Laurier basketball team surprising and leading division

A third of the way through the season, the Laurier men’s basketball team is leading their division with a 4-3 record. They have had a large turnaround after struggling last season and finishing with a 7-13 record.

The team is being led by a productive and efficient offense. The Golden Hawks have averaged 80 points per game, fifth best in the OUA. Although the team is shooting below average at 37.1 per cent, they have been able to control the ball with a league low average of 12.9 turnovers per game.

As a team, the defence has succeeded at limiting their opponents shooting efficiency. The Golden Hawks allowed opponents to shoot a league low 25.9 per cent from three and overall limited their field goal percentage to 38 per cent, the third lowest mark in the league.

Laurier is leading the division, but if the playoffs started today they would be the lowest seed in the twelve-team OUA playoffs, which are based on Rating Percentage Index (RPI). The ratings are calculated based on a team’s schedule and performance by the OUA.

For Laurier to get better and avoid a top opponent in the first round, they will need to improve their rebounding margin. The Golden Hawks have been dominated on the glass with the second lowest rebound margin in the OUA, allowing their opponents to collect on average 5.7 rebounds per game.

Laurier has found success by playing the pair of Simon Mikre and Will Coulthard at guard with both playing over 35 minutes a game. Coulthard is playing his fifth and final season and has taken the scoring role, averaging 21.1 points per game which is the fourth most in the league. Mikre, who is only in his first season, is leading the team in both assist (4.6) and rebounds (6.9) per game so far this season.

The team’s best shooter is sophomore Luke Allin who is shooting 51.6 per cent from beyond the arc. Allin has scored over 17 points in each of the last three games, looking more comfortable in each contest. He is now the only player, other than Coulthard, to average more than 10 points per game this season.

Laurier is almost guaranteed to make the playoffs so the team should be focused on winning the division and increasing their RPI to avoid a tough first round playoff game.

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