Mustangs bury Badgers with early flurry

Corey Stanford, GAZETTE

Looking to build off an important win earlier in the week against the Guelph Griffons, the Mustangs started the game with unrivaled intensity.

“In pregame Brad [Campbell] told us just come out with energy and play hard,” said Western forward Charlie Drouin. “Everyone on the bench came out loud, cheering everyone on, and [we] went really hard in the first minute.”

The Mustangs controlled the ball in the paint and dominated on the boards to help them go on a twelve point run to start the game. From that point Western controlled the pace of the game, surrendering their lead only briefly in the fourth quarter when the game was tied at 57.

“I think that early lead really gave us a lot of confidence.” Mustang’s head coach Brad Campbell explained, “It gave us a bit of a buffer and kind of let us play with the lead for the rest of the game.”

Mustangs forward Peter Scholtes dominated the inside lanes, putting up 21 points and pulling down seven boards. Guard Ryan Barbeau also put up 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds of his own. The final tally showed the Mustangs pulling down 53 rebounds, with Brock grabbing only 36.

Brock’s head coach Brad Rootes also noticed how important the inside game was to the outcome of the match.

“I mean they’re a team that’s severely undersized, and that should be an area of advantage or strength for us, and they out rebounded us by almost twenty,” said Rootes.

The Badgers started the second half with a run of their own, scoring nine unanswered points and putting them back in the game. They turned up the pressure in the third quarter, switching to a full court press for the first few minutes, which resulted in some sloppy ball handling by the Mustangs. By the end of the third quarter the Badgers were back in the game, trailing only 57-54.

However, the Mustangs were able to re-establish themselves in the paint in the fourth quarter, outscoring Brock 28-7 to re-secure the lead and win.

The Badgers were without leading scorer Jameson Tipping and starting forward Mark Gibson, which showed on the scoreboard.

“Losing both Mark Gibson and Jameson Tipping makes a big difference, but there are no excuses” said Rootes, “There’s enough talent on this team that [we] can withstand losing one or two guys. We didn’t perform, [and] we didn’t deserve to win the game.”

The Mustangs needed the win to keep their playoff chances alive.

“Hopefully we can gain some momentum and get a little bit of a late push here and put some wins together to make the playoffs,” said Campbell.

“It was huge,” said Drouin in response to the importance of the victory. “We’re chasing either Guelph or Brock right now. It’s just really good momentum going forward.”

The Mustangs currently sit in seventh in the OUA West, one spot out of the playoffs, with four games remaining in the regular season.

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