Mustangs show no charity after dunking Guelph
By Alex Chiang
The Western men's basketball team got to the free-throw line almost at will Wednesday night and from there, they buried a struggling Guelph Gryphon squad to the tune of 80-68.
The Mustangs capitalized on 25 Gryphon team fouls, making 22 of 28 shots from the charity stripe, while in comparison Guelph got only 11 free-throw opportunities.
"Our key is to always shoot more free throws than the other team," Mustang head coach Craig Boydell said. "We run the most disciplined offence and our goal is to break the other team down and get to the line."
Western forward Nat Graham attributed the abundance of Gryphon fouls to the team's ability to penetrate and break down the Guelph defence, thanks in large part to Mustang guard Micah Bourdeau.
"Micah's been going to the line a ton, because he's going to the basket," Graham said. "Guelph doesn't have anyone on their team like that."
Bourdeau finished the night with 27 points, making 10 for 15 of his shots. Meanwhile, Western's other guard, Jonathan Dingle, recorded 16 points.
Both teams demonstrated an aggressive defence in the first half and as a result were out of sync offensively. Guelph had nine turnovers, while Western faired no better coughing up the ball 12 times. Both teams went into the locker room at half-time with the game still up in the air at 32-32.
The Mustangs owned the second half, however, led by a 19-point performance from guard Micah Bourdeau.
"He hurt us today and he hurt us the first time we played them," O'Rourke said. "We tried to implement the same game plan as we did the first time we played Western, we just weren't as effective this time."
Rookie forward Mike Ayanbadejo, who hurt Western the first time these teams met, was a prime target for Western defensively, said Boydell. Ayanbadejo still managed to score 18 points on a perfect six for six from the field.
"He's just an amazing freshman and we didn't want Mike shooting 20 or 30 shots," Boydell said. "He got his points tonight, but he only had six shots. Nat Grahams defence on him was awesome."
Guelph and Western are two teams headed in the opposite direction. While the Mustangs are on a five-game win streak, the Gryphons have lost four in a row. Guelph started the season with high expectations as the sixth-ranked team in the country, but have fallen well short of expectations with a disappointing 2-5 record.
"It all started with the tough overtime loss to Mac," Gryphon head coach Chris O'Rourke said. "Someone's testing us testing our intestinal fortitude. We have work to do if we're going to get out of this slump."
Western's next game is tomorrow in St. Catharines, where they will take on the Brock Badgers at 2 p.m..