Saturday, 15 March 2008

Andy Watson's note on Western vs. Brock

Western will play Brock in CIS national semi-final at 6 p.m. on March 14
Rookie reflects: Guard Ryan Barbeau talks about the semi-final game against Brock and the experience of winning his first game at nationals OTTAWA, Ont. – The Western Mustangs will play the Brock Badgers in a rematch of the CIS semi-final on March 15 at 6 p.m.
Western, ranked No. 6, defeated the No. 3 Saint Mary’s Huskies 75-70 in the first CIS quarter-final, while the No. 7 Badgers upset the No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds 83-76 to move on. UBC and Saint Mary's will play in the consolation semi-final at 11:30 a.m.
Western defeated the Badgers twice in three meetings this season, including a 17-point win the OUA West final on March 1 in St. Catharines.
“The key to containing Brock is to hold them to bad looks from three-point range,” said rookie guard Ryan Barbeau, a defensive presence who will likely join teammate Matt Curtis in trying to contain second-team All-Canadian Brad Rootes in the game. “If you keep him (Rootes) in front of you and don’t let him penetrate or have an open look from three you can contain him.”
“We just need to limit his looks and we’ll be successful.”
For all the other scores, including the results of the Laval-Acadia and Carleton-Alberta quarter-finals later tonight, visit
Barbeau, a three-time ‘AA’ OFSAA championship winner with his dad Jim coaching at Nicholson Collegiate in Belleville, Ont., has really come into his own lately.
Playing very well defensively in all of Western’s playoff games, Barbeau has been containing the nation’s best. Meanwhile, his patented “tear-drop” shot was recently chronicled by the London Free Press’s Morris Dalla Costa.
Barbeau said the adjustment to university ball has been easier than he expected. Playing at nationals hasn’t been a tough adjustment from the regular season.
“I don’t really think there’s added pressure, we continue to play the way we’ve played all season,” Barbeau said.
He’s got the confidence of a senior player and he’s only in his first year.
Already, basketball pundits are expecting Barbeau to be the heir-apparent at the starting point guard position when Matt Curtis graduates after next season.
He’s proving already that he’s capable of the task.
His teammates were electrified when he hit a three to give Western a 13-point lead in the third quarter. He fought like a medieval knight for a loose ball with junior Saint Mary’s guard Mark McLaughlin in the fourth quarter. He earned a jump ball call that killed the Huskies’ comeback bid.
“At that point we knew we’d won. That call solidified it,” Barbeau said. “We knew we’d be moving on to the national final, and it was a great feeling.”
If Barbeau continues to contribute the way he did – he added four assists in the quarter-final win – Western will be able to open up guards Curtis (Hamilton, Ont.) and Jason Milliquet (Sarnia, Ont.) to contribute more on offence.
Head coach Bradley Campbell recently gave Barbeau accolades, but knows that he is still making the mistakes of a first-year player with untimely turnovers. He’s handling the pressure teams are starting to give him in the backcourt and gives his team an edge as a second ball-handler.
Barbeau and the Mustangs have a bright future ahead with just Adam Ruickbie and Alan Paron graduating. But they want to get a taste of national victory now and upend Brock for a shot at a national title in the championship at 3:30 p.m. on March 16.
Watch Barbeau and the Mustangs LIVE on The Score on March 15 at 6 p.m. in their semi-final against the Brock Badgers.

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