Volume 94, Issue 65
Thursday, January 18, 2001
Ain't easy being a Lakehead
HEY LOOK, MR. ED IS WESTERN'S NEW MASCOT. Actually, its the new and improved (ahem) J.W.. He and the Mustangs hope to double the embarrassment for Lakehead this weekend.
By Joel Brown
If you see a guy wearing a Lakehead Thunderwolves basketball jersey this weekend, and he's crossing his fingers while straining his face, try not to laugh hysterically. All he's trying to do is bring some good luck his way.
The 4-17 Thunderwolves, who will arrive in London this weekend to face Western's men's basketball team on Friday and Saturday, have not had the greatest of seasons on or off the court.
The last time the ThunderBay school travelled to Southwestern Ontario to face Guelph, their plane landed only 30 minutes before game time due to delays.
On the court, the team has faced similar delay problems their first win of the conference season has not arrived. Games against the improved Gryphons and the Brock Badgers last weekend have left Lakehead with a 0-4 Ontario University Athletics West record.
But all hope is not lost for the Thunderwolves. They're facing the same team they came within five points from ousting in last year's play-offs and they can still hope for a lift into Victory Lane, if Western's overconfidence bus is in operation.
"Given the history of how competitive our conference is, you have to take everything as a major challenge," said Western head coach Craig Boydell. "They've got a lot of three-point shooters. We have to take them very seriously from a defensive standpoint."
Leading the charge for Lakehead will be Andrew Stevenson, a diminutive point guard who can light it up from the perimeter and has been passing the rock to the tune of eight assists a game.
"He's our leader and the quarterback of our offence," said Lakehead head coach, Lou Pero. "He was fifth in the country in three point shooting last year and he brings grit to our team."
Another player who the Mustangs will need to keep an eye on is 6 foot seven inch forward Dan Zapior, who has a bag full of tricks. Along with being able to stick the three, he's been taking down eight rebounds a game and has already collected a dozen double-doubles this season.
However, Western's depth and inside prowess presents such an enormous challenge for the Thunderwolves, that even stellar play from Stevenson and Zapior might not help Lakehead.
"[Western's] certainly got a balanced offence and they start five guys who can all score in double digits," Pero said. "Also, [Mustang center Chris Brown and forward Andy Kwiatkowski] will presents problems for us."
Brown, who collected a team high of 25 points and 11 rebounds against McMaster, hopes to continue his strong play and shed past inconsistencies.
"It was nice to play like that for a change," Brown said. "Hopefully I'll be able to get it going this week too and keep it up."
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