Volume 93, Issue 40
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
Pre-season donimance continues
Gazette file photo
REACHING FOR THE STARS. The Mustang men's basketball team were soaring over the weekend, winning a tournament in Ottawa.
By Mike Murphy
The Western men's basketball team continued their winning ways this weekend, finishing first in a pre-season tournament hosted by the University of Ottawa.
The rest of the four team field at the Clint Dunning Classic proved no match for the Mustangs who beat out the University of Prince Edward Island 74-58 and the McGill University Redmen 74-54. With these two victories, the men improved their exhibition record to an impeccable 7-0.
Western head coach Craig Boydell said a stingy defence was instrumental to his team's success. "Defensively, we were very strong. Our defence is a little ahead of our offence at this point. We've been keeping really good pressure on the ball."
Although he said the Mustang's offence was lagging behind its defensive play, Boydell said he was confident they would improve their attack and generate more points as the season progresses. "Our offence is coming along," he said, "We have the potential to have an explosive offence and we'll improve as we work on the different melds between players in the lineup."
Ken Schildroth, head coach of the Redmen, said he was impressed with Western's play. "They're a very good team and they capitalize on errors very well. They're a month or two ahead of everybody else right now. [Boydell's] got them playing very well."
When asked what particular aspects of Western's play gave his team trouble, Schildroth answered with bemused understatement. "Well, Micah Bourdeau was one."
Bourdeau, a Western forward and co-captain, won his second tournament Most Valuable Player award in as many weekends. He scored 10 points against the UPEI and lit up the Redmen for 20, shooting nine for 12 from the field in the final.
Though he singled out Bourdeau, Schildroth said he thought the Mustangs worked well collectively to frustrate his troops. "Everything we took away, they found a counter to it. In basketball terms, they just finished everything very well. They took us out of our game."
Western forward Matt Tweedie said he was not nearly as high on his team's performance. Despite the favourable results, Tweedie said he came away from the weekend with the conviction he and his teammates need to get better. "We've got a lot to work on."
Tweedie cited communication and focus as areas of great weakness. "We played in spurts. There was just no consistency. We've got to go into games more focused and prepared," he said.
After holding McGill to a single hoop in the first 10 minutes of the second half, Western's defence lapsed woefully and gave up 25 points in the game's final 10 minutes.
Referring to a recent coaches' poll, which ranked Western as the number three team nationwide, Tweedie said they're going in the right direction, but they are not playing like the third ranked team in Canada.
Statistical standouts for Western this weekend included forward Chris Brown, Western's leading scorer against UPEI with 16 points and point guard Jimmy Grozelle, who contributed 12 points in the first game and finished the final with a well-rounded stat line of 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals.
Although they've gotten off to what seems like a galloping start, the Mustangs may not even be at a canter yet both Tweedie and Boydell felt the team could get much better. "If there's an encouraging thing right now, it's that we know we're still improving," Boydell said.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999