The Voyageurs Men's Basketball team wrapped up their Costa Rican trip with a 1-3 record after falling to Western Kentucky on Thursday night and Kent State on Saturday night. Despite the record, the men's team have many positives to take away from the trip as they gear up for the 2017-18 season.
On Thursday night, against the Hilltoppers, the Voyageurs were looking for redemption after falling 104-98 to the Conference USA reps two nights earlier. After that game, Coach Swords implored his team to turn up their defensive intensity but instead, it was the Hilltoppers who took their game up a notch, running out to a 50-28 half time lead and never looking back, cruising to a 118-63 win. Kadre Gray once again led the Voyageurs with 18 points on a night that the Voyageurs shot just 34% from the field compared to WKU's 58% clip.
For Coach Swords, despite the score line, there were some positives to take away from the loss. "Western Kentucky was able to turn their defense up a notch and moved the ball wherever they wanted offensively. We were able to play all 15 guys some minutes, which will help us moving forward. We have one more game against Kent State and we need to finish the trip off with same effort we started it with."
For the final game of the trip, the Voyageurs hit the floor against the defending Mid-American Conference champions, the Kent State Golden Flashes. Looking to end the trip with a .500 record, the Voyageurs went shot-for-shot with the Flashes, leading after the opening quarter 19-18 and trailing by two heading into halftime, down 34-32. After going back and forth the entire second half, the Voyageurs put themselves in front, 82-81, after a pair of made free throws with six seconds remaining. The Flashes game back down the court and hit a floater with one second left to snatch the victory, 83-82.
For Coach Swords, it was a strong end to the trip, despite the last second loss. "We played a good game. They are a bigger, stronger team and we were able to stay with them and challenge them to the end. There is lots of work to do still with regards to defence and rebounds but I really liked the way we competed."
The Voyageurs will now be off until September when they will begin to ramp up for the 2017-18 season.