(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Lancers men’s basketball program kicked off the NCAA/OUA Tip-off Classic series by hosting the Charleston Southern Buccaneers Sunday at the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse. The DII Bucs kept the Lancers at bay through the 1st half and held on for an 89-81 victory.
Windsor was still shaking off the cobwebs as Charleston moved to a 27-14 1st quarter margin. By the end of the half, the visitors were in a commanding 48-30 lead. The Lancers shooters managed just 23.1% from the field in the first 20 minutes compared to the hot Buccaneers who dropped 19 of 34.
The rust on the Lancers was evident as they trailed by as much as 21 in the 2nd quarter.
“We got punched in the face in the 1st half, in terms of how aggressive they were in transition and pushing the ball,” said Lancers head coach Chris Oliver.
Oliver, returning from sabbatical, refocused his charges during the break and they responded with 50% shooting. The Lancers got back in the hunt as they shot 21-22 in the 3rd quarter, and then racked up a 30-19 margin over Charleston in the final frame.
Chritian Keeling was the top producer for the Bucs with 24 points, and he was assisted by Javis Howard with 19, and Armel Potter who drained 13.
“We have a lot of new guys who got their first taste of basketball at this level, too,” Oliver said. “So, I was happy in the 2nd half that we settled down and played better basketball. We were turning down open shots because we were worried about the speed of their close-outs, and it’s like, just get blocked. And in the 2nd half you could see that.”
The Lancers have just five members from last season returning for 2016-17, and a sixth, Mitch Farrell, is still two months away as he rehabs an upper body injury that kept him out most of last year.
As expected, Windsor was led by Kennedy grad Isiah Osborne, who put up 35 points in the losing effort. The 6’ 5” guard was 10 for 20 from the floor including connecting 60% from downtown.
Veteran Mike Rocca scored a double-double as he hit for 20 points and pulled down 11 boards. Rocca also dished off 6 assists, most of which came in the 1st half.
“I never want Mike to be a play maker,” said Oliver. “I want him to shoot it.”
The Lancers will build on the experience gained against Charleston as the Tip-off Classic now turns toward Drury University on August 13 as the Panthers visit Windsor at 4:00pm.
“We take away the fact that we’ve got so much to work on and so much to improve on. We’re quite unpolished at the point,” Oliver explained. “Part of playing for me is that [the players] have to respond with effort and they gotta be determined to change what happens to them.”