Western (1-0) 72, Laval (1-3) 66… Mustangs overcame a 6 point fourth-quarter deficit, generally slowing down and sometimes confusing Rouge et Or with 1-2-2 three-quarter court pressure and getting a strong second half from 6’1″ freshman Omar Shiddo to win their first game at the House-Laughton tournament at Carleton. In what was an exciting game between two athletic teams, Shiddo, 6’0″ LeMoyne College transfer Eriq Jenkins and 6’1″ Alex Coote led a Mustang run and Western stiffened defensively, taking a couple of big charges and, frankly, were the beneficiaries of a couple of late calls that got them to the free throw line. Shiddo finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists while Coote added 13 in the win.
Laval played without two important cogs in 6’0″ Vladimir Thomas (knee), probably their most explosive perimeter scorer and shooter, and 6’5″ Daniel Mutanda out with leg injury. Western is a much deeper group than last season that plays with energy defensively and has a much more diverse set of offensive options including Shiddo and Jenkins, both of who give Coach Brad Campbell terrific end-of-the-clock play making ability. Both had terrific, acrobatic takes to the glass late in the game tonight. The return of 6’5″ Cam Morris also is instrumental as he can stretch the “d”. After a subpar sophomore season, 6’3″ Jedson Tavernier is being counted on to provide experience and he knocked down a pair of 3’s as part of his 12 point effort.
There were several above the rim, athletic plays including a difficult but crazy put-back dunk by 6’4″ Frantson Demosthene that just beat the first half buzzer, allowing Laval to lead by 3. Rouge et Or also can go big with a very good rim protector in 6’10” Marc-Andre Fortin, who also had a pair of slams off of nice draw and feeds. Fortin has a chance to be a difference maker at both ends in the RSEQ. Rouge et Or get Carleton tomorrow while Western meets Victoria, who stayed in the game for much of the first half tonight against the Ravens.