GUELPH, Ont. – Ryan Barbeau hit a clutch three-pointer and scored another from the free-throw line, and Andy Wedemire made a thrilling block in the final seconds to lift Western’s men’s basketball team to a 68-65 win over the host Gryphons at the W.F. Mitchell Athletic Centre on Jan. 13.
The Mustangs improve to 7-4 with the win, moving into a tie for third place in the OUA West, while Guelph falls to 3-8, putting their playoff hopes into jeopardy.
Wedemire (Sarnia, Ont.) led the Mustangs with 22 points, while Barbeau (Belleville, Ont.) added 20. Garrett Olexiuk (Burlington, Ont.) added nine points in a game which saw a lot of physical play, particularly in the post for Olexiuk and fellow forwards.
“We played probably our worst basketball of the year tonight in the first half,” said Western’s men’s basketball head coach Brad Campbell. “We battled alot more in the second half and that was the difference. Clutch three pointers by Garrett and Ryan late in the game lead us to victory. ”
The host Gryphons led 6-0 before Wedemire scored the Mustangs first points from the charity stripe. Guelph extended their lead to 9-2, and just when it seemed it could not get worse for Western, forward David Harder (Copenhagen, Denmark) took a bruising elbow to the nose and was forced to leave the game.
Minutes later, in a moment which left both teams anxious, Guelph senior Jay Mott, who had just returned to lineup after concussion problems, and Wedemire collided with both players on the ground and needing assistance from their respective training staffs.
Brett Lawrence (Welland, Ont.) hit a three at the first-quarter buzzer to tie the game at 17, capping an 11-0 Western run.
The Mustangs fell behind by eight points to start the second quarter and played from behind for much of the game.
Guelph continued to lead 35-27 at the half, despite Wedemire’s game-best 11 points in limited playing time in the first half.
The Mustangs opened up the third quarter on a 21-7 run but Michael Petrella (Brantford, Ont.) and Dan McCarthy (Guelph, Ont.) nailed back-to-back threes with two minutes left in the period to tie it at 48.
Western led 53-51 after three quarters.
Trailing 62-60 with two and a half minutes remaining, Western’s shooting woes continued, with three misses on one possession and struggles at the free-throw line.
Jason Milliquet (Sarnia, Ont.) tied the game with just over 1:30 left, as Guelph’s Adam Bering (Tecumseh, Ont.) could not get close with four personal fouls.
Jonathan Moscatelli (Toronto) hit two of his team-high 19 points to give Guelph the lead again at 64-62 with just a minute left, but Barbeau’s trey gave Western a 65-64 lead with 37 seconds, forcing the Gryphons to take their final timeout.
McCarthy was blocked by Wedemire as Guelph had a set play to isolate the forward. However, Wedemire had good position and timed the extension of his arms perfectly to make the stop.
Guelph was forced to foul, and Barbeau scored one of his free-throws to make it a two-point game.
With 20 seconds left, Guelph surged up the court, and Wedemire looked to have made another key block, this time on Petrella, but he was deemed to have made contact. Petrella scored one at the line to pull Guelph within one point, trailing 66-65.
Milliquet was fouled on the inbounds after a Western timeout and scored both of his free-throw attempts, extending the lead to three points at 68-65
Petrella missed a three-point attempt, contested by two Western defenders, at the buzzer.
Western’s next home game is on Saturday Jan. 16 against the Brock Badgers at 3 p.m. at Alumni Hall.