The struggling Western Mustangs men’s basketball team tipped off against the Waterloo Warriors Wednesday night at Alumni Hall. Clutch shooting and strong late game defence led the Warriors to victory by a score of 75–73.
Waterloo flew out of the gate to take an early lead and caught the flat-footed Mustangs off guard, but the Mustangs were able to battle back and led after the first quarter by a score of 19–17. The Mustangs took the lead after a 9–0 run, and at one point in the second quarter led by as much as 11 points.
With a 41–34 lead into halftime, the Mustangs were led by the strong play of third-year forward Peter Scholtes and second-year forward Greg Morrow.
A strong start to the third quarter by Waterloo’s fourth-year forward Kyrie Coleman left the Mustangs scrambling to defend their lead. Coleman used his 6-7 frame exceptionally well down low, causing problems consistently for the Mustangs defence. Coleman finished the game with 22 points and a team high 60 per cent shooting average.
“He has been our leading scorer all year and he has been a great threat for us,” Warriors head coach Greg Francis said of Coleman. “The main thing for our team is that we have to learn to play off of him better.”
Western head coach Brad Campbell was given a technical foul by the referees with 43 seconds left in the third quarter. Campbell received the warning after arguing with referees over what he believed was a foul on first-year Mustang guard Elliott Dooley.
Western and Waterloo traded rushes throughout the fourth quarter. A Mustang full court press late in the game, and tight coverage man-to-man, caught Waterloo off guard to keep the score close. Western kept Waterloo scoreless for two minutes in the fourth quarter, but was unable to convert offensively. Costly turnovers by the Mustangs at mid court and down low offensively cost them the chance to pull ahead.
A drive to the net with the ball late in the quarter by Sholtes caused him to land hard and awkwardly on the floor. The forward was on the ground in pain for some time. After medical attention, Sholtes received a charging foul and left the game temporarily.
After Waterloo extended their lead to 73–70 late in the quarter, the back-to-back battle continued as Dooley made a clutch three pointer to tie the game up at 73 with just under one minute left.
With seconds left in the game, Waterloo’s guard Jaspreet Gill scored to take the lead 75–73.
Western was left the last shot of the game. Back from his injury, Sholtes received the inbound and drove to the net for a lay up, but was stripped of the ball by Coleman to end the game.
“Defensively we did a poor job in the third quarter. In the fourth, offensively we got very tight and had too many turnovers,” Coach Campbell said the next day.
The win for the Warriors was their first of the OUA season after a 0–9 start. Both the Mustangs and Warriors are now tied for last place in their division at 1–9.
Sholtes finished the game with a team-high 19 points, and shot 4–6 from three point range. Dooley came off the bench to score 14 points. Gill led the Warriors with 25 points and a team high 37 minutes played.
The Mustangs hope to bounce back from Wednesday night’s heartbreaking loss this weekend in Hamilton. The team will leave Saturday for an afternoon showdown with the McMaster Marauders.