Volume 92, Issue 81
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
Brown at centre of Lancer attention
By Alan Russette
While some of Western's campus may have been sunning in exotic locales, the Mustang men's basketball team was doing a gut check heading into the last few games of the regular season.
The Mustangs defeated Laurier 85-66 on Feb. 17 and McMaster 84-76 on Feb. 20 to clinch a share of first place. The Mustangs hosted the Windsor Lancers Saturday afternoon to close out their season.
Carrying the momentum of four straight wins into Saturday's game, the Mustangs crushed the Lancers 102-61 at Alumni Hall.
Western dominated from the opening tip, building up a 25 point lead at the half on 44 per cent shooting from the field, while holding the Lancers to a dismal 27 per cent. Much to the Lancers' dismay, half-time didn't cool off the Mustangs, as every player on the active roster chipped in points for the blowout.
Mustang centre Chris Brown had an impressive game, pounding in a team high 18 points and grabbing 16 rebounds for a double-double. Brown was pleased with the team's play of late, pointing to a renewed focus on offensive execution as the reason for the team's resurgence.
"We've been working on [the offence] a lot in practice," Brown said. "Coach [Craig Boydell] has added a few new wrinkles to the existing system and it really seems to be working."
As for his own recent performances, Brown preferred to thank luck than accept too much praise.
"I don't know what it is, but lately the ball seems to be bouncing my way," Brown said. "I don't think I'm doing things that differently."
Lancer head coach Mike Havey was disappointed with his team's effort but said Brown's presence in the middle caused a lot of problems for his club defensively.
"He's a very skilled big man. He's not much of a perimetre threat, but going block-to-block and in the high post he's doing a great job," Havey said. "One on one with the match-ups we've got, we can't stop him."
Boydell was happy the team seems to have worked its way through the offensive slump at the right time of the season.
"It always happens at some point in the season. It's not like we were losing games by a lot. We were losing games at the buzzer. I think the guys really dug in and realized that those were games we didn't have to lose," Boydell said. "There were parts of the game where we would slack off and wouldn't maintain our intensity. But I think since that time I haven't seen us play soft."
By finishing first in the Ontario University Athletics West conference, the Mustangs earned a first round playoff bye and the right to host the OUA West Final Four which begins on Thursday at Alumni Hall.
Basketball fans can look forward to double-header semifinal action with the first game beginning at 6 p.m.. The Mustangs will be playing in the second semifinal at 8 p.m..
Copyright © The Gazette 1999