Volume 92, Issue 74
Tuesday, February 9, 1999
Mustangs give it away
© Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
By Alan Rusette
The Mustang men's basketball team found out this weekend that paybacks are hell.
After taking the season opener from the Guelph Gryphons, the hoopsters from Guelph came to London on Saturday to return the favour. Western's return to the confines of Alumni Hall was spoiled as Guelph took the Mustangs into overtime, coming out ahead 75-67.
Turnovers and sloppy play riddled the Western offence as the Mustangs handed the ball over 33 times, nearly twice as many as the Gryphons. Despite these lapses, Western was still in a position to win before Guelph guard Malik Shehbaz stepped up and nailed a three-pointer to tie the score at 62-62 at the end of the second half.
Early in overtime, everything seemed to be going the Mustangs' way. Shehbaz fouled out in the first 30 seconds of extra time, setting the table for a dramatic win. But the wheels came off the cart shortly thereafter. Western bricked free throw after free throw, shooting a dismal 25 per cent from the charity stripe and continued the parade of turnovers.
Guelph head coach Chris O'Rourke said he felt his squad did an excellent job stifling the Western offence to put themselves in a position to win the game.
"We fought through some lapses and we played well defensively. We made a breakthrough with some big baskets, obviously a huge three to send it into overtime," O'Rourke said. "We showed some good composure. I think we rattled them a little with our defence in the overtime and we made the plays we had to."
Second-year Mustang centre Chris Brown, who led all scorers with a game high 18 points and 16 rebounds, was frustrated by lapses in the overall play of the team.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot. Too many turnovers, missing foul shots," Brown said. "It doesn't come down to one thing. If we were executing better, it wouldn't have happened."
Brown said he felt the Gryphon defence's focus on co-captains guard Micah Bourdeau and forward Nat Graham allowed him to get free and post up more effectively.
"I was getting the ball where I could do some damage," Brown said. "With Micah and Nat on the floor, we know they're going to get double-teamed a lot, so it was a matter of making the shots I know I'm capable of."
Mustang head coach Craig Boydell was pleased with certain aspects of the Western game, but was at a loss for the team's current slump.
"When Chris Brown comes out and plays like he did, I'd think that we'd win very comfortably," Boydell said . "I think we got the job done on the inside and we got it done on the boards and yet it was the other aspects that we were a little stiff."
Boydell said he did believe any problems encountered in this game could be rectified. "It's just a matter of getting all the pieces to fit back together again and keeping a positive attitude," Boydell. said "We know how we've gotten to where we are and it's just a matter of getting back to it."
The Mustangs will try and get back on track as they hit the road on Wednesday night to face the Lancers in Windsor.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999