The OUA men’s basketball regular season is over and now it’s time for some playoff basketball. Lakehead and McMaster will have some time off before facing the winners of the quarter-finals in the semi-finals on Feb. 25. Laurier will matchup against Guelph and Windsor will host Brock. The Golden Hawks, by far, saw the biggest upset come against them this weekend and were pushed out of second place by McMaster on the last game of the regular season. Some teams have back-ended their way into the playoffs, while others have picked up steam at the right time. The Wilson Cup final is only two weeks away, so now it’s time to see who can make it there.
OUA Standings here; Playoff schedule here
Laurier 95 vs. Waterloo 96
The utter collapse of Laurier continued this weekend, and they started with a loss to Waterloo. After a disappointing 1-1 record last weekend, Laurier needed one win to clinch second in the West. And they couldn’t get it done. It should’ve come against Waterloo, but instead they’ll be missing a couple of days off that they would’ve gotten with a bye had they clinched second place. It wasn’t their offence that let them down, but against the eighth seed team, you need to have better defence. Kale Harrison had 26 points and 13 rebounds, while both Matt Buckley and Kyle Enright finished with 20 points for Laurier. Mike Wright led the way for Waterloo with 23 points and 8 assists and Zack Angelini ended with 18 points and 9 rebounds. You would think that the weekend would only get better for Laurier after this, but they still had one more game to play.
Laurier 67 vs. McMaster 93
Wow. That’s all that can be said about this one. Second spot in the West was on the line for this one and Laurier laid an egg, while McMaster showed up big time. The Marauders ended with 51.4% from the field to Laurier’s abysmal 31% and outrebounded the Golden Hawks 49 to 35 and 20 assists to 9. The second quarter was the turning point when Laurier flat out couldn’t stop McMaster. The Marauders put up 31 points to Laurier’s 11 and the game was pretty much over after that. Kale Harrison had a team high 16 points for the Golden Hawks, but there wasn’t much help after that. Taylor Black had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, while Adam Presutti finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. It doesn’t really get much worse than this for Laurier who had second place all but locked up throughout the season only to lose to go 1-3 in the last four games of the regular season while McMaster ran the table.
Player of the Week
In two games that were largely meaningless for the Wolves, Thomson led the way and helped Lakehead finish the regular season on a winning note. In two games against Guelph, Thomson had a combined total of 46 points, 17 rebounds and 5 assists in 61 minutes of playing time. He also went 6-for-8 on three’s and 19-for-29 from field goal range. Even though it came against a much lower ranked Guelph, Lakehead is on a roll going into the playoffs and Thomson was a big part of it.
Upcoming Playoff Games
Brock vs. Windsor
In a rematch of their Feb. 15 game, the Lancers will take on the Badgers in the first playoff game involving the West. Windsor won that game 79-72 and look to see a similar outcome. Windsor is far deeper than Brock and can count on five or six guys every night to contribute in some way. Brock is a little more limited and if you shutdown Andrew Kraus or Tshing Kasamba, you’ve slowed the Badgers down enough to likely get a win.
Guelph vs. Laurier
A few weeks ago I would’ve said Laurier by a landslide, but really, who knows with Laurier right now. They ended their otherwise great season on horrible losses. With four fifth years and two fourths in Laurier’s lineup, I expect them to wakeup and realize it’s this year or bust. The Gryphons have a few players they can count on to score, but after Kareem Malcolm, Daniel McCarthy and Adam Bering, there’s not much to Guelph’s roster. Look to see Laurier finally wakeup from their shaky end to the season and break out with a ton of points.