Volume 93, Issue 61
Wednesday, January 19, 2000
Winning streak derailed by McMaster
ONE LOSS WILL NOT DIVERT OUR EYES FROM THE PRIZE. Western guard Stephen Barrie (55) and the rest of the Mustangs are licking theor wounds after a 82-74 loss to McMaster University last Saturday.
By Mike Murphy
"They say all good things must come to an end, but, well, we would have liked this to last longer."
So said Craig Boydell, the head coach of Western's men's basketball team, following his team's first setback of the season an 82-74 loss to the McMaster Marauders Saturday afternoon.
Boydell's team, who entered the contest with a 15-0 record and a number one national ranking, left Hamilton with a snapped streak, the first blemish on their previously perfect record.
Saturday's game was the second meeting of these teams in just over a week and gave McMaster an opportunity to avenge the 102-72 drubbing Western handed to them on Jan. 8.
According to Boydell, McMaster used gritty physical play and vigilant defence to reverse the results of their previous match. "They played tough. It was a physical game. It looked like a combat zone in there for much of it," he said. "Their defence was very good, especially on the perimeter. They didn't give up the shots they gave us in our first game."
Western forward Chris Brown echoed his coach's thoughts. "Their defensive intensity was a lot greater this time. They looked kind of flat the first time we played, but they picked it up for this game."
Brown added poor offensive execution hampered the Mustangs. "I don't know if it's that we were hesitant, or what. We weren't sure of what we were doing though, which is unlike us."
McMaster head coach Joe Raso cited his squad's hard work as a major reason for the victory. "You can talk a lot about technical things, but when it comes right down to it, you have to work hard. In our first game with Western, they beat us to loose balls, they out-rebounded us they just completely outworked us," he stated. "This time, we wanted to correct the factors we had control of."
Raso added his team's first loss to Western was a humbling experience and showed them the folly of excessive irreverence. "The key thing was respect, more than anything else. I don't think our guys respected Western as the number one team in Canada the first time we played," he remarked.
While he found the loss disappointing, Boydell did not see it as a great cause for concern. "There's always talk of teams starting like this as peaking too early. I don't think that's the case with us though, because I know there are areas in which we're still improving."
Not surprisingly, the loss came as an emotional upset for the players, who had been sailing to impressive victories from the season's outset. "Our guys were down, but that's to be expected. These guys have been on an incredible run," Boydell said.
Brown agreed with his coach. "Our mood wasn't the greatest. No one likes to lose. But it's better to drop a game now, than in the playoffs," he said.
With the first bitter taste of defeat now lingering in their mouths, Western will try to cleanse their palette with a win over Lakehead University this weekend.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000