Men's basketball team trumps Guelph 70-59

Size, intensity of 'Stangs too much for Gryphons, according to Campbell

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs men's basketball

Kelly Macquarrie

I’M FEELIN’ KINDA LOW GUYS. Mustangs guard Alex Brzozowicz watches helplessly as the ball escapes his control in Westerns 70-59 win over the Guelph Gryphons at Alumni Hall on Saturday.

On a night when the Mustangs’ stands were awash with purple for the Jam the Gym event, the home team treated its fans to a display of physical prowess on both ends of the floor as they beat the Guelph Gryphons, 70-59.

“Over the course of the game we tried to wear them down with our size and our physical style of play. We imposed our will on them,” Mustangs head coach Brad Campbell said.

Throughout the first three quarters of the Saturday afternoon contest, the two teams mirrored each other in all aspects of the game.

Each side played with ferocious intensity on the defensive end, battling for each rebound and struggling on the offensive end.

“It’s all about execution. Defensively we did a good job, but offensively we didn’t always take advantage of the opportunities we had,” Guelph head coach Chris O’Rourke stated.

This was true of both teams.

Throughout the game the Gryphons used a swarming 2-3 zone defence which forced the Mustangs to play beyond the arc and kept them from getting into the paint.

Guelph was successful through three quarters as they forced the Mustangs to take difficult shots, preventing them from getting easy baskets down low.

“Guelph’s record may not be that impressive but they’re a good team. Their scrappy and they defend well,” Campbell said.

However, led by 24 points from all-time Mustangs career point leading forward Brad Smith, the Mustangs converted enough baskets from mid-range and beyond the arc to keep the Guelph defence from shutting them out completely.

When the Mustangs were on defence, their physical man-to-man scheme forced the Gryphons to give up contested shots as the shot clock expired.

Only senior Gryphons Nick Pankerichan and Duncan Milne had success penetrating the defensive pressure applied by the ’Stangs.

“Our ‘on-ball’ defence was especially good. Pankerichan likes to take shots from beyond the arc, so we tried to put pressure on him. He got a couple of open looks but I thought we kept a lot of pressure on him throughout the game,” Western guard Matt Curtis said.

In a display of defensive dominance, the Mustangs held the Gryphons scoreless through the first four minutes of the second quarter and kept Guelph to only nine points in the frame.

However, the Mustangs were unable to pull away as time and time again the Gryphons swarmed the boards after a missed shot, giving themselves numerous second chances.

The Mustangs used their size and physical dominance to give themselves a small lead after each of the first three quarters.

In the fourth quarter the Mustangs’ commitment to physical defence paid off, as they ran away with the game.

The combination of Smith and Curtis was deadly in the fourth as they successfully executed on the give-and-go numerous times, allowing Curtis easy lay-ups on three different occasions.

Curtis finished with 11 points, nine coming during a pivotal fourth quarter run.

“I was just running the offence. They were leaving me open and honestly I would too the way I’ve been shooting this year. I was just trying to make things happen off the ball,” Curtis said.

Western’s proficiency on offence allowed the men to take a commanding lead, leaving the Gryphons unable to close the gap as they were shut down offensively.

With the victory, the Mustangs extend their Ontario University Athletics West division leading record to 13-3, with six regular season games left to play.

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