By Ian Shalapata
(WINDSOR, ON) – Game 2 of the NCAA/OUA Tip-Off Classic was held last night at the University of Windsor’s St Dennis Centre as the Men’s Basketball team hosted the Marshall Thundering Herd of Huntington, West Virginia. The Lancers ended up on the bottom side of an exciting 84-80 game that had everything from slam dunks to alley-oops.
Any travel fatigue wasn’t showing as the Herd took the game to the home side, scoring first, and often, in the first quarter. Led by Harlem, NY, freshman, Kareem Canty, Marshall enjoyed a 10 point spread at the end of the first quarter. Also stepping up for the visitors was another freshman, forward Ryan Taylor, who contributed buckets (20 points) and strength under his own net (8 def rebounds, 11 total) to register a double-double.
Windsor didn’t give up, however. The Lancers out-scored the Herd in each of the next two quarters, and pulled ahead by 3 points in the 3rd for a few minutes. One standout for Windsor was 6’ 8” business student Lien Phillip who logged 32 minutes and netted 28 points and 9 rebounds. Another leader on the Lancers was fifth year point guard Josh Collins as he contributed 15 points and 4 steals.
The Lancers’ tune-up against Marshall demonstrated a number of areas that need work before the start of the season. The team shot only 35% from the floor, although that was mitigated by 31% from outside the arc. However, there needs to be more strength shown inside as only 22 of their 80 points were scored from inside the paint. The transition game also needs to be addressed as the team gave up four fast breaks to Marshall without quickly shifting gears themselves. The lack of toughness under the basket also showed up in their own end as the Herd out-muscled Windsor 33% of the time on the boards.
Highlights for the Lancers included strong production from the bench with 48 points, and the appearance of good conditioning. Five players contributed more than 20 minutes each and the team was able to battle back from a 14 point deficit. The Lancers will be a force in the OUA when they sort out the weak areas.
Marshall is on a five-game tour of Canada, and is, so far, sitting at 2-0 after a win against Algoma University in the opening leg.
Windsor next takes on The Citadel of Charleston, South Carolina, Monday and Tuesday at St Dennis. Game time for both starts is 7:00 pm and tickets are just $5 at the door.