By Gabriel Rodrigues
Laurentian’s men’s basketball team remains undefeated, improving to 6-0 after defeating the Guelph Griffons and Lakehead Thunderwolves in convincing fashion this past weekend.
On Friday, Nov. 15, the Voyageurs defeated the Griffons 86-64 in a one sided game, as Laurentian picked up its third straight win at home this season.
In the first quarter, Laurentian started off slow, but soon found their rhythm, as the Voyageurs outscored the Griffins 27-18.
The second was a little more one sided with Laurentian forcing Guelph to call a timeout in the early going, but the Voyageurs would end the quarter leading by 18 points.
After halftime, Guelph started to compete by hitting key shots forcing Laurentian’s reply, but the Voyageurs proved to be too strong for the Griffons taking the third quarter 24-22.
In the fourth, Laurentian began the quarter with lots of momentum forcing Guelph to turn over the ball leading to Voyageurs’ forward, Gherick Uneau, dunking on the Griffons after a quick transition.
After that, Laurentian ran away with the game taking it by 22 points.
“We outworked Guelph,” said Voyageurs’ coach, Shawn Swords. “We always talk about work ethic, and we brought that with energy and hustle throughout the game.”
Laurentian guard, Alex Ratte, led all scorers in the game with a season high 35 points going 5-5 from the free-throw line and 6-12 from beyond the arc.
Guelph’s Trevor Thompson had 10 points and three rebounds in the Griffons’ losing cause.
Rebounds were key for Laurentian, as the Voyageurs out-rebounded Guelph 40-35, with forward, Nelson Yengue, collecting 10 of those rebounds in the win.
On Saturday, Nov. 16, Laurentian continued their undefeated season by beating the Thunderwolves 91-68, continuing the Voyageurs best start under the coach Swords’ era.
In the first quarter, both teams exchanged points in the early going, but after Laurentian pulled away with three straight baskets, the Thunderwolves called a timeout with the Voyageurs leading 18-12.
After the timeout, Lakehead tightened it up defensively but could only manage one basket, finding themselves down by four to the Voyageurs going into the second.
To start the quarter, Laurentian went on a 9-1 run forcing, once again, Lakehead to call a timeout. But this time, the Thunderwolves came out hungry scoring nine points to the Voyageurs three, making Laurentian take a timeout of their own.
After Laurentian’s much needed timeout, the Voyageurs would outscore Lakehead 11-5 with Yengue successfully finishing an alley-oop from an in-bounce pass culminating in the Ben F. Avery Gymnasium to cheer frantically.
The Voyageurs took a 41-29 lead going into the third, but the Thunderwolves picked up their game forcing Laurentian to turn over the ball scoring easy layups.
However, Laurentian continued to score points on Lakehead, taking the quarter 27-22.
In the fourth, Lakehead pushed Laurentian, as the Thunderwolves scored nine points early in the quarter bringing the Voyageurs’ lead down to only 10 points.
The Voyageurs managed to hit clutch shots outscoring the Thunderwolves 21-8 in the late stages of the game, stopping Lakeheads’ comeback, winning the game by 23 points, and continuing Laurentian’s undefeated start to the season.
“At home there’s always energy,” said Swords. “We set the tone early, but we let them hang around a little bit and couldn’t fully put them away. We gave away way to many transition layups that we haven’t given up much this year. But, we got 17 offensive rebounds and you don’t do that by being lazy, so I’m pleased with their effort.”
Ratte led all scorers again with 28 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the game for Laurentian.
Lakehead’s Dwayne Harvey had 26 points, five assists and five rebounds in the Thunderwolves loss.
Yengue proved to be a force for the Voyageurs as well, as he tallied 20 points and eight rebounds. Also, Laurentian forward Tychon Carter-Newman was an influence in the win scoring 19 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Lakehead had 19 turnovers compared to Laurentian’s 16, but rebounds played a significant role in this game with the Voyageurs out-rebounding the Thunderwolves 34-28.
Swords said his team hasn’t played its best, but believes his players are confident no matter any outcome.
“I like the fact that we are having success and still have lots to work on,” he said. “The guys are hustling and outworking the other teams. We trust each other on offense and defense, leading them to know each other’s strengths on both sides of the court.”