Gryphon hoops men rally late to topple Lancers
GUELPH – Don’t leave early if you’re at a Guelph Gryphons’ OUA men’s basketball game. You might miss a comeback if you do.
Saturday at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre, the Gryphs rallied from a seven-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to slip by the Windsor Lancers 80-77.
Guelph Gryphons 80 Windsor 77
“This group of guys, this year’s edition, is very resilient,” Gryphon coach Chris O’Rourke said. “They’re very resilient and we’re fighters and even though we spotted Windsor, like down there, a 10-point lead twice — once in the first half and once in the second — and we climbed back both times and took the lead late. Today, we just had to flush the first half and get back to some pride and some defence. In the second half, obviously holding them to what we did defensively got us back in the game. Then we took control which I’m not surprised with this group because we know who they are.”
Wednesday in Windsor the Gryphs were behind by as much as 10 points in the third quarter, but rallied to go up by three with 24 seconds to go, only to see the Lancers score five points in the dying seconds of the game to take an 82-80 win.
“It was just effort and not giving up,” Guelph’s Rasheed Weekes said. “We have a great group of guys this year. Last Wednesday when we played them, we were down 10 at half as well, but sometime during the game we actually caught back up. This time it was like deja vu all over again. We just said we were down 15 at half and we’d come back up. Coach came into the locker room at halftime and he was talking about effort and that’s what motivated us to pick it up.”
Saturday at home, the Gryphs trailed by as much as 15 points, but never counted themselves out.
In the fourth quarter, Khalid Ismail hit a jumper with just over five minutes to play to cut the gap to five points, 74-69 for Windsor. A three-pointer by Weekes and another jumper by Ismail tied the score with 3:28 to go.
Guelph went ahead for good on a jumper by Malcolm Glanville with 2:45 to go. Carl Veltmann added another jumper a minute and a half later and Glanville completed the scoring when he sank a pair of free throws with 11 seconds to play.
While the Lancers had been hot earlier in the game, they went cold in the final quarter as they missed 11 field goals, including five from three-point territory.
Windsor had led 27-24 at the end of the first quarter and 52-37 at halftime, but the Gryphs narrowed the gap to 66-59 by the end of the third quarter.
This year the regular season is strictly a divisional affair, same as it was years ago. One difference from then, though, is that teams will face the same opponent twice in a week on a back-to-back basis.
“To beat a team twice is hard,” O’Rourke said. “We felt that we gave it away to Windsor on Wednesday night, we gave away five points in the last 25 seconds. It would’ve been a great road win for us down there. It’s always a tough place to play. In the West it’s going to be really hard to beat teams twice.”
“It’s going to be tough,” Weekes said. “Every game is going to be a battle and a war. There’s not going to be a given team that’s going to come at you and win. Everybody this year is going to be in balance.”
Weekes led the Gryphs with 24 points while Glanville had 21 and Keenan Dowell 15. Weekes also grabbed 11 rebounds and had three assists and two steals. Glanville had five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Shakael Pryce struck for 29 points for Windsor while Thomas Kennedy had 19 and Jordan Fullerton 10. Kennedy dominated the boards as he had 21 rebounds and he also had a pair of blocks. Ziphion Grant had two steals.
The Gryphs shot 38 percent on field goals, 29 percent on three-pointers and 92 percent on free throws and also had 16 points on turnovers, 11 on second chances and 18 from their bench.
The Lancers shot 46 percent on field goals, 32 percent on three-pointers, 47 percent on free throws and had 13 points on turnovers, seven on second chances and 12 from their bench.
The game was the first league match at home for the Gryphs since they defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 91-83 Feb. 9, 2020.
“It’s amazing,” O’Rourke said of being back in league play. “It’s like time, I’m not going to say stood still, but it was like 20 months of our lives were just gone in the sense of what we’d been doing and what we love to do. It’s amazing to be back. It’s a totally different feeling. Even from my standpoint, I feel more refreshed and just have a different perspective on things.”
“It just feels amazing just to get out of the house and to be able to be on campus and have practice every day and go to class, our go study at the (library),” Weekes said. “It all feels brand new again. It feels like my first year all over again. I’m just living in the moment and appreciating everything that comes my way.”
Brock Badgers and Western Mustangs are tied atop the West Division standings at 2-0 while the Gryphs, Lancers, Lakehead Thunderwolves and McMaster Marauders are tied for third at 1-1. Algoma Thunderbirds and Laurier Golden Hawks are each at 0-2 while the Waterloo Warriors had the first-week bye.
The Gryphs are to play McMaster this week, hosting the Marauders at the GGAC Wednesday at 8 p.m. and playing at McMaster Saturday at 3 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal