The Canadian Mennonite University Blazers currently sit atop the MCAC men’s basketball standings with a perfect 7-0 record. On Friday, January 22, the Blazers surprised many by dressing only six players for their home court matchup with the then second-placed Providence College Freemen. It was a good thing for CMU that veteran Paul Muns was one of the Blazers that did suit up.
A towering 6’3” guard by MCAC standards, Muns had a career outing for the short-benched Blazers on Friday night. He racked up an impressive 24 points and four three-pointers in the first half alone, finishing the game with regular-season bests of 32 points and 17 rebounds in their 64-59 victory.
“We had to play a zone as we were really short on bodies,” said Muns of their defensive scheme. “ (Coach) looked to me to score a little bit, especially after Kevin (Quirante) had a couple early fouls. I think our team was looking to me once I made a couple of shots, just to keep putting them up there until the well went dry.”
The Blazers have been battling the injury bug in January in a huge way, and are working hard to keep their perfect record. Head coach Darcy Coss was more than pleased with Muns’ ability to step-up and lead his team when so many of his key players were ailing.
“We missed Enoch (Nazaire) a lot, and his energy and athleticism,” said Coss. “We missed Spencer (Harrison) because he does a lot of the dirty work. And we obviously missed Alex (Leaver) and he’ll be out most of the season.”
In regards to the upcoming home-and-home series with arch rival Red River College on January 29 and February 6, Coss assured his squad would be recovered.
“We should be back to full power by then, except for Leaver. (Dave) Isbister is recovering from a broken hand as well. He’ll be back.”
An amazing fact is that Muns, who normally plays a perimeter game, totaled a career-high 17 boards in the absence of many Blazer forwards.
“I was surprised to have 17 as well because during the game you’re just thinking play by play. I was pretty exhausted for most of it, so it was quite a blur.”
“It’s hard without Enoch and Alex, Dave and Dane (Cameron), Spencer and all those guys,” added Muns. “They were all just dropping like flies. We’re excited to get them back.”
Muns showed anticipation on his face when speaking about the upcoming home-and-home series with the defending MCAC champion Rebels. The first game tips-off at 8:00 p.m. at CMU on Friday night.
By Darrin Bauming
Photo by Philip Navoa