Volume 95, Issue 80

Wednesday, March 6, 2002
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From "uh-oh" to the OUAs

Badgers lose their bite

It's either Halifax or bust

Celebrating gold with a Foster's

Sports Briefs

Hauling in the hardware

Badgers lose their bite

Victory propels Mustangs to final

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

The long road to Halifax just got a lot shorter for the Western Mustangs men's basketball team.

The Mustangs used an explosive second half to annihilate the Brock Badgers 93-69 in the Ontario University Athletics West semifinal Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall. Making the victory even more impressive was that it came in the absence of star point guard Jimmy Grozelle, who was sidelined with a hip injury.

Mustangs head coach Craig Boydell explained the victory came down to turnovers, or lack there of.

"Three turnovers," Boydell said. "I would never have dreamed we would only turn the ball over three times – that has to be an all-time school record."

The game was the beginning of the playoff drive for the Mustangs. As the third-ranked team in the nation, the squad will be satisfied with nothing less than a berth in the national championships in Halifax.

Beth Kerim/Gazette
"WE WANT JIMMY! WE WANT JIMMY!" The McMaster Marauders will have a certain beloved point guard, Jimmy Grozelle, to deal with tonight at Alumni Hall.

"I definitely think there was a different feeling going into the game," Mustang guard Adam Peaker said. "The team stepped it up for the game because if we lost this one, we would've been done."

The Mustangs received an extremely balanced attack from its big guns – forwards Andy Kwiatkowski and Chedo Ndur, centre Chris Brown and Peaker.

Kwiatkowski finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Ndur tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Brown owned the middle, scoring 22 points and hauling down nine rebounds and Peaker dialed-in from long distance, at a success rate for four of six, to score 20 points.

Nonetheless, the Badgers were on their game from the opening tip, shooting a scorching 55 per cent in the first half and trailing only 44-39 going into the intermission.

"They were on fire in the first half," Peaker said. "Eventually, we got it together on the defensive end and they came back down to Earth."

The second half was all Mustangs, as Kwiatkowski and Brown spurred a game-breaking run and the Mustangs cruised through the latter part of the half, allowing the fans to revel in the performance. The Mustangs upped the ante on the Badgers and shot an even hotter 61 per cent.

Badgers head coach Ken Murray was valiant in defeat.

"The better team won," Murray said. "We had to be on top of our game to beat them but they made shots and we didn't. I credit their players – they moved the ball very well and played with a great deal of poise."

Murray added that the Mustangs performance could be a sign of things to come. "If they play the way they did against us and shoot the ball as well as they did, there is no way McMaster can beat them. It will definitely be a battle on Wednesday and hopefully the scoreboard will reflect the better team," he said.

The decision to rest the injury-plagued Grozelle came right before tip-off.

Captain Grozelle typically holds the key to maintaining an efficient offensive attack, therefore the three turnovers in his absence was immensely impressive under the circumstances.

Boydell said it would take Tonya Harding and her goon squad to keep him out of the OUA West final.

"There's no doubt he will be playing on Wednesday," Boydell said. "The national championships started last Saturday – you lose and it's next year."

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Copyright The Gazette 2002