Swords: ‘We have to worry about ourselves now’

By Gab Rodrigues

This past weekend, Laurentian’s men’s basketball team dropped their first two home games of the New Year against the number one and two ranked teams in the country, the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees.

On Friday, Jan. 10, the Voyageurs lost their first game at home this season 88-54 to the undefeated Carleton Ravens (11-0). In the first, Carleton took it to the Voyageurs, hitting timely shots and running away with the opening quarter 21-15.

The second quarter was a lot like the first, with Carleton controlling much of the play and forcing Laurentian to misuse the ball, leading to some easy baskets as the Ravens took a 42-28 lead going into halftime.

After the half, Laurentian came out with a little more jump, but Carleton would score 28 points in the third while the Voyageurs could only manage 13 points in the quarter.

Going into the fourth quarter, Laurentian found themselves down by 29 points, but the Voyageurs still showed some fight. The Ravens, however, would run away with the game, taking it by 34 points.

Laurentian head coach Shawn Swords wasn’t impressed by his team’s performance against the Ravens.

“They are such a good team,” he said. “But I’m upset about our effort. We need to learn from this because once a good team like Carleton starts rolling it gets into guys’ heads which becomes a struggle. It was definitely a wakeup call for us to be better.”

Voyageurs guard Alex Ratte led all scorers with 19 points, collecting three rebounds and going eight for eight from the free-throw line throughout the game.

Carleton’s Thomas Scrubb had 18 points, 11 rebounds and added four assists to lead the Ravens to victory. Rebounds were clearly a focal point for Carleton’s success, as the Ravens out-rebounded the Voyageurs 42-25 with 15 of those being offensive rebounds.

Also, the Ravens had a combined 15 assists compared to Laurentian’s seven, making Carleton’s use of the ball influential to their teams’ win against the Voyageurs.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, The Voyageurs dropped their second-straight home game when they lost 93-72 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees, dropping Laurentian’s record to 7-4 this season.

In the first, the Voyageurs struggled to get things going as Ottawa scored the first three baskets of the quarter. Soon after, Laurentian started to find their game and found themselves only down by six going into the second. Laurentian couldn’t manage to get any momentum in the second scoring only nine points, while the Gee-Gees began to take over the game, going on an 11-0 run to end the quarter, leading 51-33 at halftime.

In the third, Laurentian came out strong and began to score some points as the Voyageurs outscored Ottawa in the quarter 27-22, finding themselves only down by 12 going into the last quarter. However, in the fourth, the Gee-Gees proved to be too strong for the Voyageurs, outscoring Laurentian 20-12.

Swords said that, although they lost,he was much more pleased with his team’s effort against Ottawa as opposed to their performance versus Carleton.

“We battled harder,” he said. “We outworked them throughout the game but we didn’t take care of the ball as well as we should have. We did a good job of trying to get back but we were stuck chasing the game.”

Ottawa’s Johnny Berhanemeskel led all scorers with 29 points, collecting four rebounds and adding two assists in the Gee-Gees win. Laurentian guard, Alex Ratte, had 22 points, four rebounds and two assists to lead the Voyageurs. The Voyageurs ball handling was a little off against the Gee-Gees, as Ottawa managed to steal the ball ten times compared to Laurentian’s five in the game. Ottawa had a combined 19 assists while the Voyageurs had 15, making the Gee-Gees passing game more efficient throughout the game.

Swords believes his team need to learn from their mistakes against Ottawa and Carleton, and “bounce back.”

“We just couldn’t get any momentum,” he said. “We were giving to many direct lines to the basket and it’s hard to defend when those lanes are open. It’s our first two losses at home, but that being said, it was against the number one and two ranked teams in the country. We have to worry about ourselves now, and work on our on-the-ball defense, trying to get a good transition and keep the ball in the offensive zone.”

The Voyageurs are home next weekend when they host the Queen’s Gaels (7-5) on Friday, Jan. 17, and the York Lions (7-5) on Saturday, Jan.18, with both games starting at 8 p.m. at the Ben F. Avery Gymnasium.