Ballers victorious again

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs' men's basketball

Jonas Hrebeniuk

With the season well under way, the men’s basketball team knew a win over the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday would provide some much-needed separation from the bottom of the Ontario University Athletics West division.

Western forward Brad Smith had a great start to the season, with impressive performances against the Brock Badgers and during a recent loss to the Windsor Lancers.

This game was no different, as he led the Mustangs to a 95-70 victory over the struggling Warriors.

The game began with an 11-2 run by the Mustangs, due to strong play in the paint by Western big men Colin Laforme and Smith, who ended with 21 points off the bench.

Although the Warriors showed signs of life halfway through the quarter, they only managed to get within five points through the first half.

Western head coach Brad Campbell could be seen on the sidelines urging his team to continue to press the relenting Warriors.

“Our main focus was basically to get a lot of pressure on its perimeter players and, defensively, try to disrupt Waterloo’s offence.”

Throughout the half, Waterloo could do little to stop Western’s strong post play and its superhuman performance from beyond the arc, shooting 63.6 per cent. Points were coming from all areas of the court, with the entire team putting in a solid effort.

“I wouldn’t say any one player made the biggest impact,” Campbell said. “The game turned out the way it did because many players made a significant impact in the game.

Western was up by 28 at halftime and it was evident that little would deny the Mustangs a victory.

After the half, an adjustment by the Warriors allowed them to keep pace with the ’Stangs, something their poor transition game had previously denied them.

The Waterloo defence slowed the Mustangs down, but little could be done against the dominant Smith.

Waterloo head coach Tim Kieswetter offered his opinion on what went wrong.

“After halftime we tried to slow our tempo on offence, instead of having quick attacks in transition,” he said. “We were somewhat successful. They have a lot of big, strong players. We just couldn’t contain the big guys.“

Despite a resilient third quarter effort, the deficit established in the first half was too great to overcome.

“When you dig yourself a hole like that, you can’t even see out of it,” Kieswetter said. “So we weren’t even concerned about winning the game after that.”

The rest of the game, Western held a comfortable lead that it clearly wasn’t giving up.

The fourth quarter saw some big plays, the highlights being an alley-oop by Smith and a desperate attempt by Ryan Barbeau to keep a ball in bounds that sent him flying into the inflated Mustangs’ “W” while cheers echoed from the stands.

All in all, there was no real dispute over who was the better team, as Western cruised to a 25-point win, which put them above Waterloo in the standings and only one game back of a .500 record.

Campbell gave his thoughts on the season so far.

“Our early league play was disappointing because of injuries and we’ve been playing much better, with momentum,” he said. “This Wednesday night’s game versus Windsor will be a big test at home.”

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