by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
The Lancer men’s basketball team is looking to start a winning-streak after beating the Laurier Golden Hawks on the road during a midweek battle in Kitchener and then easily took care of business against the Waterloo Warriors with a 86-58 win at home this past weekend.
The wins puts Windsor’s record at 7-6 on the season with an opportunity to notch two more wins on their home turf in their upcoming home-and-home series at the St. Denis Centre this weekend against Laurentian and Nipissing University, Feb. 5 and 6, respectively.
The 90-78 road win over the Hawks Jan. 27 and was followed by a convincing 86-58 win over the Waterloo. The double wins cement a pair Windsor season sweep of both OUA west division rivals in a two-game span in which Lancers interim head coach Ryan Steer said his team showed a lot of defensive effort.
“We sustained that for four quarters against Waterloo and it’s something that we need to continue to do,” Steer said. “Offensively we moved and shared the ball extremely well and knocked down our open shots, which opened up the lane in the second half. It’s always nice having five players score in double figures.”
Against the Hawks, Windsor jumped out to a 26-13 first quarter lead and was in full command of the contest with a 42-30 lead at the half. Windsor also outplayed the hosted 29-25 in the third frame, and though Laurier outscored them 23-19 in the last segment of play it was not enough to deny Windsor the much needed road win which improves their record away from the St. Denis Centre to 2-5.
Fifth year senior Alex Campbell led the way in scoring as usual with 25 points while two of his understudies managed impressive double-doubles. Marko Kovac tallied 21 points and snagged 11 boards while Randy Oriakhi scored 15 points and claimed 12 rebounds. Rookie sensation Isiah Osborne also clicked for 15 points and his 13.9 points per game average will no doubt be good enough to put him in contention for rookie of the year in the OUA and possibly the CIS if he maintains it the rest of the way. Four members of the Hawks also scored in double digits, led by Will Coulthard’s 20-point performance.
Lancer sophomore small forward Kovac, a Windsor native and W.F. Herman high school product said scoring has become an import role for him since Windsor is such a young team but is happy to start producing at a higher rate.
“I’ve been lacking in that department, so it’s good to have that under my belt now,” Kovac said. “I’m also happy that I made the decision to stay in Windsor in order to play in front of my family and other guys I grew up playing with or against like Isiah (Osborne). No regrets.”
Against the Warriors, the Lancers shot an impressive 46 per cent from the field and knocked down 15 shots from behind the arc and finished with an impressive 45.5 shooting percentage from three-point range the near 30-point drubbing to push their record above .500 once again.
“We shot the ball well right from the start, with increasing confidence. We also executed well and the guys were creating scoring opportunities for each other,” Kovac said. “All week we have been emphasizing an extra kick or a drive and kick and we actually did that excellently. Now we start to take a run at the OUA playoffs and make waves with such a young squad.”
Five Lancers scored in double figures with Campbell and Kovac contributing 14 points apiece and Osborne scoring 12. Freshman guard Micah Kirubel added 11 points while veteran Mike Rocca chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Getting his shot in the middle for Windsor was 6’9” rookie centre Pim Hurkmans, the Lancers only true big man, who figured in the scoring with six points including two silky smooth jumpers from 15 feet out on both sides of the key in the second quarter.
The hulking Hurkmans hails from Lake Orion, MI. and was a big signing by the Lancer program this offseason. The 18-year old said it has been a great experience playing in Windsor.
“Everyone really pushes one another to get better, so it’s a lot of fun,” Hurkmans said. “In high school I used to work more on the outside but now I’m starting to develop my inside game as far as scoring and rebounding are concerned.”
Waterloo forward Mike Pereira played a strong two-dimensional game tallying 18 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow Warriors Ben Davis and Jon Ravenhurst connected for 14 points and 10 points respectively.
Windsor enters a two-game home stand against some lower-caliber opponents but as the playoffs approach the team’s focus is clear.
“Our primary focus this week is Laurentian first,” Steer said. “We’re going to continue our one game at a time mentality moving toward the playoffs”.
Laurentian takes the hard-court at St. Denis Centre Feb. 5 while Nipissing has the same task the next night Feb. 6.