Taking on an opponent from south of the border, Tuesday night’s basketball exhibition game proved that this young Mustangs squad has a lot to learn.
Held at Alumni Hall, the Mustangs welcomed visiting Wittenberg University hailing from Springfield, Ohio. With mixed results against other teams from Canadian Interuniversity Athletics, the Wittenberg Tigers looked to take advantage of the Mustangs’ inexperience.
Dominated to the tune of 83-51, the young Mustangs squad will use this as a chance to improve and gain experience.
“The loss of veteran players has certainly had a great effect on the team in terms of leadership and playing, were going to continue to work our plan and mature the players, we need to be more mentally prepared collectively as a team,” Brad Campbell, Mustangs head coach, said.
The Mustangs are going to have a difficult upcoming season. Making up for the loss of key players—particularly Andrew Wedemire who has signed a contract with the Glasgow Rocks, Scotland’s only professional basketball team—will be instrumental to the Mustangs success.
The exhibition games help them prepare for what could be a steep learning curve throughout the season. Despite the loss to Wittenberg, the opportunity to play high calibre NCAA teams and learn from their style of play has been beneficial to the Mustangs.
Wittenberg Tigers head coach Bill Brown, a veteran who has been coaching the Tigers for many years, fundraised so that their team could have this fantastic opportunity. The Tigers played with discipline and capitalized on the many turnovers the Mustangs gave up.
“This is our first experience playing in Canada, the 24 second shot clock definitely changed the play of the game, we had to increase the pace of our offence and it really put the pressure on the defence,” Coach Brown said.
In terms of physicality the Tigers had the upper hand, with three starters averaging 6 feet 5 inches. An intimidating presence of the hardwood, the Tigers dominated the Mustangs with a bruising style of play that differed greatly from what they saw from the Canadian teams.
“It took us a couple of games but we had to adjust to the higher tempo and we had more success,” Alex Brandt, Tigers captain, said. ”It’s nice to play here with an audience and the facilities coming from a smaller school, although I do prefer the longer time in the American game with the 35 second shot clock—it’s a slower game with more time to have the ball inside.”
The Mustangs look forward to maturing as a team, with a tournament this weekend at Laurentian University providing much needed experience for the young squad.