Volume 93, Issue 89

Friday, March 17, 2000


The elite eight

Holding court with Joffre Ribout

For the love of God - it's just sports

The elite eight

©Michael Longstaff/Gazette
WESTERN IS READY TO REACH FOR THE TOP AT THE CIAU CHAMPIONSHIPS. Western's men's basketball team play their first national champi8nship game today at 3 p.m. versus Laurentian.

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

This afternoon in Halifax, the Western men's basketball team will see their first action in a weekend which could end with the fulfillment of their sweetest hoop dreams.

As the fourth seed in the eight team Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union championships, Western steps into the ring with the fifth seeded Laurentian University Voyageurs today at 3 p.m..

Laurentian compiled a 16-4 regular season record in their conference and captured the Ontario University Athletics championship with a victory over McMaster University last Saturday. As OUA champions, the Voyageurs earned an automatic invitation to this weekend's final eight festivities.

Mustangs head coach Craig Boydell said he predicted the game would be close and well-played.

"I expect to see from them what we'd expect from any team that's made it to the national championships," he said. "They play hard defence, they play tough, they run some rapid-fire offensive sets and they're good in transition."

Boydell said Laurentian's roster featured a couple of outstanding players who could make the game tough on Western. One of these standouts was centre Ted Dongelmans, who scored 35 points and was named Most Valuable Player in last week's OUA finals.

"Dongelmans is a big guy, but he gives you something that most big guys don't, in that he's an excellent turn-around and square up shooter," Boydell said.

"[Guard] Peter Gordon is a guy who can light it up," he added. "They've also got a whole bunch of other guys who are good role players and shooters. They have a bit of a reputation as a three point shooting team."

While his team will pay close attention to Dongelmans and Gordon, Boydell said the Mustangs would be careful not to let the Voyageur's less celebrated players surprise them.

He explained this happened when Western lost the OUA West final two weeks ago. The Mustangs shut down McMaster's two star players, but allowed habitual role-player and centre Goran Franjesevic to score 22 points.

"Our concern is much less with stopping outstanding players, than [with] keeping everything else under control," Boydell said.

Peter Campbell, head coach of the Voyageurs, said he also anticipated a great contest, adding the Mustangs' offensive restraint may give his team trouble.

"I think their offensive patience is going to cause everyone difficulty because it forces you to play good defence for a longtime. Kids don't want to play defence any more than they have to – they get bored of it."

Campbell predicted Western guard and co-captain Micah Bourdeau would give his team all they could handle. "Micah is going to be a tough match-up for us. He brings quite a few weapons to the game," he said.

Western forward Chris Brown said he and many of his teammates competed in Halifax at last year's nationals, which should give them an edge this time around.

"A lot of us know what it's like to be out there. It's not going to be a learning experience like it was last year," he said.

Like both coaches, Brown also said he was bracing himself for a fiercely contested game. "They're a good team and they're gonna be pumped up to be out there too."

Today's game will be broadcast live on CHRW-FM 94.7.

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