LANGLEY, British Columbia –
The Trinity Western men's basketball team (2-0) will try to start a season with three straight wins for the first time in its CIS history when they host UBC (1-1) this weekend. Tip off for Friday's game is at 8:00 p.m., while Saturday's tilt starts at 7:00 p.m. with both games at the Langley Events Centre.



CIS Ranking: N/A
Canada West Standing: 1st (tied)
Last Week: Lethbridge 116-79 W, 98-82 W
Streak: 2 Wins
2009-10 CW Record: 9-9 (5th, Pacific)
2010 CW Playoffs: N/A
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A
TWU Lifetime vs UBC: 10-26

The Trinity Western men’s basketball team opened the season with two wins in a row for the first time since 2004 and Friday night will look to start its season with a 3-0 record for the first time in the Spartans CIS history.

After a pair of dominant road wins over Lethbridge where the Spartans put up 214 points, TWU will face a much tougher opponent this week in a UBC team that won a silver medal at last year’s CIS national championship and one that beat the Spartans in last year's season opener, 71-44, and the season finale, 90-83.

Through two Canada West games, offence has quite clearly been the Spartans strength. Trinity Western is averaging 107.0 points per game (2nd in CW), has an average margin of victory of 26.5 (1st in CW), is hitting 50.3 per cent of its field goal attempts (1st in CW) and has made 12.5 three-point shots per game (1st in CW).

The trio of Tyrell Mara (22.5 points per game, 3rd in CW), Jacob Doerksen (21.5 points per game, 4th in CW) and Tristan Smith (21.0 points per game, tied for 5th in CW) has led the way offensively for TWU. Doerksen is leading the conference in field goal percentage as he has been good on 77.3 per cent of his shots. Smith is second in CW with 8.0 assists per game and tied for first in free throw percentage as he’s 10-for-10 from the line. And Mara is leading the team in rebounds with 8.0 per game (tied for 9th in CW).

As a team, the three-point defence was a focal point in preseason but it was only marginally better as the Pronghorns shot 35.9 per cent from beyond the arc on the weekend, compared to the Spartans season average last year of 38.6.

Defensively, the Spartans allowed Lethbridge to score 80.5 points per game which will need to be improved upon if they hope to beat UBC. Trinity Western also leads the conference in steals with 10.5 per game.

Portland State transfer Kyle Coston played an average of 20.5 minutes in the first two games and collected 12.5 points per game and was 6-for-6 from the free throw line. After Coston, Lance Verhoeff (18.5/game), Tonner Jackson (17.5/game) and Calvin Westbrook (16.5/game) collected the majority of last weekend’s minutes.

CIS Ranking: N/A
Canada West Standing: 4th (tied)
Last Week: Saskatchewan 91-60 W, 97-96 L
Streak: 1 Loss
2009-10 CW Record: 17-1 (1st, Pacific Division)
2010 CW Playoffs: 3-1 (3rd)
2010 CIS Tournament: 2-1 (2nd)
Last CW Title: 2008
Last CIS Title: 1972
UBC Lifetime vs TWU: 26-10

Last year’s CIS silver medalists come to Langley after an up and down weekend where they easily beat Saskatchewan Friday but lost a one-point heartbreaker the following evening.

So, it’s likely the T-Birds will be antsy to get back on the court and forget all about the last 1:11 of the fourth quarter when the Huskies Jamelle Barrett scored eight points.

Although, despite falling to Barrett’s late-game exploits, the T-Birds will likely take solace in the fact they rallied to make it close after being down by as many as 19 points in the second half.

Once again, fifth-year UBC guard Josh Whyte – last year’s CIS player of the year – will be the catalyst for the T-Birds offence. In his first two games, Whyte averaged 20.5 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game. And, in doing so, he led the UBC offence to an average of 93.5 points per game in its first two contests.

After Whyte, the UBC offence will come from a balanced attack as six other players averaged more than eight points per game against Saskatchewan.

Brent Malish (13.5 pts/game), Nathan Yu (13.5 pts/game), Alex Murphy (10.0 pts/game), Doug Plumb (9.5 pts/game), Tommy Nixon (9.0 pts/game) and Melvyn Mayott (8.5 pts/game) have been Whyte’s supporting cast offensively. The T-Birds also had 10 players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game on the floor.

Through its first two games, UBC has shot 43.9 per cent on field goals (4th in CW) and has only allowed the opposition to shoot 36.3 per cent (1st in CW amongst active teams).

With TWU leading the conference in points from beyond the arc (75 in two games), the matchup between the Spartans deep shooters and UBC’s defenders should be intriguing as the T-Birds are tops in the conference in three-point defence, only allowing opposing shooters to make 27.3 per cent of their long-range shots.

The T-Birds are second in the conference with 7.0 blocks per game (TWU has 1.5/game), with Balraj Bains leading with six blocks on the year.



Last Updated: 2010-10-27
Author: Mark Janzen