The Voyageurs men's basketball team opened up their regular season schedule with a convincing 96-80 win over the visiting Waterloo Warriors at a packed Ben Avery Gym on Friday night.
In what proved to be a high-scoring affair, the lead never changed hands throughout the game, as the #10 ranked team in the country demonstrated strong ball movement, good offensive distribution with 18 team assists, and strong play on the boards, outrebounding the Warriors 40-34.
The Voyageurs opened the scoring in the first as Nelson Yengue drained his first of 15 points off a nice dish from veteran JD West. The teams then traded tallies for the next five minutes of the quarter until the Voyageurs put on an offensive burst, ending the quarter up 23-14.
After trading buckets in the first five minutes of the second quarter, reigning USPORTS Rookie of the Year, Kadre Gray, began to open up the offensive floodgates as he netted 17 points in the second half of the quarter to put the Voyageurs up 50-31 at the half.
The Warriors came out of the break with a bit of energy as Justin Malnerich drained his first of six tallies from beyond the arc, slowly digging away at the 19 point deficit. The Voyageurs, however, were equal to the task, putting up 23 in the quarter and increasing the lead to 21 heading into the fourth.
The offensive chances shifted in the fourth as Malnerich and Nedim Hodzic traded tallies, with Malnerich draining four three's in the quarter and outscoring the Voyageurs 29-23. However, timely defensive stops and made free throw shots kept the Voyageurs lead secure, as they took the victory, 96-80 in their first contest of the 2017-18 season.
Leading the way for the Voyageurs was Gray who shot 82% from the field and was a perfect 9-9 at the free throw line for a game-high 40 points.
The Voyageurs are back in action Saturday night as they welcome the Laurier Golden Hawks to the Ben Avery Gym at 8pm.