In the second last week of the regular season there were more than a few surprises. Lakehead clinched the West, while Windsor was shocked by Waterloo one night and returned the favour to Laurier a few nights later. There was a few high scoring games and a couple of battles between heavy and lightweights. The last week of the regular season is coming up, but this past week help set some of the playoff positioning. In the CIS top 10, Lakehead will remain in second, but don’t be surprised if Laurier falls back a few spots from sixth after a 1-1 weekend.
[Ed. note: Laurier indeed fell one spot, to seventh. McMaster also became the third OUA West team in the Top 10 (or 11), tied with Concordia for tenth. -RP]
Windsor 85 vs. Waterloo 90
February 8, 2012
Whoa, wait, what? That was the actual score? Shocking would be a good word to describe this one. Windsor had a small shot at moving into second this weekend, but those hopes were dashed before the weekend even began. Simply put, if you’re going to challenge, you can’t lose to the worst team in your division. Even more so, you can’t lose to that team with less than four games before the playoffs. It’s unacceptable, but Windsor has to move on and hope this was a wakeup call. Lien Phillip and Rotimi Osuntola Jr. had good nights collecting 24 and 23 points, respectively. Phillip was a force in the paint grabbing 19 rebounds, but outside of those two there was little help from the rest of the Lancers. Srdjan Pejicic had 28 points in 19 minutes of playing time for Waterloo. The Warriors were far better this night when it came to shooting going 47% from field goal range compared to 42.1% by Windsor. Waterloo also went 40.6% on threes, while Windsor shot 24.1%.
Western 105 vs. Waterloo 102 (OT)
February 11, 2012
Both these teams have had a long season, but they made for an interesting weekend. And hey, sometimes it’s good to give love to the little guys at the bottom of the standings. Waterloo was fresh off their win against Windsor and both teams combined for a shootout, including a total of 37 points in 5 minutes of overtime. Western guard Ryan Barbeau is playing what could be his last few games as an OUA player and is making them count. Western is gunning hard for a playoff spot, and Barbeau will be the main reason if they get it. He had 46 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds and played all but one minute of the game and had 4 points in the last 25 seconds to lead Western to victory. How important was Barbeau? The next three highest points by Mustangs players were 15, 14 and 11. In all fairness though, what they lacked in points they made up for in rebounds. The Mustangs had three players with 10 or more rebounds to help Western with a game total of 53 compared to 35 by Waterloo. Cam McIntyre had 33 points and 3 assists, while Zack Angelini put up 28 points and 4 rebounds in a losing effort, but after beating Windsor three days before, they probably knew that was the high point of their year.
Windsor 77 vs. Laurier 69
February 11, 2012
Windsor needed this game badly after the embarrassing loss to Waterloo and it came against the second place team in the West and one that had been in the CIS top 10 for most of the year. The Lancers came to play, or more specifically, Lien Phillip came to play. He had 20 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assists. Josh Collins chipped in 19 points and 4 rebounds. All but seven of Windsor’s points came from starters, which would normally be a discouraging sign, but they managed to keep one of the best offences in the CIS to 69 points. That’s the second lowest point total they’ve had all year. The first? It came against Carleton - the top team in all of Canadian university basketball. Kale Harrison had 21 points and 8 rebounds for the Golden Hawks, while Conor Meschino had 17 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Although the score is somewhat close, this game was out of reach by the first quarter. Windsor never let their foot off the gas and took it to Laurier, who shot 33.3% from the field and 23.3% on three’s. This was a perfect example of what can happen when a team that depends so much on its offence has an off night.
Player of the Week
Lien Phillip - Windsor Lancers
Phillip had two stellar performances this past week. And although the Lancers only went 1-1, none of that can be placed on Phillip’s shoulders. He had a combined total of 44 points, a stunning 34 rebounds and 6 assists in 74 minutes of playing time. No one came close to him in rebounds in either game and his defensive rebounding (25 over two games) stopped a ton of second chance points. The main reason they stopped Laurier was improved defence, which had let them down against Waterloo a few nights before. Phillip was unstoppable in the paint, and that’s something Windsor will look to motivate them over what they hope will be a few more weeks of games.
Upcoming Game of the Week
Laurier vs. McMaster
This is a big if, but depending on what happens this weekend, this could be the game that decides second place in the West. Laurier holds second right now, but you have to think after the way Windsor dismantled them McMaster is itching to take it to them. Either way, I expect this to be a big game as neither team wants to go into the playoffs with a loss, and those extra few days off that comes with the bye help out a ton. Both teams have had long seasons, school schedules take their toll and a few days extra rest can make all the difference.