The last time the Western men’s basketball team lost to the Waterloo Warriors was two seasons ago. A much younger-looking Mustangs team got off to a competitive start — trailing 41–39 after the first half of play — before falling apart to a Waterloo team that was able to shoot the three ball at 50 per cent completion and convert 8–11 from the free throw line in the second half.
However, the Warriors faced a much different Mustangs squad this time around, as Western routed Waterloo 95–81 en route to their sixth straight win.
Omar Shiddo came out of the gates with a shoot-first mentality, and was able to get the Mustangs going offensively, hitting his first three attempts from beyond the arc.
Omar Shiddo hits a 3!!Western 5 Guelph 14| 1Q 4:30 pic.twitter.com/chsJK5nOsm— Western Basketball (@Mustangs_Bball) January 20, 2019
Eriq Jenkins provided the Mustangs with a strong defensive presence. Jenkins was able to force multiple turnovers in the first half with a steal and drawn foul on a charging call that looked to have injured Warriors point guard Simon Petrov, who ended up playing 17 minutes and laid a goose egg in the points column.
Freshman Aaron Tennant spoke highly of Jenkins and his defensive performances of late.
"[Jenkins] is the type of guy that will do everything and anything to put the team in a position to be successful," Tennant explained. "You can feel the change in energy every time he steps on the floor, putting in 100 per cent effort until the final buzzer and setting the same standard for the rest of the squad."
Waterloo's Nedim Hodzic was able to get under the skin of the Mustangs, as his tough penetration play brought him into a lot of contact, sending him to the line. Hodzic registered 22 points, 10 rebounds and drew five fouls on the night.
The Mustangs shot lights out from the field, shooting 17–34 in the first half, giving them a 49–32 lead.
But Western's poor shot selection and defensive woes allowed Waterloo to score 49 points in the second half, leaving Mustangs head coach Brad Campbell disappointed.
"We let down a bit and didn't put the effort in necessary defensively," Campbell said.
On Saturday, the Mustangs hosted the Guelph Gryphons at Alumni Hall. Twenty-five seconds into the game, Shiddo nailed a three-pointer off a Julian Walker rebound and pop-out, which looked to set the tone for Western. However, the Gryphons responded with 14 unanswered points.
The Mustangs extinguished the large Gryphons lead with a run that was capped off by the 6:27 mark of the second quarter with an Aryan Sharma take to the hoop, giving the Mustangs their first lead of the game.
The Mustangs kept their lead throughout the game, winning the game 72–53 for their seventh straight victory. Shiddo was able to help from the perimeter, going 4–6 from three and posting 19 points on the night. Shiddo and the Mustangs head to Thunder Bay next weekend to take on the Lakehead Thunderwolves.