Men’s basketball finds second straight loss at home, falling to the Lions by three points

By Timothy Kraft, Lambda Staff

On Nov. 14, the Laurentian Voyageurs squared off against the York University Lions in front of a fan-packed home court, ultimately suffering a 96-99 overtime defeat and falling to the Lions.

“We played really hard, we were tough and competitive. We played a little bit smarter than last game, but just a couple decisions threw us off from getting the outcome we wanted,” commented head coach Shawn Swords.

The Voyageurs began with full court ball pressure, gaining an early lead and making York sweat. Pushing the envelope in the first quarter for the Voyageurs was David Aromolaran (guard) who sliced through York’s defensive zone for baskets. In retaliation, the Lions rushed down court and knocked down shots from deep.

The teams continued to exchange leads as the fans began to rise to their feet in cheers, ending the first quarter with an even score of 20-20.

The second quarter was arguably a bit more physical: with six minutes left before halftime, and the Voyageurs leading 31-26, Sam Hirst (forward) went down from an unintentional elbow under the York basket. Although the Voyageurs trainer was on the scene to aid Hirst, the player exited to the locker room, where he and York guard Shane Reader received head wraps.

When gameplay resumed after the delay, the Voyageurs went into halftime trailing York 42-43.

York ‘s strong offensive run helped dig the team out of their hole, chipping the Voyageurs lead down to a score of 61-58 at the end of the third.

Before the fourth quarter, the Voyageur’s mascot pumped up the home crowd who banged pots behind York’s bench.

In the final quarter of regulation, the Voyageurs returned with focus as Anthony Iacoe’s three point touch gained Laurentian a brief eight-point lead of 68-60. However, despite the Voyageur’s continuous effort, York was not ready to submit.

Now making the most of each opportunity, York capitalized at the free throw line and defended well, again deteriorating the Voyageur lead.

As time continured to wind down, the lead was exchanged between the teams a total of four times, igniting the crowd.

The final play of the fourth quarter enthralled fans when Aromolaran received the ball, scanned the Lions defence, and stepped up for a buzzer-beating three point swish to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

Entering overtime with a score of 86-86, Voyageurs got a quick basket shortly before York gained posession and a three pointer.

The Voyageurs play never recovered, and after a missed three-pointer in the final seconds of game play by Iacoe, the Lions secured their free throws and ended the game with a three-point victory of 99-96.

“We worked hard but at the end of the day we’ve got to get the win,” said Iacoe on the second home loss for the Voyageurs.

Iacoe also noted that the team’s chemistry is “great” on the court, but said it’s “also the off-court stuff that matters.”

Looking forward, Swords said the team plans to “keep the intensity.”

“We typically play hard at home, but we need to play harder on the road, especially now… We can compete at this level. Eventually, the wins will start coming.”

The Laurentian Voyageurs look to improve their 0-4 record on the road, where they’ll face the Guelph Gryphons on Nov. 20.

-Photos by Timothy Kraft