Ballers hold off hungry Hawks
Frost leaves Windsor in the cold
Ballers hold off hungry Hawks
By Dave Martin
Not often in the last two seasons has the Western men's basketball team been down at halftime on home court, but Saturday afternoon, a young, tough team from Laurier held a two point edge over the favoured hosts at Alumni Hall.
By the final buzzer a 26-game home winning streak had been extended to 27, as the Mustangs survived a nail-biter, prevailing 76-66 and improving their regular season record to 9-1.
Western head coach Craig Boydell said his team didn't underestimate the Ontario University Association West second-place Golden Hawks, but just needed to tighten up their defence in the second half to come out with the win.
"We certainly had respect for them, as they've beaten a lot of good teams. [Western] as a whole didn't come out with a real high level of intensity on defence, but in the second half, I felt we played a lot better in our end and forced them to take harder shots than before," Boydell said.
REMINISCENT OF JIMMY CHIPWOOD IN THE CLASSIC MOVIE
HOOSIERS, IT'S ALL AUTOMATIC FOR JIMMY GROZELLE. This shot was
three of 20 points for Grozelle in the Mustangs 76-66 win.
|The Mustangs once again were lead by their co-captains Andy Kwiatkowski and Jimmy Grozelle, who drained four three-pointers each as part of 31 and 20 point performances respectively.
Kwiatkowski grabbed a game-high 14 boards, as well as scoring the team's first 11 points, while Grozelle went shot-for-shot with Laurier sharp-shooter Chris Caruso.
The Golden Hawks head coach Peter Campbell said it was tough to stop Western's well-rounded offence.
"It seemed any time Jimmy or Andy took a shot, they'd have a basket, especially when it really counted," he said. "We tried to run defensive rotations, keeping people always coming out at them, but [Western] is so good that doing so will leave a guy like [Chris] Brown alone and then he'll beat you from inside.
"[Western is] the best team in our league and as we are a young
team, I was really pleased with the effort of our guys today. The
team went all-out right from the beginning and I think to some
degree, we just ran out of steam by the end," he added.
Grozelle knew Western could play a more complete game, but noted how tough it is for an opponent to get off to a strong start at Alumni.
"Although we were not too impressive today, give them the credit as they definitely played well. We can usually get off to a really good start here with the crowd behind us, but today they were the ones that took it to us," Grozelle said.
Kwiatkowski said the team initially didn't play smart basketball, but definitely sharpened up in the second half.
"The first half we weren't doing things right, like stepping out and playing certain guys the way coach had told us to, but we came back in the second and really increased our defensive intensity, which shut [Laurier] down quite well," Kwiatkowski said.
Helping out with big efforts on the defensive end were Chedo Ndur and Adam Peaker who both sacrificed their bodies and each drew offensive charges. According to Boydell, Scott Seeley also played a very good all-around game.
"Although he isn't seen much in the box-score, I felt Seeley played extremely well today. He was tough on 'D,' made a few excellent passes and added a couple rebounds, too," Boydell said.
The team hopes to extend their home winning streak tomorrow night, as they host the Windsor Lancers at Alumni Hall at 8 p.m..