By Ian Shalapata
(WINDSOR, ON) – The RBC Classic was held at Brock University in St Catharines this past weekend and the University of Windsor Lancers finished out their pre-season with three more wins. On the heels of a perfect swing through British Columbia, the Lancers quietly dispatched the Wittenberg Tigers at Academie Ste Cecile before travelling to Brock for the final tune-up for the 2014-15 season.
Friday evening Windsor dispatched the McGill Redmen 80-74 at the Bob Davis Gymnasium. Mitch Farrell and Rotimi Osuntola Jr each dropped 23 points for the Lancers in the win. The pair also combined for 4 steals and Farrell added 3 assists. Evan Matthews barely missed out on a double-double as he contributed 9 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Windsor led by 2 at the half and extended their lead to 10 by the end of the 3rd quarter, but the team coasted in the 4th frame, allowing the Redmen to claw their way to within six by the final buzzer. The Blue and Gold fired just 37% from the floor.
“The McGill game was challenging throughout as we never pulled away to make it a more comfortable game,” said Windsor’s head coach Chris Oliver. “McGill made us defend a variety of situations throughout the game and it put us off balance at times. We pushed a lead a number of times but never pulled away. Some of this was our inconsistent free throw shooting as well. We missed way too many second half free throws. Our shooting in general was a struggle.
On Saturday, Windsor’s opponents were the Regina Cougars of the Canada West Athletics Association. This time the Lancers dominated from start to finish winning by a score of 84-56. Windsor built a 31-19 lead by the end of just the 1st quarter and continued to build on it throughout the game, including a 20-4 advantage in the 3rd.
Osuntola put up 20 points, to again lead the Lancers, and also added 2 blocks and 3 steals. Alex Campbell had a big game registering the double-double with 10 rebounds and 14 points. Farrell also dropped 15 points for the Lancers.
Finally on Sunday, Windsor tipped off against the Fraser Valley Cascades, a team they had narrowly won against, 57-56, while in Vancouver nine days earlier. In St Catharines, however, the Lancers shot 47.7% from the field and put away UFV 95-51. Windsor was able to contain Cascades’ standout Kadeem Willis, who fired 40 points against Brock on Friday, while Khalid Abdel-Gabar netted 18 and Farrell chipped in 17.
With the three wins, Windsor was declared the tournament champion due to a favourable points differential against Ryerson. Additionally, Onsuntola was named co-MVP of the tournament and a member of the 1st All-Star Team. Farrell was called to the 2nd All-Star Team.
“There is a good chance we will get ranked in the top 10 for the ninth straight year when the first national rankings come out this year,” Oliver said. “I am very proud of our team for their efforts so far this year. We won all these games on the road and handled many unique experiences with positive results.”
Windsor finished the 2013-14 season ranked at number 7 in the country. Preliminary rankings have the Lancers as high as number 4. The coaches ranking is expected to be released today.
Windsor now opens the regular season on November 5 in London against Western. Their home opener will be at St Denis Fieldhouse three days later as they host Guelph at 4:00 pm.
The women’s team won three straight in Quebec City at the Laval Tournament this past weekend. They defeated Laval, Alberta, and Western in succession on the way to win the tournament. The women will play two more games in the preseason before travelling to London on November 5 to re-play Western to start the season. They return home to tip-off against Guelph on November 8 at 6:00 pm.