Volume 95, Issue 40

Tuesday, November 13, 2001
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Rim plays devilish tricks on Mustang ballers

Ryerson rammed in hoops opener

Rim plays devilish tricks on Mustang ballers

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

It wasn't pretty, but it was a win.

The Western Mustangs men's basketball team was shooting blanks in their regular season game against the Royal Military College Paladins Saturday night at Alumni Hall and the second ranked team in the nation narrowly escaped, 66-55.

Mustang head coach Craig Boydell bluntly stated his post-game feelings. "I wasn't pleased with the team's performance tonight. We played tough when we had to, but it certainly wasn't our best effort. We played it in the ditch, so to speak," he said.

The two squads competed in a tug of war throughout. The Mustangs seemed to control the tide at various points, but a combination of the Paladins' peskiness and the Mustangs' erratic shooting kept the game tight throughout.

The charity stripe may have been the decisive factor that propelled the Mustangs to victory.

In the latter stages of the game, it seemed like the only way the Paladins could stop the front-court dominance of centre Chris Brown and forward Andy Kwiatkowski was by fouling them. The Mustangs made RMC pay by icing their free throws – especially Kwiatkowski, who buried an eye-popping 16 of 17 free throws.

Alumni Hall may well be the Ontario university basketball equivalent of the L.A. Lakers' home court, the Staples Center – every team wants to come into the Mustangs' house and make their season.

"Everyone gets up for us," Kwiatkowski said. "We're among the top teams in the country, so we expect an all-out war every night."

It's been an up-and-down season for the Paladins. Head coach Craig Norman said his team's lack of experience came back to haunt them.

"We have eight first-year players. Some games we're just absolutely awful and some games we surprise ourselves. Tonight, the Mustangs experience just wore us down," he said.

Christine Bryant/Gazette
I'LL BE COOL AND ACT LIKE I DON'T SEE THE CAMERA... BUT DAMN, I'M GONNA BE IN THE PAPER. Mustang forward Chedo Ndur watches while free throws are shot.

The Mustangs shot a dreadful 36 per cent from the field and two for 16 from beyond the arc. The squad usually stays above the 50 per cent mark, but Boydell said the poor statistics were not just attributable to poor marksmanship.

"Your offense always looks better when you're shooting the ball well, even when you're not running the offense," Boydell said. "Tonight it was a combination – I don't think we ran our offense well enough and we didn't shoot well."

Kwiatkowksi was tough in the paint, scoring 30 points, pulling down 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists. Backing up the Mustangs' main man was Brown, who finished with a workman-like 18 points and nine rebounds.

The previous night, the Mustangs opened their regular season with a 89-74 win against the Ryerson Rams. Kwiatkowski scored 25 points, including 13 for 13 from the free-throw line and grabbed 15 rebounds.

In addition, Brown notched a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling in 10 rebounds. Point guard Jimmy Grozelle and guard Adam Peaker added 14 and 12 points respectively.

The Mustangs pack their bags and embark on a five game road swing, highlighted by their showdown with the formidable and 'Smart' Carleton Ravens.

Eventually they return home for the Purple and White Tournament, Dec. 27-29, where fans will hopefully get to see the 'real' Mustangs who are awaiting the arrival of injured guard Mark Porte and forward Nick Salomons.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001