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Sunday, Mar. 18, 2018
Intensity does not wane for L.U. basketball men
by Randy Pascal

The Laurentian Voyageurs men's basketball team should not be lacking in intensity as they hit the floor at the Ben Avery Gym tonight in first round OUA East playoff action.

Closing out the season last week against the York Lions in a pair of games that offered no impact for the locals on the final standings, the teams waged war in the home and home series.

A 95-93 Laurentian win on the road followed by a 104-101 York triumph in Sudbury gave way to a heated exchange between Voyageurs' head coach Shawn Swords and one of the game officials following the Friday night encounter.

This man plays to win, regardless of what is on the line. One should expect nothing less this evening as the fourth place Laurentian squad (11-9) do battle with the fifth place Queen's Gaels (10-10).

The quarter-final opponents split their season series, with each winning on home court. In mid-January in Kingston, the Gaels outscored the Voyageurs 25-18 in the fourth quarter, picking up a come-from-behind 84-82 victory.

Greg Faulkner (19 pts), Nikola Misljencevic (17) and Sukhpreet Singh (16) led the way for the winners, while Alex Ratte (25) and George Serresse (24) topped the offense for the visitors.

Just less than a month later, Laurentian broke open a close game at the half, posting a 32-19 third quarter run and establishing enough of a margin to register a 95-86 win in Sudbury.

A slightly different look to the attack featured Manny Pasquale (24 pts), Ratte (22) and Timmins native Josh Budd (21), while James Asefa and Misljencevic countered with 26 and 24 points respectively in a losing cause.

Facing York on the road last week, the Voyageurs squandered an early 34-15 advantage, allowing the homeside to pull ahead after three quarters, before L.U. countered, picking up the late win (95-93).

The one-two punch of Ratte and Pasquale combined for 50 points, with the former nearly equalizing that output in an incredible performance in his regular season finale.

Ratte, a native of Ottawa in just his second year of eligibility, looked more than ready to take on a leadership role at Laurentian, exploding for a 42 point performance that included 23 in the first half alone.

Serresse chipped in with 25 points as coach Swords opted to rest athletic forward Nelson Yengue, injured in the first of the two matchups with York. The talented rebounder is expected to start against Queen's.

Tip-off this evening is set for 8:00 p.m. at the Ben Avery Gym, with York (8-12) facing Ryerson (15-5) in the remaining quarter-final. The winners move on to do battle with the OUA East top two as the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee Gees lie in waiting.

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