Mustangs Battle Brock Atop OUA West
Western Mustangs Men's BasketballGreg Campbell
Let these words sink in.
The Western Mustangs men’s basketball team sits atop the OUA West Division standings. Ok, now back to reality.
Sitting tied atop the OUA West with division rival Laurier with an identical 8-4 record, Western technically sits in second thanks to a 70-63 loss to the hands of those same Golden Hawks back on October 27th.
The good news? The men’s squad finally showed it can respond in big time situations.
If you had to ask Brad Campbell deep down, you couldn’t script a better start to the 2019 calendar year.
In a battle for first place at Alumni Hall this past Saturday afternoon, Campbell’s Mustangs answered for the call.
Omar Shiddo hit the go-ahead three-point shot with just over 10 seconds remaining, and the Mustangs eked their way to a 80—75 victory.
The third-year guard had a game high 24 points off an efficient 9 of 17 shooting performance, including four of seven from the land beyond.
Shiddo may have hit the game winner, but it was front court teammate Julian Walker who was the unsung hero of this contest. The second-year product from Barrie Ontario came up with a number of clutch rebounds leading to second chance opportunities, finished with 21 points and five rebounds.
In the past, it would have been a concern for Campbell and co. if seniors veterans such as Alex Coote and Marko Kovac combined for only 14 points on 5 of 19 shooting, but the depth of this edition of the men’s squad is starting to show its true colours.
First-year Mustang Aryan Sharma had 10 points in 11 minutes of court action,, while fellow youngster Aaron Tennant may have only registered four points and three bounds in 11 minutes of action, but visibly shifted the momentum of the game during his time on the court.
Meanwhile for the Badgers, their rally in the fourth quarter came up just short. Despite outscoring the Mustangs 28-19 in the third quarter, they simply ran out of time.
Three Brock starters finished in double digits in scoring, with the team’s leading scorer, Johneil Simpson, leading the way with 18 points and eight rebounds. Kascius Small Martin had 16 points and six rebounds, while Daniel Cayer finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five steals.
The Badgers came into the contest leading the conference in three-point percentage at close to 40 percent, but Saturday afternoon, it was not in the cards, finishing as a team 6 of 24 from the field, only 25 percent.
The Badgers woes at the charity stripe came back to haunt them as well. Coming into Saturday’s contest, they sat 12th in the OUA in that statical department, and in the contest shot only 55 percent from the line.
On the flip side, Brad Campbell’s squad played well above its’ seasonal averages. Western shot 47 percent from the field, up from its’ 39 percent regular season average, and 37 percent from beyond the arc, up eight points.
Despite getting out rebounded and turning over the ball on five more occasions than the visitors, the Mustangs bench outscored that of the Badgers 16-10.
The Mustangs will be back at Alumni Hall Friday and Saturday night, where they will host the Algoma Thunderbirds for a pair of contests, both with an 8pm tip-off.