Volume 95, Issue 69

Tuesday, February 5, 2002
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Women get cold treatment on ice

It's not the rim's fault!

The strength of the human heart

It's not the rim's fault!

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

Adam Sandler would be proud.

In an eerily quiet Alumni Hall this past Saturday night, the 'Big Daddy,' centre Chris Brown, was instrumental in securing the Western Mustangs men's basketball team a 78-67 victory over the Brock Badgers.

Brown and the rest of his front court mates were able to completely dominate in the paint. 'Big Daddy' Brown finished with 19 points on nine for 12 shooting from the field. The bruising centre explained his position on the court has hampered his game lately.

"I find I drift out a little too far sometimes," Brown said. "So I have been trying to focus more on sealing a little closer to the hoop."

It was never more evident than in this game, where Brown continuously found himself planted smack-dab in the middle of the key. Brown rejected the idea that the Mustangs concentrated on exploiting the paint, but head coach Craig Boydell had a different opinion.

"We felt there were certain kinds of mismatches," Boydell said. "They have a hard time handling Brown inside, as well as Andy [Kwiatkowski], so I think we did a good job of being patient and exploiting those things."

The Mustangs opened the game full throttle, jumping out to an 11-2 advantage. But, as has been the case much of this year, whenever Western seems ready to bury their opposition, they instead allow the opponent to creep back into the game.

It was no different against the Badgers, who trailed by a minuscule one point at the half and weren't really out of the ball game until forward Mark Neilsen stroked some key jumpers at opportune times to put the Mustangs ahead 63-53.

The inability of the Mustangs to send their opponents packing begs the question – does the team have a killer instinct?

"I think there's definitely times when we have let teams stay around that shouldn't have," Boydell said. "So whatever you're going to call that, be it killer instinct, that's something we're working on."

Brown said the inability to "bury" opponents is frustrating. "I don't know what it is, but we just seem to be really up and down lately. I don't think it's a question of the physical tools, it's just mental. We definitely don't have the 'killer instinct' right now."

Badgers head coach Ken Murray spent much of the game verbally jawing at the referees and, oddly enough, the rim. Murray was adamant that the Alumni Hall rim posed a hindrance to his squad.

"The rim is busted – it shouldn't even be used," Murray said. "It looks pretty bad on this institution when you have to use substandard equipment like that for a game that is this important."

In the second half, with the score 49-43, two questionable calls led to a three-point play and subsequent three-pointer by Kwiatkowski. Murray felt those calls and the resulting six point turnaround was a pivotal point in the game.

"There's not much you can really say about it, but that basically swung the game for them," Murray said. "Luck of the draw – sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you don't."

Kwiatkowski aided the front court dominance, scoring his quietest 27 points of the season, while guard Jimmy Grozelle finished with 15.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002