Volume 92, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 16, 1999
Graham dominates the Badgers
By Jamil Jalal Jaffer
The drive back to St. Catharines must have been a long and quiet one for the Brock Badger men's basketball team after being silenced by the sixth ranked Mustang club in Alumni Hall Saturday afternoon.
With less than three weeks until the playoffs, the Mustangs (8-3) came into the game looking to improve team defence and better offensive execution.
Mustang forward Matt Tweedie talked about progressing in their attempt for a national championship. "We had that sense of urgency to play better," he said.
With this in mind, Brock was in trouble from the outset. The Mustangs led from the opening tip and went into half-time with a comfortable 41-28 lead. The game's final score was 90-64.
Defensively, the Mustangs simply shut down Brock, holding the visitors to 31 per cent shooting from the field. Western head coach Craig Boydell was happy with his team's performance and in getting back to doing the little things.
"We did a good job on their key guys," he said. "We took good shots away from their best players."
Leading the way for the Mustangs was forward Nat Graham, with 29 points, 10 rebounds and shooting a blazing 12-15 from the field.
Brock head coach Ken Murray raved about the impact Graham has on the court.
"Nat would probably love to play us all the time considering how well he does when we see him," Murray said. "He's able to take advantage of the defence and find the net. He's a pleasure to watch.
"He has my vote for player of the year in our conference."
A humble veteran, Graham did not want to take away the spotlight from the play of his teammates.
"Our guys played well and confidently," he said. "It was nice for us to win a game convincingly again."
All 12 Mustangs contributed on the scoreboard as Boydell went to his bench often.
"We have so many offensive weapons," forward Micah Bourdeau said. "It's the team chemistry everybody does something."
Western is second in the nation in offence, averaging 84 points per contest. Their defence is not too shabby either, holding opponents to a measly 66 points a game.
Boydell's defensive strategy has revolved around what he calls "court geography." The strategy is to force the opponent to the outside in an effort to minimize their control of the paint.
"When you come up against a pretty good defence, like us, you hesitate," Bourdeau explained. "We force [teams] to the outside to make mistakes."
Western is now tied for first with McMaster in the Ontario University Athletics West conference.
Western will take the court again against the Laurier Golden Hawks tomorrow night at Alumni Hall. Tip-off is at 8 p.m..
Copyright © The Gazette 1999