Ballers hang with tough
By James Hayes
REACHING FOR THAT RAINBOW. Mustangs’ forward Daron
Leonard competes with a Guelph player — most likely a
farmer in the offseason — for a rebound during Wednesday
The Western Mustangs’ men’s basketball team had a
tough game against the Guelph Gryphons — not the Griffins — although
Family Guy’s lovable Peter, Chris and Bryan the dog would
be a formidable force on the hardwood.
Western fought hard, but couldn’t quite get it done Wednesday
night, falling to the Gryphons 79-69 at Alumni Hall. The team played
a competitive first half, grabbing a five point lead being aggressive
on the glass and playing good defense. A clutch three-pointer by
Western guard Darren Veira with five seconds left in the half cut
the Guelph lead to two going into the break.
However, the Gryphons were just a little too tough for the Mustangs
in the second half, with great ball movement and strong interior
defense leaving most of the Mustangs’ chances to chip away
at the lead from the foul line. The Grypons also got quite hot
in the second half, with an efficient offense that light it up
from beyond the arc.
Despite the outcome, Western did a great job of keeping it close
against a Guelph team ranked second in the West Division of Ontario
University Athletics and eighth in Canada.
Guelph moved to 12-5 with the win, nudging within two points of
the West-leading McMaster Marauders in the OUA West’s standings.
Following the loss, Western is 4-13.
“It was a difficult game,” said Guelph head coach
Chris O’Rourke. “Western is a team that is a lot better
than their record suggests. We tried to make it a goal to contain
[Adam] Peaker, which is really tough to do; he is a first-team
all-star for sure.”
Peaker felt that he didn’t shoot the ball as well as he
would’ve liked, although he did shoot at a 50 per cent clip
from the floor and finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Western
forward Daron Leonard chipped in with a solid double-double — 15
points and 12 boards. Starting first-year guard James Harrison
also poured in 18 points.
But Guelph was just a little too tough, with upper-year standouts
Kyle Julius and Radhi Knapp dropping 28 and 26 points, respectively.
Guelph also played tough defense, particularly in the second half,
causing a number of turnovers and making the possibility of a late-game
comeback look bleak.
“We displayed a good effort out there tonight and hung in there
through the entire game,” Peaker said. “We would be better
to have some more communication on defense and a more consistent
ability to run our offense.”
Western coach Craig Boydell was very pleased with his team’s
efforts. “We played hard on defense the whole game. We’re
a young team who’s been banged up, so when you take that
into consideration we played a great game. Hopefully, we can get
some healthy bodies back for upcoming games. But overall I’m
pleased with how we’ve been showing steady improvement.”
“Guelph is a very tough team to handle, with a number of
standouts,” Boydell said. “It’s great to see
that we’re a team that’s been getting better every
single game, and as for the rest of the season, we’re not
The Mustangs’ next game is this Saturday at 2 p.m., where
they hope to get back on track against Brock University at Alumni