MEN'S BASKETBALL TAKES ON VISITING ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN

Mark Perrin

MEN’S BASKETBALL (CANADA WEST)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
WEEKEND PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEN'S BASKETBALL TAKES ON VISITING ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team (3-7)  will look for its first home win of the season this weekend as it takes on the No. 6 Alberta Golden Bears (9-1) Friday and the Saskatchewan Huskies (6-4) Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Tip-off both nights is at 8 p.m. and both games will be streamed live at www.canadawest.tv.

The Spartans are 0-4 at home this year after losing to current No. 2 UBC on back-to-back nights to open the season, and to Winnipeg and Manitoba three weeks later. It is on the road where they have found most of their success thus far, defeating UNBC, Victoria and Regina.

Last year, the Spartans travelled to Alberta and Saskatchewan in late-November where they suffered consecutive defeats, losing 87-77 and 98-73 respectively.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (3-7)
CIS ranking: NR
Pacific Division position: 6th
Last Weekend: Regina 69-88 L, Brandon 75-73 W
Streak: 1 win
2011-12 Pacific Division record: 10-8 (4th)
2012 playoffs: 0-2 (5th - tied)
2012 CIS tournament: N/A

Fresh off of a Christmas break which saw the team come away with a 2-2 record against four California-based teams, this weekend, the Spartans will look to take their first steps in regaining a winning record.  

If the Spartans are to make a late season push, they will have to look to a number of players. After a first semester tainted by injuries, the team will need players such as Eli Mara (Surrey, B.C.), Tonner Jackson (Surrey), and Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) to stay healthy and be big-time contributors. Mix those three in with a stable core of athletes including Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.), Mark Perrin (Toronto), Kurtis Osborne (Tsawwassen, B.C.), and Micah Cockrill (Chilliwack, B.C.), and this team has potential to make some noise in the Canada West conference this spring. The team will also benefit from the mid-season addition of veteran guard Josh Parker (Spokane, Wash.).

But getting back into the winners column will be a challenge this weekend as the Golden Bears are currently ranked seventh in the CIS and the Huskies are perennially a formidable foe.

Leading the way for the Spartans this year has been Perrin, who is currently second in Canada West in scoring with 21.2 points per game. Perrin also leads the team with 7.1 rebounds per game (tied for 17th in CW), 3.0 steals per game (1st), and 3-point shots made, with 2.0 per game (tied for 13th). Osborne leads the team in field goal percentage, at 50.6 per cent (13th).

The key to victory for this run and gun Spartan team is in the collective. They will need to be a full team effort if they are to knock off their Prairie-based opposition.
 
As a team, the Spartans are averaging 75.4 points per game (10th in CW), while allowing 83.3 points per game (14th). Through the first semester, the Spartans hold a field goal percentage of 39.6 (tied for 13th) while allowing the opposition to shoot 46.9 per cent from the field (16th). The speed of the Spartans has allowed them to average 12.0 steals per game (1st), which has given them a turnover margin of +3.70 (2nd) through their first 10 games.

The Spartans will look to get for their first win against a top 10 team this season when they take on Alberta Friday night.

ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS (9-1)
CIS ranking: No. 6
Prairie Division position: 1st
Last Weekend: UNBC 78-74 W, Mount Royal 81-70 W
Streak: 6 wins
2011-12 Prairie Division record: 14-6 (2nd)
2012 playoffs: 4-0 (1st)
2012 CIS tournament: 2-1 (2nd)

The Alberta Golden Bears are a focused squad this year, with sights on nothing less than CIS gold.
Last year, following a remarkable Canada West playoff run, the Bears strung together two more wins at the national championship and found themselves playing the always dangerous Carleton Ravens for gold. Falling just short of university glory, the Golden Bears took home a bittersweet silver medal.

And it is this bittersweet taste that seems to have fueled the 2012-2013 Bears thus far.

The Bears return key players Jordan Baker and Robert Dewar and will look to them to lead the way. Baker leads his team with 18.2 points per game (7th in CW), while also grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game (16th). Rounding out his game, he leads Alberta with 4.2 assists per game (9th), and 2.8 steals per game (tied for 2nd).

Guard Kenneth Otieno leads the team in 3-point field goal percentage at 41.0 per cent (13th), and overall field goal percentage, shooting 50.8 per cent (12th).

Alberta has been successful thus far by performing well on the defensive end. As a team, they have allowed a league best 67.1 points per game against, and hold an overall scoring margin of +11.8 points per game (1st). The Bears hit the boards hard averaging 41.8 boards per game (2nd), while allowing 35.5 rebounds per game (3rd).

Trinity Western holds a 3-1 record in the last four regular season meetings with Alberta.

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES (6-4)
CIS ranking: NR
Prairie Division position: 4th
Last Weekend: Mount royal 96-73 W, UNBC 90-93 L
Streak: 1 loss
2011-12 Prairie Division record: 16-4 (1st)
2012 playoffs: 3-1 (3rd)
2012 CIS tournament: N/A

The Saskatchewan Huskies roll into the LEC this weekend poised to establish their Canada West dominance once again. Following a strong 2011-2012 season, the Huskies have been forced to look to new faces to maintain success this year.

With only one fifth-year athlete on the roster, coach Barry Rawlyk has had the challenge of leading a young Huskies team within a program that has built high expectations. But Rawlyk and the Huskies have responded well to the challenge and put together a solid first semester.

Their most notable weekend thus far came late in November when they took on the No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds and the Victoria Vikes at home. After falling to the nationally ranked Thunderbirds by just three points on the Friday night, the Huskies put together a strong performance Saturday to defeat the Vikes 90-74.

The Huskies have been led all season by third-year guard, Stephon Lamar, who has averaged 25.8 points per game (1st in CW), 4.9 assists per game (tied for 3rd), and 3-point shots made with 3.4 per game (1st).

As a team, the Huskies are putting up massive offensive numbers. They currently lead the league in scoring with 89.8 points per game (1st), but have also given up 82.4 points per game (13th). The Huskies also lead Canada West in field goal percentage, shooting a solid 46.4 per cent.
 
The Huskies did an excellent job of taking care of the ball in the first semester. Their impressive turnover margin of +4.20 (1st) has allowed them to play with many teams thus far. Crucial to that turnover margin has been the Huskies defensive speed. They currently average 10.6 steals per game (2nd), and trail only the Spartans in this category.

-TW-
-JO-

Last Updated: 2013-01-10
Author: Mark Janzen