Men's hoops starts the New Year on a high note

Transfer student proves himself in Western victory versus Brock

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western men's basketball - Matthew Curtis

Courtesy Mustang Athletics

"NOOO ... DON'T FLATTEN MY HAAAAIR!" Western's Matthew Curtis led the 'Stangs to their first OUA victory of the New Year this past Saturday against the Brock Badgers. Curtis is also fostering a mop Steve Nash would be envious of.

Colin LaForme, a transfer from Youngstown State University in the NCAA, proved to be a great asset to the Mustangs’ starting lineup Saturday night, as the men’s basketball team defeated the Brock Badgers 81-75.

The 6’10” forward recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points while raking in 13 rebounds in his home court debut.

LaForme brings great versatility to Western with his ability to score in the paint and his shooting prowess.

Unlike most other players his size, LaForme does not spend the majority of his time in the low block battling for position. Although he can score in the paint, he can also shoot.

The Badgers underestimated his skill when they left him open for not one, but two three pointers.

After hitting his second three, Brock’s defence tightened up and started covering his outside shot.

Both teams looked a bit careless in a game full of turnovers. “We played sloppy tonight,” LaForme said. “Our defence was struggling.”

Western’s offence also struggled, turning the ball over 20 times. The majority of the Badgers’ scoring came from uncontested jump shots. The Badgers strong outside shooting hurt the Mustangs in the first half.

“That’s what we have to work on. Instead of giving up 75 points, we have to hold teams to 60,” LaForme said.

Brock dominated the second quarter, starting the frame with an 8-0 run and outscoring the Mustangs 25-19 to pull ahead for a 43-40 lead at the half.

But in the second half, the ’Stangs took advantage of the Badgers’ weak defence by moving the ball well and hurting them with points in the low post, as well as 11-for-17 shooting from downtown.

Western also did a great job of shutting down Brock’s big man Owen White, holding him to six points on 2-for-12 shooting.

Western’s Matthew Curtis led the scoring with 23 points of 6-for-16 shooting. He also collected six assists.

Curtis was not afraid of taking the ball to the hoop and drawing the foul. He hurt the Badgers at the free throw line, going 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.

He hit back-to-back three pointers in the third quarter, giving the Mustangs a 54-48 lead.

Western held on to its lead in the fourth quarter with marksmanship on the perimeter. The Mustangs also succeeded in shutting down the Badgers’ star guard, Rohan Steen, who returned to Brock’s lineup for the first time in two months.

“The first game back is always tough,” Steen said. “But I’m starting to get back into the rhythm.”

Steen was heavily guarded and forced to settle for contested jump shots.

“The first game back after a break, whether it be the Christmas break or the March break, is always a tough game. Our guys knew that going into the game,” Brock head coach Ken Murray said. “But that’s still not an excuse to not execute on the court.”

The Mustangs did not rest much over the Christmas break. In fact, they were hard at work practicing for the Ryerson Invitational tournament. Their hard work and dedication paid off when they won the December tournament after beating the nationally-ranked Toronto Varsity Blues 80-66 in the final.

Western looks to improve its 4-5 record on Jan. 9 when the team travels to Windsor to face the defending Ontario University Athletics champion Lancers at 8 p.m.

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