The Lakeland Rustlers Men's Basketball team lost their third and final game at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men's Basketball Championships on Saturday afternoon, losing to the Humber Hawks in the 7th place game 100-79.
The Rustlers came out strong and with lots of energy to start the game, opening up a lead early in the first quarter. When the Hawks brought in their second unit off the bench, the Rustlers seemed to lose their energy, as the Hawks took the lead and led 16-13 after one quarter. The Rustlers took a 20-18 lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter, as the Rustlers used their athleticism and defensive tenacity to force the Hawks into turning the ball over. The Rustlers lack of size inside once again hurt them, as the Hawks were able to use their size advantage and open up a ten point lead midway through the second quarter. The Rustlers struggled to get stops on the defensive end and convert on the offensive end, as they found themselves down 48-29 at the half.
The Rustlers came out looking to get back into the game in the second half, as they were able to get stops defensively and convert on offense. With six minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Rustlers cut the Hawks lead to 12, 53-41. The Rustlers were able to get within nine, but a three-pointer by the Hawks at the end of the third quarter had the Rustlers trailing 72-60 heading into the fourth. In the fourth quarter, the Rustlers fought hard to keep the game close, cutting the lead to nine several times. However, the Hawks had built up too much of a lead, and the Rustlers had too many defensive breakdowns, as the Rustlers lost their final game at the CCAA Men's Basketball Championships 100-79.
All five Rustlers starters scored in double digits with fourth year guard Terrell Murdaugh leading the way with 16 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists, while fourth year forward Prentice Gardner had 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Third year forward Artavis Holiday had 12 points, seven rebounds and five steals, while third year guard Lual Ateam had ten points and six rebounds. Second year guard Adrian Richards had ten points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists to round out the Rustlers starters. Third year guard Akeem Phillip had eight points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal off the bench for the Rustlers, earning him Player of the Game.
Despite finishing the season on a losing note, the season was still a success for the Rustlers. The Rustlers finished second in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and earned a berth at the CCAA Men's Basketball Championships, something that had not been done since 2008. The team has taken steps this year towards being one of the top teams in the ACAC, and look to build off this season next year.