Volume 95, Issue 87

Tuesday, March 19, 2002
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Mustang b-ball stars dominate national awards

Following the yellow brick road to end-game

Zags get a taste of "bad medicine"

Following the yellow brick road to end-game

Game 1: Laval

HALIFAX, N.S. – The Western Mustangs brought a determined look to the floor as they faced Laval University in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport semifinals.

Led by the inspired efforts of co-captains Jimmy Grozelle and Andy Kwiatkowski – neither of whom had played their usual 'A' game in the previous match – the Mustangs took it to Laval from the opening tip-off, on the way to a 79-64 victory.

The score in the end was definitely not reflective of the game the final outcome only became certain in the last seconds.

"We knew we had to play with a little more urgency than yesterday as Laval was a really strong team," said Chris Brown, who won player of the game.

The game remained tight throughout the entire contest, but Western had too many different weapons for head coach Jacques Paiment's Laval team to handle.

"When you have to deal with the leadership, experience and talent of Jimmy Grozelle as well as Andy [Kwiatkowski] and big Brown inside, it was too much for our team to handle," Paiment said.

Grozelle played his best game of the tournament, taking matters into his own hands and ensuring the Mustangs were making it to the final.

"Laval is a really good team, but our guys came together today and simply wanted it more than they did," Grozelle said.

Sagar Desai also stepped up once again, contributing a very important 11 points and four offensive rebounds to his normal defensive presence.

"A back-breaker for any team is allowing offensive rebounds and Sagar pulled down a lot of key boards for us, as well as playing extremely well both offensively and defensively," noted Western head coach Craig Boydell.

Game 2: Victoria

In the opening game of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport basketball championships, the University of Victoria Vikes were able to do something very few teams accomplish over the last two seasons – shut down Mustang star Andy Kwiatkowski.

Kwiatkowski picked up his second foul less than six minutes into the first half, forcing him to spend the majority of the opening 20 minutes on the bench.

A spark was needed and second-year guard Scott Seeley answered Western's prayers. In only four minutes, Seeley put on a shooting clinic, lighting up a natural hat trick of three-pointers to pull his team even with the Vikes.

"Scott came off the bench and totally saved us in the first half. That's how playoff games are – you need all different guys contributing," Kwiatkowski said.

As other Mustangs quickly got in foul trouble, another big time effort off the bench was needed from second-year forward Sagar Desai to help shut down the Vikes offense. "Desai was phenomenal off the bench defensively for us," Boydell said.

The game remained tight until the 10-minute mark of the second half when the Mustangs received a huge block from defensive stalwart Chedo Ndur. Both coaches sited the rejection as the turning point of the game.

"There were four or five possessions in the middle of the second half starting with the block that I think was the difference in the game," said Vikes head coach Guy Vetrie.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002