Men’s Basketball Team Weekend Split Helps Regain First Place in OUA West

Windsor Lancers men's basketball forward, Evan Matthews, rises above a Queen's defender during OUA regular season play at St. Denis Centre, Jan. 30. [Photo by // Kevin Jarrold]

by Kim Elliot
The Lance – Sports Intern

In another see-saw effort at home, the Windsor Lancer men’s basketball team restrained the surging Queen’s Golden Gaels with a 93-86 win on the front end of a doubleheader at St. Denis Centre, but were ambushed by the York Lions 89- 84 on the back end.

Having won five of their last six games, the fifth-ranked Lancers easily outpaced the unranked Gaels throughout the first three quarters of the Jan. 30 game, but let Queens back into it in the fourth before closing them out. The weekend split was good enough for Windsor to regain sole possession of first place in the OUA West division, after the Western Mustangs fell in a 75-74 squeaker to Queen’s Jan. 31.

Queen’s knocked down 13 three-point shots against the Lancers which allowed them to get back in the game. Lancers head coach Chris Oliver said his team missed too many defensive assignments.

“We didn’t play with any consistency, we didn’t play with any intensity defensively,” said Oliver. “When you let another team get confident it’s going to be a battle. At this level, everyone’s got players that can beat you and clearly Queens played with that kind of confidence.”

Although Queens held a 19-18 first quarter lead, Windsor led 45-35 at the half and led by as much as 16 points, with 2:43 remaining in the third quarter. With Windsor only having a slight margin of efficiency from the field, it was their improved free throw shooting that kept them in control of the game down the stretch and garnered them the victory.

Windsor had five players score in double figures led by Mitch Farrell, who scored 23 points. Two Lancer forwards recorded double-doubles against Queen’s. Rotimi Osuntola Jr. had 17 points and 12 rebounds,while Evan Matthews had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Steady backcourt contributions came from Lancers Khalid Abdel Kabar’s 13 points, six assist effort and Alex Campbell’s 12 points and seven rebounds.

The next day, the York Lions started off fast against the Lancers and led by nine points after the first quarter and 22 points at halftime. Windsor battled back in the second half and took a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Lancers were unable to maintain their lead and York took the contest 89-84.

“We just came out flat, while they came out going at us strongly,” said Osuntola. “Eventually we responded, but it was too little too late. Unfortunately, these losses go against our reputation nationally and decreases our morale as a team. Coach does a great job preparing us for games, but it’s what we do after practice that perhaps we need to improve upon.”

Lions head coach Tom Oliveri said his team watched game film to prepare for Windsor.

“We feel he’s one of the best centres in the league, if not the best,” said Oliveri. “Collectively, we just really wanted to run today and beat Windsor. A result like this really helps our rating and better positions us for the playoffs.”

Coach Oliver said his team needs to adjust their mental toughness. After defeating Carleton a week earlier, Oliver knows his team has the capabilities to compete with Canada’s best.

“We’ve done it, we just have to be that team and stay together as a group,” said Oliver.

After back-to-back weekend doubleheaders at home in the St. Denis Centre, the Lancers now head out on the road for a doubleheader against the Laurentian Voyageurs and Nipissing Lakers, Feb, 6 and 7.

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