WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEN’S BASKETBALL SEEKS NATIONAL TITLE IN FIRST FINAL 8 APPEARANCE
LANGLEY, British Columbia – For the first time in Trinity Western’s athletic history, the men’s basketball team will be competing at the CIS national championships as they were awarded the wild card berth after winning the Canada West bronze medal.
BY THE NUMBERS
Head Coach: Scott Allen (3rd season)
Regular season record: 21-3
Regular season standing: 2nd Canada West
Playoff record: 3-2
Playoff finish: Canada West bronze medallists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 25-5
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 1-4 (0-2 vs. UBC, 1-2 vs. Saskatchewan)
Final Top 10 ranking (March 1): No. 4
Best Top 10 ranking (14 weeks): No. 4 (6 weeks: Last 6 polls)
Number of weeks in Top 10 (14 weeks): 14
Conference award winners: Tyrell Mara (student-athlete – community service)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Jacob Doerksen (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: No all-rookie team in Canada West
Team leader (points per game): Jacob Doerksen (21.6)
Team leader (rebounds per game): Tyrell Mara (8.9)
Team leader (assists per game): Tristan Smith (4.4)
CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 1st
CIS championship all-time record: 0-0
CIS championship best result: First appearance
CIS championship last appearance: First appearance
CIS championship sequence: First appearance (joined CIS in 1999-2000)
The Spartans, who knocked off Alberta 82-74 to win bronze, will enter the tournament in Halifax as the No. 5 seed and face the No. 4 seeded Lakehead Thunderwolves, who come in as the OUA champions after upsetting No. 1 ranked Carlton 77-62 in the conference title game.
For Trinity Western, it was a stressful Sunday following the Canada West Final Four as the Spartans were forced to wait until late-afternoon before they officially heard word that indeed they would be granted the wild card spot.
But, while only a year removed from missing the playoffs all together, it should come as no big surprise that the Langley, B.C. based school received the final entry as the Spartans were ranked in each of the 13 weekly national coaches’ polls this year and have been ranked amongst the top five in the CIS since the December break.
The Spartans finished the regular season second in Canada West with a 21-3 record but got an early scare in the playoffs as they lost Game 1 of their best-of-three conference quarter-final series with Fraser Valley by a score of 81-80. But after that, the Spartans got right back in the win column with an 86-69 victory the following night and then took Game 3 89-75 to secure a spot in the Canada West Final Four for just the third time in school history.
From there, Trinity Western lost to Saskatchewan 80-78 in a heartbreaking semifinal in which the Huskies scored with one second left to complete a comeback that saw them trailing 77-67 with less than five minutes to play. The Spartans bounced back with an 82-74 win over Alberta in the bronze medal game to bolster their resume for the wild card selection process. Trinity Western has now won the CW bronze in each of their three appearances as the Final Four.
In just his third year as the Spartans bench boss, Scott Allen has taken a Trinity Western team that was 4-19 when he arrived and developed them into a Canada West threat and a national title contender.
And Allen’s squad has got to this point with a high-octane offence and one that is largely triggered by arguably the best rebounding team in the country.
In the regular season, the Spartans averaged 94.4 points per game (3rd in Canada West) and a conference-leading rebounding margin of +14.5 boards per game, which included TWU collecting an average of 44.9 rebounds per outing.
After last year, when TWU was statistically the worst team in Canada West in defending the 3-point shot, Trinity Western has done a complete turnaround as they finished the season atop the conference in 3-point defence, only allowing the opposition to make 31.9 per cent of their long-distance attempts. The Spartans have also only allowed their opponents to hit 40.0 per cent of their field goals (1st in CW) and have held teams to 75.4 points per game (4th in CW).
Leading the Spartans all year, and really for the past three years, has been five-time Canada West All-Star Jacob Doerksen, who averaged 21.6 points per game in the regular season (3rd in CW), 7.8 rebounds per game (8th in CW) and shot 62.1 per cent from the field (2nd in CW). In the playoff Doerksen has averaged 27.6 points per game (1st in CW) and with 1800 career points is just 69 points shy of setting the Spartans career record for points, currently held by Adam Friesen.
After Doerksen, the supporting cast is also quite strong. Led by the ferocious Tyrell Mara, who had 8.9 rebounds per game in the regular season (5th in CW) and 10.7 points per game, and the sharp-shooting Calvin Westbrook whose 14.3 points per game was second on the team, the Spartans are well-stocked with talent.
Spartans point guard Tristan Smith averaged 4.4 assists per game and 10.9 points per game while guard turned forward Kyle Coston averaged 10.1 points per game. Daniel Horner, who spells Smith at times, led the conference in 3-point shooting percentage, hitting 46.3 per cent of his beyond the arc shots.
The closest the Spartans have ever got to the national tournament was in 2009 when they won Canada West bronze but were bested by StFX for the wild card spot.
After the Spartans men’s volleyball team claimed CIS Gold this past weekend, Trinity Western is looking to become just the second school in CIS history to win both men’s volleyball and basketball national championships in the same year. The only school to have accomplished this feat is Alberta who captured both titles in 2002.
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times ATLANTIC TIME)
Friday, March 11
13:00 Quarter-final #1: No. 8 Acadia vs. No. 1 UBC (SSN Canada webcast)
15:15 Quarter-final #2: No. 5 Trinity Western vs. No. 4 Lakehead (SSN Canada webcast)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: No. 6 Dalhousie vs. No. 3 Saskatchewan (Live on TSN2)
20:15 Quarter-final #4: No. 7 Concordia vs. No. 2 Carleton (Live on TSN2)
Saturday, March 12
12:00 Consolation #1: Loser QF #1 vs. Loser QF #2
14:15 Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4
17:00 Semifinal #1: Winner QF #1 vs. Winner QF #2 (TSN2 - tape delayed to 20:00 AST)
20:00 Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (TSN2 – tape delayed to 22:00 AST)
Sunday, March 13
10:30 Consolation final (5th place)
13:15 Bronze medal game (SSN Canada webcast)
17:00 Championship final (TSN2 – tape delayed to 19:00 AST)
Last Updated: 2011-03-09