Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mustangs vs Ryerson

Mustangs down Blues

Tony Spiridis in action vs U of T 

Bethany Wood - Mustangs Athletics
LONDON, Ont. - The Western Mustangs men’s basketball team is back in business.

After a slow start to the season, Western came into tonight’s game looking for its first win of the season and earned it convincingly over the Toronto Varsity Blues. Four Mustang players had double-digit scorings and second-year, London native Greg Morrow contributed a team-high 21 points for the decisive 81-72 victory.

The home team maintained consistency with a 48.5% field goal percentage, garnering 30 points from the three-point line. The Blues maintained a high free throw rate, but fell to the Mustangs’ 39 team rebounds, limiting the team’s second chance scoring opportunities.

Morrow hit nothing but net with back-to-back three pointers in the first quarter to give Western a five-point lead off the bat. Teammate Quinn Henderson added two key points off his own rebound, while second-year Ryan Higgins subbed in to add another three off the short side. The 11-6 lead drove Toronto to a time out.

Fifth-year Blues veteran Arun Kumar stepped up to close up the gap; the Hamilton, Ontario native made two free throws and an impressive drive for two points. Ben Garvin followed up with a three pointer and lay up to close the lead, putting the Blues up 15-14. Western took a subsequent time out and used the pause to regain a 21-17 lead after the first quarter.

The Mustangs captivated the court in the second. Team scoring leader Peter Scholtes – ranked in the OUA top 20 thus far this season – got his feet under him, adding eight points and six rebounds. Morrow followed up, sinking 86% of his shots with aggressive, give-and-go play. Rookie George Johnson capitalized on a turnover chance with a key three pointer, while second year teammate Charles Drouin was a force on the backcourt with four rebounds. The full-court chemistry from the Stangs drove the team’s lead to 13 at the half – 42-29 – out-rebounding its opponents 19-12 on defense.

The Blues returned to the court with vengeance and went on a six-point scoring streak in the third, led by Matt Savel. The third-year guard drove to the boards and drew a penalty for a three-point play. The action went back and forth and Mustang Henderson added a pair of points to keep Western’s lead at nine. The Blues responded with two key three pointers in an attempt to tighten the scoring deficit.

Western rookies Anthony Spiridis and Jack Daneyko saw the court, while second-year Higgins stepped up with two three pointers and aggressive play on the backboard to maintain Western’s decisive lead, up 61-48 after the third quarter.

Toronto regrouped for a fight to the finish. The Blues struggled with team chemistry and foul trouble, but team leader Alex Hill – a top 10 OUA scorer – pressed hard to the boards for six straight points, tightening the gap to five and drew a Western time out. Hill and teammate Adam Plummer worked the court to find chances, but few turned to scoring opportunities.

Despite being outshot 24-20 by the Blues in the fourth quarter, Morrow and Scholtes’ experience paid off in the final minutes to draw a sequence of Toronto fouls, securing the 81-72 win.

The Blues fall to below .500 and head back to the drawing board for the team’s next game at Athletic Centre Sports Gym versus McMaster, while the Mustangs take the confidence from tonight’s win to Alumni Hall again tomorrow night.

Western (now 1-4 for the season) will take on the Ryerson Rams – ranked first in the OUA East, undefeated so far 4-0 – on Saturday, November 24. Tip off is at 8:00pm, with live coverage from MustangsTV on the SSN Canada website.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Carleton offense takes down Mustangs at Alumni Hall

11/11/2012 1:54:00 PM
The Western Mustangs men's basketball team faced a very tough Carleton squad last night in their second home game of the regular season. The game provided the young Mustang team with the experience necessary to move forward in development. The Mustangs struggled to find offensive rhythm and fell short to the Carleton Ravens -- ranked first in the OUA -- with a final score of 46-86.

Western started out aggressive in the first quarter and worked excellent as a team. The Stangs displayed excellent off ball movement creating offensive opportunities. Peter Scholtes created plays with precise passing as Greg Morrow finished in the paint, finishing with 14 points overall. Western shut down Carleton defensively, forcing turnovers and rotating effectively.

Morrow continued to energize the Mustang squad with a coast-to-coast layup four minutes into the game. Toward the end of the first quarter, Carleton amplified their defensive pressure moving to a full court press. This brought the Ravens to within one point and the first quarter ended with a score of 19-18 in favour of the Mustangs.

In the second quarter, Scholtes exhibited his strength and played well in the post. Soon, the veteran Carleton team found its touch and began to make outside shots. The Mustangs did not back down, diving to the floor for loose balls and fighting for rebounds. It was the three point shooting from Carleton that increased the margin as Western was unable to find a way to silence their shooters. Western struggled to rotate effectively in the second quarter, allowing for Carleton to score 18 consecutive points from beyond three point range.

The first half ended with a score of 26-40 in favour of the Ravens.

The Mustangs knew that they needed to change their approach in order to overcome the second quarter deficit. Western struggled to find its touch, dropping in scoring percentages from both the two and three point distances. Raven Thomas Scrubb lead the way with seven rebounds, and he along with three teammates Tyson Hinz, Philip Scrubb, and Gavin Resch reached double digit scoring. Hinz made 7 for 7 field goal chances and followed up with a huge three pointer in the third.

Western fought hard for rebounds but struggled to get possession of the ball. Carleton controlled the pace of play in the second half. The third quarter ended with a score of 37-72.

Western was resilient and came out strong in the fourth quarter. The team worked hard to get an offense running smoothly and creating many scoring opportunities. A great three pointer from Ryan Higgins sparked energy in the home team squad. Tough full court pressure from Carleton forced unnecessary turnovers, which left Western's final effort short to overcome the consistency of the veteran Raven team.

“We had a good first half but got killed on the boards. We closed out poorly,” Mustang forward Morrow said. “It was all about rebounding this game and they sent all four guys to the glass. If we see them in the future, we need to be more physical on the boards.”

Mustangs Morrow and Scholtes managed double digits on the scoreboard, Morrow leading the way with 14 points in 38 minutes played. Scholtes was on the court for over half of the game as well, but only made four of 12 field goal opportunities in the one-sided court play, in favour of Carleton.

The team regroups for an away trip versus York on November 16 at Tait MacKenzie Gymnasium, followed by a matchup against Laurentian at Ben F. Avery Gymnasium on November 17. Tip off for both games is at 8pm.

The Mustangs return to Alumni Hall on November 23 versus Toronto

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mustangs fall short on home opening game 61-77

#20 Adam Vandervoort
The Western Mustangs men's basketball team hosted a tough Ottawa University squad in the highly anticipated home opener last night, former OUA semi-finalists. In a tough battle, the Mustangs fell short, losing to the Ottawa Gee Gees with a final score 61-77. The team played a competitive, rivaled game overall, but could not contain the powerful University of Ottawa offense.

In the first few minutes of the game, Ottawa managed to control the pace on both ends of the court. Ottawa created opportunities off of the fast break and in many cases caught the Mustangs off guard.

The Mustangs fought back, executing offensive plays to a tee while creating off ball opportunities. Excellent shooting from Greg Morrow gave the Mustangs the advantage they needed to obtain a first quarter lead.

The first quarter concluded with the Mustangs clinching a two point lead over Ottawa University.

The second quarter started out with a bang as Morrow showed the crowd his vertical abilities in a tip dunk off of a missed layup. This spark of energy gave the Mustangs the motivation they needed to overcome the Gee Gee’s. Tight defense from the Mustangs frustrated Ottawa, leading to forced turnovers and bad passing decisions.

Precision shooting from behind the arc was crucial in the Mustangs' success in the second quarter. Co-captain Quinn Henderson was especially strong from outside and Greg Morrow continued to disrupt the Ottawa defense. Tensions began to escalate in the second quarter leading to a very physical game. Ottawa claimed the second quarter, but only three points ahead at 38-35.

In the third, Henderson made two clutch three pointers, which energized the Mustang squad. Unfortunately, the speed of Ottawa University was uncontrollable. The Gee Gees continued to maintain a fast pace game, fast breaking at every opportunity. Before the Mustangs knew it, the team found themselves down to a game-high nine points.

Full court pressure from the Ottawa Gee Gee’s flustered the Mustang guards -- leading to unforced errors. The third quarter ended with a score of 48-60 in favour of the Ottawa Gee Gee’s.

The Mustangs took to the court in the fourth quarter determined to make a comeback. Peter Scholtes found his touch and began to make key shots. Western was more aggressive defensively and successful boxing out from the Mustang post players led to many offensive and defensive rebounds. Unfortunately the Ottawa Gee Gee’s still found success on both ends of the court and were too much for the Mustangs to handle.

This 61-77 loss is a more competitive score than the matchup result between these two teams last season.

Head Coach Brad Campbell commented on where they went wrong. “The other team executed better. They disrupted our offense and beat us on the glass.”

Moving forward to Saturday's game against Carleton, Campbell said “we will need to commit to the defensive rebound, which is the strength of Carleton and battle for each possession.”

The team prepares for the second game of the home opening weekend double header against Carleton University. Tip off is 8:00pm at Alumni Hall on Saturday, November 10.