Volume 91, Issue 69

Friday, January 30, 1998

cheque please


Brock bounced off boards

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
I WON'T LET YOU GROW ANY MORE, SON. Mustang forward Nat Graham powers his way through some Badger traffic on his way to the basket. Graham was a driving force behind a 22-4 Western run in the last nine minutes of Wednesday night's game versus Brock.

By Alex Chiang

Gazette Staff

The Brock Badgers came to London strutting an untarnished 4-0 record Wednesday night, but when put to the test of facing one of the division's tougher teams, the boys from St. Catharines came crashing down from cloud nine – courtesy of the Western men's basketball team and a 71-62 Mustang win.

In the first half, the unranked Badgers seemed up to the challenge of playing the sixth-ranked Mustangs, playing a tough zone defence that forced Western to take most of its shots from the perimeter. Brock, however, had a tough time handling Mustang point guard Micah Bourdeau, who burned the Badgers for 16 points in the first frame. Bourdeau would finish the contest with a game high 25 points on 10 for 18 from the field.

In the second half, the Badgers rallied from a 34-31 half-time deficit to take a nine-point lead at one stage, before the Mustangs went on a 22-4 run over the final nine minutes of the match.

"When we were up by nine it looked like we had total control," Brock head coach Ken Murray said. "Then bingo – we just lost the flow of things and Western got into it."

One reason for Western's big second half run was the Mustangs domination of the backboards. The 'Stangs out-rebounded the Badgers 43-27 and 21-9 on the offensive side.

"They literally knocked our behinds off on the offensive backboards," Murray said. "Our initial defence was good, but we allowed a lot of second and third-chance opportunities that broke our backs. When you do that, it's like banging your head against the wall."

Western was able to get much better chances in the second half and got solid performance around the rim from forward Nat Graham, who scored 18 points.

"We knew Bourdeau was going to score. He's a great player and great players are going to get their points no matter what you do," Murray said. "But it was that Graham kid who was by far the deciding factor. He was the difference and he literally dominated us in the last nine minutes."

Also playing well was rookie Chris Brown, who scored 12 points and led the team with five assists.

"As a rookie, he's made really good progress," Mustang head coach Craig Boydell said. "He's become a presence under [the basket] for us and he's also a tremendous passer."

Unfortunately for Brown, who was playing in his first game as a member of the starting lineup, he had to leave the game with less than a minute left after he landed awkwardly on his right wrist following a lay-up. He will likely miss Western's next game which is this Saturday.

"It's really sore right now, but the X-rays turned out negative so hopefully I won't be out too long," Brown said.

On the flipside, Boydell felt it was Western's defence that won the game, stating that the team paid particular attention to Brock's two starting guards, Jamie Clark and Sam Fuca. Both veterans were legitimate offensive threats, yet the Mustang defence did an effective job neutralizing them.

"Clark is a tremendous three-point shooter and we tried to keep him off guard," Boydell said. "We also felt [Fuca] was a high priority.

"Our defence really came through for us tonight."

The Mustangs will host the Laurier Golden Hawks in their next game, tomorrow at Alumni Hall at 2 p.m..

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998