0-0)
G Kadre Gray (Toronto, Ont.)
- Last year’s OUA leading scorer is a dynamic presence anytime he’s on the court, and was key in the Voyageurs getting past the Hawks in the playoffs last season
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