Volume 92, Issue 88
Tuesday, March 16, 1999
Mustangs take the cake
RAISE YOUR HANDS IF YOU'RE SURE! Mustang co-captains, forward Nat Graham (left) and guard Micah Bordeau, were definitely sure when they held up the Wilson Cup which they won by beating the Ryerson Rams 87-70.
By John Dinner
They took the province and now they want the nation.
On Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall, the men's basketball team won their 23rd Wilson Cup as Ontario University Athletics champions, defeating the Ryerson Rams 87-70. The Mustangs also displayed some cockiness to accompany their excellent execution.
"We knew what we had to do to be successful [on Saturday]," said Mustang head coach Craig Boydell. "But we also know that we can go out and run and that gives us a lot of confidence."
The game featured dunks by both teams, including a thunderous slam by Mustang centre Rich Tamminga to finish the game and a beautifully executed three on one allyoop by the Rams which lifted everyone out of their seats.
The confidence of Western was evident and proved too much for Ryerson as the Mustangs never seemed threatened by the Ram attack. The Rams (finished fourth in the OUA East during the regular season at 18-18) used a full-court press for over three quarters of the game, forcing 19 Mustang turnovers. However, they were unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
"There are no excuses, but I think we played pretty well [on Saturday] considering everything we've had to deal with," said Rams head coach Terry Haggerty. "We came in and played the No. 2 team in the country and [rookie guard Ben] Gorham and [forward Sasha] Ivankovic have been sick all week. They missed a lot of shots that they would normally hit."
The poor shooting on the part of the Rams (40 per cent from the floor) compared to the sizzling marksmanship of the Mustangs (62 per cent) made the difference on the score sheet. However, the difference in the game was the Mustangs ability to counter Ryerson's high flying tactics.
"We knew we had to step up our game, we felt this game was important for rankings at the nationals," said guard Micah Bordeau, the game's most valuable player who scored 14 points along with six rebounds and five assists. "When we run our offence we find the mismatches and we are usually successful. But we showed that we have a lot of weapons and we're not just a half-court team."
Helping the Mustang cause were four of the five Western starters scoring in double digits including centre Chris Brown, who had another double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Mustangs and the Rams now focus their attention on Halifax for next weekend's CIAU championships, where they could meet in the first round.
"There's going to be some real exciting basketball in Halifax," Boydell said. "We're going to have to continue to build on what we've started here."
All the teams for the CIAU Final Eight have yet to be determined, but the Mustangs will hit the court for the first time Friday afternoon.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999