Volume 92, Issue 65

Friday, January 22, 1999


Mac dials long distance: Three-pointers prove fatal for 'Stangs

Mustangs out-muscle the Marauders

Mac dials long distance: Three-pointers prove fatal for 'Stangs

©Dipesh Mistry/Gazette

HEY GOLIATH GET READY TO FALL. Mustang guard Jim Grozelle [5] uses his small body for all its worth on this play. Unfortunatly Grozelle and the Mustangs couldn't stop the powerhouse McMaster Marauders on the night losing 86-82.

By Jamil Jalal Jaffer

Gazette Staff

Thames Hall featured the battle of Canadian titans in men's varsity basketball on Wednesday night when the McMaster Marauders travelled to London to battle the Mustangs.

The game, which featured the top ranked team in the nation against the fourth ranked and the top offence in Ontario versus the top defence, was a see-saw battle for the lead with the Marauders finally prevailing 86-82.

Reflecting on the talent and rating of both teams, Western starting point guard, Jim Grozelle said the pressure was intense for the home squad.

"We lost by four to the No. 1 team in the country. Nobody said it, but it was in the back of our minds to take down No. 1," Grozelle said.

Conversely, Mustang forward Nat Graham did not adhere to the pre-game hype.

"We're a good team and we're capable of beating anybody but we lapsed in certain areas," he said.

The Western vices were evident and fully exposed by the Marauders who took advantage of Western's foul trouble, turnovers and poor free-throw shooting down the stretch. The Mustangs committed 26 turnovers, had two starters foul out and shot six for 13 at the line in the final five minutes.

The Mustangs came out strong in the game, scoring right off the opening tip. The team looked very composed and their intensity seemed to fluster the Marauders. Western had good pressure on the ball and never gave McMaster a good look. Western took a 16-7 lead, with a strong 11-3 run.

A mental letdown at the end of the half saw McMaster score easy transition baskets and they took the lead 39-33 at the half.

A positive for the Mustangs was their ability to keep Marauder all-Canadian guard, Steve Maga, to eight first-half points. He hit a three-pointer and three free-throws to put McMaster up by five.

Western then ran into foul trouble. Both teams were in double bonus and three Western starters were on the bench with four fouls each. When Grozelle fouled out (eight points) with just over three minutes left, Maga hit two more free-throws and a minute later dialed long distance with another three pointer, his fourth of the contest. "Nobody shoots that well all the time," Boydell said, on McMaster's shooting performance from outside the arc (8-12).

"I was just lucky to get open for some threes and get to the [free-throw] line," said Maga, who was 4-5 from three-point territory.

Western tried valiantly to cut into the Marauder lead with under a minute remaining. Nat Graham, who had a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds), hit a baseline jumper and then drove hard to the hoop for another two points to cut the McMaster lead to two. With Western down by three and 22 clicks on the clock, Mustang Micah Bourdeau shot what looked like the tying basket, but it back rimmed out and the game was sealed. Bourdeau led the team with 21 points and three assists.

The much anticipated rematch is set for Feb. 20 at McMaster. Boydell said a Western win at McMaster is not unlikely.

"They've beat us here and we've beat them there. You cannot sag against any team in this conference," he said.

The Mustangs will be looking to start another winning streak tomorrow in Waterloo against the winless Warriors.

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