December 2 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 52  

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Ballers lose seventh straight Optimistic feelings for 2004

By Christopher Clarke
Gazette Writer

Katie Millar/Gazette
YOU WANNA PIECE OF THIS? Western’s James Harrison dribbles around a Laurier player during their 65-60 loss Saturday at Alumni Hall.

Things can only get better for a very young and very injured Western Mustangs men's basketball team. That said, they fell to 0-7 on the regular season with Saturday's 65-60 loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks.

What exactly was it that cost the Mustangs the game's Head coach Craig Boydell voiced his opinion. "Turnovers. We lacked discipline out there and it shows we're a young team." The Mustangs had trouble handling the Golden Hawks' press throughout the first half.

Rob Innes, Laurier's best post player, displayed an array of well-polished moves that left Mustang defenders looking for a change of underwear. "I was impressed with Rob's play today," said Laurier coach Peter Campbell. "He's our go-to-guy every game we play."

The Mustangs seemed more intent on scoring quickly after breaking Laurier's press than running their own offensive system. "I was impressed with our defensive pressure. We knew that in order to beat Western, we would have to do it well," Campbell said.

The only good thing to happen for Western before the first half came to a close was finally breaking Laurier's pressure and getting to the free throw line for the first time with three minutes remaining. The Mustangs went into the half trailing 37-31.

Scoring on their first possession, the Mustangs came out strong in the second half. They made some key stops and went on key runs that brought them within three points, capped by Daron Leonard's pull-up jumper with two minutes to go.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the Mustangs got to the taste of victory. Western was forced to foul Laurier the rest of the way, killing yet another great opportunity to get that elusive first win of the season.

One bright spot for the Mustangs was first-year guard James Harrison, who made some big shots throughout the game. When asked what cost his team the game, Harrison echoed the words of his coach. "The big reason we lost this game is turnovers," he said. "We just didn't handle the press and it killed us early on." Adam Peaker was once again a workhorse for the Mustangs, contributing in every statistical category. He even got praise from Campbell. "Adam Peaker is one hell of a player. He means so much to that team that we spent most of the day making sure we had two bodies on him." Exactly how it got to this point isn't important, but the Mustangs are sitting in the basement of the Ontario University Athletics West division. They have a few weeks off for exams, followed by a meeting with Royal Military College on Jan. 3, 2004.

Coach Boydell remains optimistic about the season, hoping perhaps a new year can bring about some change in luck.

"Our team is getting better everyday," Boydell said. "Even though we're playing for the future, the future to us is our next game, our next practice. We've played some of the top teams in the country and that can only help our guys mature."




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