LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team will look to turn its season around this weekend as they hope to start anew after struggling to a 2-6 record in the fall semester.

Spartans 6-foot-11 centre Lucas Nugteren will be in the starting lineup for the first time at home this weekend as he will make his formal Langley Events Centre debut after battling a knee injury for the last year and a half.

Tip-off Friday is at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Both games will be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv

Last Weekend:  Alberta 87-77 L, Saskatchewan 98-73 L
2011 CIS Rank: N/A
2010-2011: CW Record: 21-3
2010-2011: CW Tournament: 3-2, 3rd
2010-2011: CIS Tournament: 2-1, 2nd

The Trinity Western men’s basketball team comes into this weekend knowing that its season is getting to the point of do or die when it comes to battling for a playoff position in what has become a daunting West division. But while the Spartans have certainly struggled in their first eight games of the season, compiling a 2-6 record thus far, last year’s CIS silver medalists do enter this weekend just one game out of a potential wild card playoff berth.

And thus, the results of this weekend’s games, against two of the teams the Spartans could possibly be battling with down the stretch for that eighth spot, will no doubt go a long way to determining if Trinity Western will be a playoff team.

The one thing favouring Trinity Western is its schedule. In the first half of the season, the Spartans played, statistically speaking, the top five teams in Canada West. So, theoretically, the Spartans should have as good of a chance as anyone to make a late season run.

Through eight games, the Spartans are averaging 77.8 point for per game (10th in CW) and 89.5 points against per game (13th in CW). Despite their early season woes, however, the silver lining has been the Spartans field goal percentage, which is fourth best in the conference at .464. Unfortunately for the Spartans they haven’t been able to capitalize on that fourth best ranking because they have been allowing the opposition to hit a league high .523 per cent of its field goal attempts.

Kyle Coston is currently leading the offence, averaging 18.0 points per game (9th in CW), while Sean Peter is second with 16.0 points per game (12th in CW).

Last Weekend: UBC 90-80 W, Victoria 90-59 L
2011 CIS Rank: N/A
2010-2011: CW Record: 7-16
2010-2011: CW Tournament: N/A
2010-2011: CIS Tournament: N/A

The Pronghorns are coming off an up and down weekend that saw them close out the fall semester with a 90-80 upset of the now No. 7 ranked UBC Thunderbirds before dropping a 31-point decision to No. 5 ranked Victoria the following night.

With a .500 record going into the final 10 games of the season, Lethbridge has put itself in a position to make a run at a return to the post-season after falling short last year.

So far this year, the Pronghorns have largely been involved in low-scoring contests. While they are only averaging 76.9 (11th in CW), they are also only allowing 77.9 (6th in CW). But despite the low-scoring on both ends of the court, when Lethbridge wins, they typically win by scoring by the boatload. In three of their four wins, they have scored 88 points or more while in their four losses, the Pronghorns have only once gone over 70 points. So if you add that all up, if Friday’s game becomes a shooting gallery, the Pronghorns will be just fine with that.  

Also, Lethbridge is averaging 11.8 steals per game (2nd in CW) and against a team in Trinity Western that turns the ball over on 21.4 times per game (3rd most in CW), the Pronghorns could be very dangerous.

Lethbridge is led offensively by Darryl Cooper, who averages 14.3 points per game (17th in CW) and Dominyc Coward, who averages 13.6 points per game (21st in CW).

Last Weekend: Victora 75-63 L, UBC 92-85 W
2011 CIS Rank: N/A
2010-2011: CW Record: 7-16
2010-2011: CW Tournament: N/A
2010-2011: CIS Tournament: N/A

Like the Pronghorns, the Calgary Dinos are also coming off a see-saw weekend in which they beat UBC but then lost to Victoria, although they only lost to the No. 5 ranked Vikes by 13 points.

And, to make the weekend even more impressive, they put together that kind of effort without three of their top players as Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (hand), Matt Letkeman (illness) and Boris Bakovic (knee) were all out with injuries, as they have been for much of the season. While Ogungbemi-Jackson will not be in the Dinos lineup when they tip off at the Langley Events Centre, there’s a possibility both Letkeman and Bakovic will be and if that’s the case, Calgary will be a team much better than its 3-5 record would portray.

Bakovic, who played with Team Canada at this year’s Pan Am Games, hasn’t played a game all year but if he’s able to return, it would be a huge boon for Calgary. The same can be said for Letkeman, who has only played in two games this year.

Despite the bevy of injuries the Dinos have dealth with all year, they are still averaging 81.1 points per game (7th in CW) while giving up just 79.1 points per game (7th in CW). Defensively they are only allowing the opposition to hit .406 per cent of its shots (3rd in CW) and only .304 of its 3-point attempts (2nd in CW).

Carrying the offensive load has been Tyler Fidler, who is averaging 16.5 points per game (11th in CW), and Josh Wolfram, who has 13.0 points per game (tied with TWU’s Calvin Westbrook for 25th in CW).


Last Updated: 2012-01-06
Author: Mark Janzen