Volume 92, Issue 50
Wednesday, December 2, 1998
Cagers looking good for season
© Geoff Robins/Gazette
By Alan Russette
Alumni Hall was the site of another good old-fashioned Mustang butt-kicking when the men's basketball team welcomed the Winnipeg Wesman on Sunday afternoon.
The Mustangs hammered the Wesman from the opening tip, taking a 52-26 lead into halftime while shooting 60 per cent from the field. The second half was more of the same as the bench players got involved, finishing the game with an impressive 93-62 victory.
Winnipeg head coach Bill Wedlake blamed his team's lackluster play on their youth and the rigours of their pre-season travel schedule, having played three games in three days. However, Wedlake was impressed with the quality of the Mustang game.
"Western is one of the best teams we've faced. They move the ball so very, very well. They got a lot of easy baskets. They really share the ball," Wedlake said. "[They're] maybe the best we've seen in the country in terms of moving the ball."
This trip may have marked the last time the Wesman will journey to Alumni Hall for pre-season basketball for quite some time, as the Greater Pacific Athletic Conference and Canada West will be forming an interlocking play schedule next season.
At present, the Ontario University Athletics West division is one of the only conferences which will not be moving towards an interlocking schedule for next season.
Despite the label of pre-season basketball, Mustang head coach Craig Boydell felt playing teams from other conferences before the start of the season is as important as regular season action.
"It's really important in terms of establishing rankings for one, but also we play a pretty tough pre-conference schedule," Boydell said. "With 10 games on the road, it's so important to get guys gelling together, which I think we're starting to see."
Boydell felt the difficult travel schedule had been beneficial to the young Mustang squad, having faced several of the country's top teams and emerging with 10 wins and only two losses. Early indications point to a very successful run for the Mustangs this season.
"We're the leading scoring team in the country. We've got the largest point spread of any team in the country. We've really gelled, in some ways sooner than I thought we would. But at the same time, I think we're still getting better all the time," Boydell said. "We're still having trouble figuring out which players to put on the floor. Everyone we've put on the floor has done something well. I think we've made some enormous progress."
Forward Matt Tweedie, who led Western with 20 points in the game, shared Boydell's enthusiasm for the pre-season schedule. "Pre-season really indicates the strengths and weaknesses as a team," he said. "It's been a chance to show ourselves around the country in a positive way by winning some big games. It can really set a tone for the season."
The Mustangs begin the home stretch of the pre-season against the Laurier Golden Hawks at Alumni Hall on Friday night. Game time is 7 p.m..
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