Volume 92, Issue 61

Friday, January 15, 1999

intruder alert


SPORTS

Mustangs barely slip by Warriors

Curler fated to aim for championship

The end of Olympic innocence

The return of Tyson is gold mine for boxing

Mustangs barely slip by Warriors



By Ian Ross
Gazette Staff



Traction can often be a problem in football or soccer, but not in the game of basketball.

Wednesday night, however, was the exception and it nearly allowed the Waterloo Warriors to slip past Western in varsity men's basketball action at Alumni Hall.

Faced with a slick hard court, left behind from a consistent stream of students crossing throughout the day with snowy boots, both teams battled the indoor elements on what at times seemed like a skating rink. In the end, the fourth ranked nationally Mustangs dodged a bullet by pulling out a 65-62 victory to continue their 13-game undefeated streak in regular season and tournament play. The streak dates back to Nov. 7 against the University of Regina.

Mustang Peter Kratz, a fourth-year transfer student from Sir Wilfred Laurier, noted Waterloo's style of play was more capable of dealing with the slippery conditions.

"It hurt both teams, but for a small and quick team like us it hurts the most," Kratz said.

Unable to make their cuts to the basket, the Mustangs struggled to kick their offence into high gear. Nat Graham was the lone Western athlete to find the net with consistency, scoring 21 points on the night. Forward Matt Tweedie added 10 late in the game to push the team over the top.

"That was a little too close for comfort," Western head coach Craig Boydell admitted after the game. "We can definitely run a better offence than we did out there tonight."

The man who nearly stole the Western thunder was Waterloo's fifth-year guard Mano Watsa. The second team all-Canadian was the thorn in Western's side last season when the underdog Warriors upset the purple and white in the Ontario West semifinals.

Once again, the five-foot-eleven guard ripped up the court with 22 points, 10 assists and five steals in 38 minutes of hard labour. Watsa sparked several Waterloo comebacks which included a drive in the final minutes of the game. This time around, it wasn't enough. His awkward three pointer missed with time running out and his supporting cast struggled to make any sort of impact during the full 40 minutes. That scenario played right into the hands of Boydell's game plan.

"The key was to let [Watsa] score a lot of points and make sure we shut down everyone else," explained Boydell, on his unusual approach to the match-up.

Stunned by the near miss upset, Watsa was still proud of his teammates for fighting back from several double digit deficits.

"They showed a lot of character out there," he said. "They weren't going to give up.

"We weren't happy with the first half and in the second half we really got the ball rolling our way. Unfortunately, we came up one roll too short," Watsa later added.

The Mustangs hope to continue to elude defeat on Saturday when they face the Laurier Golden Hawks in Waterloo. Tip-off is at 2 p.m..

İPhoto by Geoff Robins/Gazette




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Copyright İ The Gazette 1999