Volume 94, Issue 87

Wednesday, March 7, 2001


Heading to Halifax - Men begin championship run

Buzzer sounds on indoor hockey

Badminton team goes all the way - 9-2 victory over U of Ottawa seals the win

Dear Mr. Samaranch...

Heading to Halifax - Men begin championship run

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

Western's own 'St. Nick' delivered the best present of all for Western's men's basketball team this weekend – a trip to Halifax.

In the world of Canadian university basketball, Halifax represents one thing: A chance to compete for a national championship.

The player who was instrumental in the Mustang's 64-55 win over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday in Hamilton was none other than highly-touted reserve rookie forward Nick Salomons.

Salomons' final totals of nine points and three rebounds would seem quite modest to most observers. But peruse the boxscore a little further and you'll notice all of that was done in only six minutes of playing time. Add to that his seven consecutive points at a key juncture in the game, and you know why he was sporting a grin the size of the Joker's.

Mid-way through the second half, the Marauders were able to make a strong run at Western, who had led for most of the game, looking poised to challenge for their second-straight Ontario University Athletics West championship and a guaranteed berth at the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletics Union Final Eight championships.

With the score 4341 in Western's favour, Salomons came off the bench and proceeded to hit a three-pointer to give the Mustangs some breathing room. Thanks to a Marauder foul on Salomons' shot, Western got the ball back immediately and Salomons hit a long-range two-pointer seconds later.

On the next offensive trip down the floor, the Mustangs corralled a rebound off forward Matt Tweedie's missed shot to score another deuce and give Western a commanding nine point lead.

After that, McMaster was never able to pick their long faces off the floor.

"By far this is my best moment in basketball so far," Salomons said of both the opportunity to play in the nationals and his game contribution. "It was unbelievable, I was just feeling the flow of the game. I can't even explain it. Anybody who saw the smile on face knows how I feel."

Salomons can be sure his coach did not overlook the forward's contribution while Western's feature scorer, forward Andy Kwiatkowski, was on the bench with foul trouble.

"When your star player is in foul trouble and a guy off the bench can do what he did, that's a huge plus," said Mustang head coach Craig Boydell, who earlier in the week applauded Salomons selection to the OUA's All-rookie team. "Nick basically took over the offence for that sequence. It was just what we needed, and he did it."

While Salomons provided the spark, Western's team defence was able to suffocate McMaster's key scorers, including OUA MVP Steve Maga, who had a miserable day, shooting 5 for 24.

While all of Maga's baskets on the floor came from beyond the arc, Mustang guard, Jimmy Grozelle, was successful at funnelling most of Maga's scoring opportunities into the paint where he was met by an interior defence as stingy as a student towards the end of the month.

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