Gil Cheung is aware of the significance of Saturday night's win, but more for the confidence of his basketball team than for any notch in a personal record book.
The 30-year-old first-year Brandon University men's coach scored his first victory Saturday night when the Bobcats clamped down on the Queen's Golden Gaels and posted a 70-56 win in the final game of the three-day Graham Construction Shootout in Saskatoon.
"It's exciting and things but at the same time you don't think about it 'til after, you think how it was good for our guys," Cheung said. "It was good for our guys to kinda get on a roll a bit and finally get a win. But for myself, it was exciting because it's a storied program and it's my first CIS win as a head coach."
The Bobcats were bombed 93-60 by the defending national champion Saskatchewan Huskies in their pre-season opener on Thursday and lost 73-61 to the Calgary Dinos, last year's Canada West conference runners-up, on Friday.
But Cheung believes his team improved game by game, evidenced by his team's defensive effort against Queen's, which finished with a .500 record in the very competitive OUA East Division last season.
"I think the biggest thing for us was not only playing the game but having the video -- a lot of the guys on our team are visual learners and whatever you showed them on tape they were able to adjust to the next day and make those adjustments on the floor," Cheung said. "... We slowly got better and I think we're starting to trust each other on the defensive end and buy into the system of what we're trying to do on that end."
Now the focus is on amassing more victories, starting this weekend with the conference openers at home against the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack. Cheung will coach against TRU's Scott Clark, who is in his first year as head coach of the Wolfpack after moving over from Simon Fraser, where he had Chueng on his staff for two years.
"We're both trying to find out who we are as a team," Cheung said. "The big thing that we have to focus on is rebounding and defending their Princeton (offence) action and hopefully continue to develop a bit of a flow on our offensive end."
Fourth-year senior guard Nathan Grant left Saturday's game after the elbow from teammate Jordan Reaves hit him in the face. Grant will have dental surgery and be fitted for a mouthpiece but Cheung believes he'll be ready to play this weekend. Cheung lauded the play of freshman Jimi Falana who played 22 minutes in relief of Grant and had nine points and four assists.
The men's team tips at 8 o'clock both Friday and Saturday night with Jaime Taggart's women's team starting things off both nights with 6 p.m. tip times.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 18, 2010 B1