Excuses don't cut it any more

John
John Browne
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MUN MEN'S BASKETBALL

Everyone knows Memorial Sea-Hawks men's basketball team is young and inexperienced, but coach Peter Benoite says it's time to move on.

The rookie Sea-Hawks head coach feels the new year should bring a fresh perspective and approach, and his players need to concentrate on the job at hand.

Everyone knows Memorial Sea-Hawks men's basketball team is young and inexperienced, but coach Peter Benoite says it's time to move on.

The rookie Sea-Hawks head coach feels the new year should bring a fresh perspective and approach, and his players need to concentrate on the job at hand.

"I'm anticipating we'll be more consistent this half (of the season)," said Benoite, who doesn't want to hear anymore excuses because the players are inexperienced.

"That was over with at Christmas," the MUN coach said. "The guys need to learn how to compete game in and game out We've got some experience now, so I won't be accepting being so up and down.

"As well," he said, "players need to learn that when some guys are off, other guys need to step up. That hasn't been happening in the games we've played poorly. Seems like if someone is having a bad day, everybody catches that bug."

He said It works the other way if everyone is playing well.

"That comes with experience of course," said Benoite, "but I feel we've proven that inexperience is not an excuse for us any more."

Memorial (2-4) begins the new year on the road against Cape Breton Capers (4-2) in Atlantic universities play.

While the Sea-Hawks are not underestimating the Capers, Benoite says "good things can happen" if his team plays up to its potential this weekend.

"Cape Breton has been winning games, but they haven't been dominating teams," Benoite pointed out. "If we show up the way we can, some good things can happen for us."

Cape Breton lost 74-63 to Dalhousie Tigers, a team the Sea-Hawks have beaten and fell by one point to Saint Mary's Huskies, while beating University of Prince Edward Island by seven points in one game and by 15 in another. The Capers also picking up wins over Acadia and University of New Brunswick.

"Our schedule is pretty tough to start this half of the season," said Benoite, "with two on the road in Cape Breton this weekend, then St. Francis (6-0) at home, who have been playing extremely well.

"Those games won't be easy, but if we come ready to play, I feel we can compete with anyone. After that, we just got to take care of how we play."

St. Francis Xavier is ranked No. 2 in the country, while Dalhousie is ranked 10th. Cape Breton isn't in the top 10 ranking, although the team received 13 votes in the most recent poll.

The Sea-Hawks, meanwhile, lost last Saturday to the MUN alumni team, but that was no dishonor, said Benoite, considering the calibre of former MUN players.

"Our alumni team is pretty good. I think any AUS team would have a tough time with them," he added about an alumni roster that included Justin Halleran, Colin and Curtis Power, John Devereaux, Matt Chapman, Greg Winter and Evan Constantine.

"The alumni match allowed us to get back into game mode," said Benoite. "It came after a hard week of work for us and I just wanted us to get back into that game mindset.

"I was a little disappointed by our effort for the first half of the game, but we came around the second half and started to play better. However, I did play everybody and its always tough as a player to get into a rhythm when that happens so not all that unexpected."

Meanwhile, everyone, with the exception of Jeremy Somerton, is back for the new year. Benoite says Somerton, a six-foot-six rookie centre from St. Phillip's, has decided, "to take a step back from the program this semester for personal reasons."

jbrowne@thetelegram

Organizations: Sea-Hawks, University of Prince Edward Island, Acadia and University of New Brunswick

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Saint Mary

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