Mustangs Gallop Over Drew Rangers
Western Mustangs Men's BasketballJohn Urban
After coming off a 94-87 victory over the Heidelberg University Student Princes last night, the Western Mustangs were looking to make it two wins in a row in 26 hours from Alumni Hall. They would take on another NCAA Division III calibre opponent, this time from Madison, New Jersey in the Drew University Rangers. It would be the Mustangs second of three games scheduled on Thanksgiving weekend and the first of two encounters with Drew.
Originally named ‘The Circuit Riders’ in honour of their Methodist origins, the Rangers compete in the Landmark Conference. Their program hasn’t seen a lot of national success, but has had successful players such as Charles Lechner who is the only player in school history to school at least 1000 points and grab 1000 rebounds. He led the program to it’s first ECAC tournament win in 1980, that would be the programs highest finish until 1997.
The first quarter saw two teams struggle to find their tempo, with multiple empty runs resulting from unforced turnovers. The Mustangs would manage to take advantage early with a 7-2 run to start the game, but saw it evaporate thanks to a 9-0 run by the Rangers to give the away team the 11-7 lead with 3:18 left in the opening quarter. Western’s Senior Guard from Windsor, Ontario Eric Jenkins shot out of the gate, leading the team offensively late in the quarter with 11 points. Drew University on the other hand found six different shooters on the scoresheet: Nate Aldrich, Riley Collins, Bobby Ganges, Dylan Musial, Darius Reiter and Kyle Rebelo, but still trailed 20-17.
Junior Guard Omar Shiddo was held pointless in the 1st quarter, only to hit back to back three-pointers to start the 2nd. The Toronto, Ontario product would end up getting 10 points in just the single quarter. Niagara Falls, Ontario sophomore Tyler Thomson’s three-point shot would increase the Western lead to double-digits 39-29 with less than five minutes left in the half. Despite being down, the Drew Rangers continued to play well disciplined basketball successfully going to whole quarter without committing a single foul. Having the fouls 8-2 in advantage for Drew, didn’t stop the purple and white from taking a 44-37 lead at halftime. Both Guards in Riley Collins from Lacey, New Jersey and Darius Reiter from Littleton, Colorado had 9 points each for the visitors by the break.
The Mustangs continued to press offensively in the second half, outscoring Drew 26-15 in the 3rd quarter to take a 70-52 lead. After great quarters from Eriq Jenkins and Omar Shiddo, Marko Kovac would lead the team with 6 points in the frame. A layup from the former hometown Windsor Lancer Kovac in the 4th would push the lead to 20 points 75-55 with 7 minutes left in the game. This allowed Head Coach Brad Campbell to empty his bench and his team responded with six different scorers in the final quarter, including newcomer Aaron Tennant and Ukasha Khan. The Mustangs would pull out the 92-69 win, led by Eriq Jenkins with a game-high 19 points. While one of the newer Rangers Jake Tarabokija out of Newton High School had an impressive 12 points in the second half in the loss.
The two teams exited the court at roughly 6pm Saturday evening, knowing that they’ll see each other again in 16 hours. With the last game of a three game weekend for the Mustangs taking place tomorrow at Alumni Hall with an early 10am tipoff against the same Drew Rangers.