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OUA East games begin!

The second half of the season has begun.  We started off with the Rod Shoveller tournament at Dalhousie University in Halifax.  Last year we used this trip to get back into game shape and prepare ourselves for the OUA east portion of the schedule and it worked out pretty well.  This year we were hoping for the same results. 

First game was against #4 ranked St. FX. Coach Konchalski as usual has a deep athletic team and this year was no different. After a good start with us up 10-7 they fought through their holiday legs and took the first quarter 26-12.  The rest of the game was much of the same.  They pressured us the whole second half which lead to turnovers and easy buckets. Couple that with our inability to stop penetration and they won going away 100-61.  Hard to believe we were down only 17 with 3 minutes left in the third!

Second game was against St. Mary’s. They are similar to St. FX but not as deep or as athletic.  A good game from start to finish by both teams.  We held a half time lead of 7 and stretched it to 12 early in the third quarter.  Their comeback was mounted by All-Canadian Joey Haywood.  He took over the game at the offensive end with a variety of dribble moves that led to pull up jumpers or layups. We held him to 36 points on the day, I say that because this past Sunday he had 46 points!  The final score 93-87. 

Third game of the weekend was at 9am on Sunday. The game everybody wants to play in!  We were up against Queen’s who coincidentally we were going to face the first league game back.  We wanted to use this game to try some different looks and obviously work on all our weaknesses.  We came out quite loud and I was impressed considering the time of the game.  As most of you can remember getting up at 7:30am to play in a 9 am game isn’t exactly the perfect situation but one that both teams are enduring.  An ugly game for the most part with Queen’s pulling out a 71-68 victory. 

So much for gaining some confidence leading into league play!  Despite the losses we learned a lot about what it will take from us to be the best team we can be. ( I know sounds corny) We are getting better as a group and guys are starting to perfect their roles on the team.  This year we made a tough exhibition schedule to challenge ourselves against the best so that come end of the year we aren’t shocked by the intensity and hopefully we can match the intensity we’ve seen from some of them.

As mentioned our first league game back was against Queen’s.  We were fortunate enough to have played against them and at least get an idea of how their offenses and defenses would work against us.  With the help of our crowd we jumped up to a 12-0 lead.  We executed well offensively but were lucky they missed some easy baskets. The end of the first quarter had us leading 19-10.  The second quarter they got going  and were able to cut the lead to 7 at the half.  Their star point guard was giving us some difficulty with a wide range of jumpers.  We refocused at half time and emphasised the need to contain the ball and communicate better on the defensive end.  The guys responded well and we extended our lead to 15 at the end of the third.  They can shoot the ball well from the outside so the game was far from over.  We needed to put 40 minutes together and not let them back into the game.  A strong fourth quarter on defense helped us win 75-54.  A few telling stats: we out rebounded them 43-30 and out shot them from three 8-16 to their 3-16 (incidentally they shot 16-22 the next night from three against York).  This win put us at 5-5 on the year and still alone in 3rd place in the OUA east.

Saturday’s game was versus RMC.  They have struggled lately but do have a few skilled players that can light it up.  This game is always a tough one mentally.  Players tend to take them lightly because in their own minds they have won already.  We all know this is not the case and is a bad habit to start.  Each and every game you play you need to bring the same intensity and commitment to the court.  We had a let down in the 2nd quarter which allowed the game to be close 40-32.  We are trying to get better every time we step foot on the court and we hadn’t so far this game.  The second half was much different with the guys responding as they should with more urgency to improve and execute our game plan.

We are now above .500 at 6-5 with 11 games left in the season.  We are at home again this weekend to face Ryerson and #9 Toronto. 

It will be an exciting finish to the season!

Check out the Voyageur Culinary Tour page as well.

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