Volume 92, Issue 91
Friday, March 19, 1999
Sixth man a national factor
HANDS WHICH MAY ROCK THE MUSTANGS' CRADLE. Mustang centre Chris Brown  will have his work cut out for him when he faces off with centre Patrick Toulouse of St. Mary's tonight in the CIAU Championship opener.
By John Dinner
The Mustangs begin their search for the elusive men's basketball national championship tonight in Halifax.
Despite being able to hold down the second seed in the tournament, the Mustangs are being thrown right in front of the firing squad when they take on the seventh seeded and tournament host Saint Mary's Huskies.
Western head coach Craig Boydell said he was not too concerned playing the first game of the tournament in what will undoubtedly be a standing room only affair.
"We've been fortunate to have a good crowd out for the last few games of the season," Boydell said. "Our guys know noise is noise and they have performed well in those situations. Teams have brought fans to [Alumni Hall] and that's made it pretty noisy but the guys have responded well."
Centre Chris Brown seemed excited about the prospect of playing another game in a packed house. "We know that we've got to get out to a good start to try and take the crowd out of it," said the six-foot-nine Mustang. "We know what we have to do and I think the guys are pretty focused on what we have to do. It's going to be an exciting game."
With neither team knowing very much about each other, except from tapes sent from the respective schools, the games will focus more on dictating play as opposed to responding to an opponent.
"You can only rely so much on tape and scouting," said Husky head coach Ross Quakenbush. "When it boils right down to it we can only be concerned with what we're going to do and that's to play as well as we can."
The Huskies, favoured to win the Atlantic University Athletics Association crown, stumbled early on going through a slump where they lost three regular season games in a row. However at the end of the season, when push came to shove, it was St. Mary's downing the Dalhousie Tigers 81-62 to take the AUAA championship.
The Huskies have a balanced attack but will rely on AUAA first team all-star Jonah Taussig. The third-year point guard sparked the Husky resurgence at the end of the season and was named most valuable player during the AUAA championship tournament.
St. Mary's also boasts some big men up front including Patrick Toulouse, who scored 20 points in helping St. Mary's past Dalhousie.
Brown relished the idea of getting into a physical battle. "It'll definitely feel more like home," he said. "They've got a couple of guys who look like they can grind it out underneath and I'm looking forward to the battle. It's going to be fun."
With parity being what it is in Canadian university basketball, much of the speculation on a favourite is depending on which team can remain focused through all the hoopla surrounding the weekend.
"It's definitely going to help us. It's a big crowd, a big atmosphere and a big game and we don't have to adjust as much as they will," Quakenbush said. "But they aren't going to beat themselves so we've got to our darndest to take it to them."
Tip-off for this first game is 6 p.m. EST tonight, which will determine when the Mustangs play on Saturday and Sunday.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999