Mustangs host Regis in home finale
WNMU will be playing for pride and their lone Senior tonight as the Regis University Rangers visit Silver City. Both teams are coming off of losses as WNMU fell to Metro State and RU fell to NM Highlands in RMAC action last night. Regis got off to a good start this season winning three of their first four games but since then they have seen the win column only twice. Ironically their losing streak started when WNMU defeated the Rangers in Denver on December 2nd, 80-56. That was also Western’s only road win of the season. Sadly, had WNMU been as good on the road this year as they were last year, the Mustangs would be in the playoffs; WNMU won 4 games on the road last season.
Coach Lonnie Porter’s teams always play hard and despite the losses they have been very close in several games, usually playing very well against the best teams. Just last weekend RU lost by 4 to Nebraska Kearney and 8 to Chadron State, both teams making post season appearances. #6 Mines only beat Regis by 9 the weekend prior so the Mustangs had better bring their best game on Senior Night; Regis will be hustling to get a win.
The Rangers have four players providing the scoring for Coach Porter and have had 6 different leading scorers in their last 10 games. Western’s defense will be tested by the balanced attack led by Dionte Goodlett, 6-2 Jr. G and Demitrius Owens, 6-5 Jr. F, each averaging 11 pts a game. Goodlett does not shoot the ball very well, 36% overall and only 29% from downtown. But he does get to the basket and draw fouls, he’s gotten to the line 65 more times than any of his teammates. He hits his cheap shots 67% of the time. Owens on the other hand plays inside pounding opposing defenses on the offensive boards allowing him to be successful shooting the ball 46% of the time. He leads the team in rebounding with 8 per game.
Don’t count out Breen Weeks, the 6-3 Jr G, shoots the ball horribly, 28% from the floor, 27% from beyond the arc and 51% from the free throw line. But due to the fact that he takes more shots than anyone else, he is averaging 9 pts a game. The Mustangs might just let him shoot and guard the other four players on the floor. Chris Johansen, 6-3 Sr. G, is another solid rebounder averaging 5 boards a game, primarily on the offensive end helping him average 8 pts a contest as well. Jon Conley, 6-4 So. G, has led the team in scoring several times this season but can, like most young players, disappear at times. Conley also averages 8 per game, hitting 50% of his shots but he doesn’t shoot a lot and can be taken out of the game early.
Watch for the Mustang defense to pack it inside the paint tonight to prevent Regis from getting to the basket and getting offensive rebounds. If RU is allowed to dominate the boards as Metro State did last night, the Stangs could be in for a long night. But don’t count on it; the Mustangs are bigger, more athletic and they are likely going to play angry tonight. Especially wanting the win to honor T. J. Riley, making his last home start as a Mustang. T. J. and Chad Carter will have to get off to a fast start tonight which should be very attainable if the Mustangs will be patient and run through their offensive set rather than putting up early shots outside of the offensive flow.
I’d also expect to see a couple of highlight reel dunks, not only from Chad but from T. J. as well. T. J. burst onto the scene 3 years ago with his ability to wow the crowd with athletic and thunderous dunks. He’ll want to go out the same way and remind the crowd why we grew to love him and one of the many reasons he will be missed.