Tristan Smith




LANGLEY, British Columbia –  The Trinity Western men’s basketball team (9-9) looks clinch a playoff spot this weekend as it takes on UBC Okanagan (3-16) Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

Both games will be streamed live at

The Spartans are currently riding a four-game winning streak and are playing their best basketball of the season. With a win, or a UNBC loss, the Spartans will ensure themselves of a playoff spot and, trailing Fraser Valley by just one win going into the weekend, would keep their dreams of a third place finish in the Pacific Division very much alive.

CIS ranking: NR
Pacific Division position: 4th
Last Weekend: Thompson Rivers 93-70 W, 83-75 W
Streak: 4 Wins
2011-12 Pacific Division record: 10-8 (4th)
2012 playoffs: 0-2 (5th - tied)
2012 CIS tournament: N/A

With seven wins in their last nine Canada West games, the Spartans are a team that looks to be rounding into an impressive late-season form. Peaking at the right time of year, the Spartans will look to continue their winning ways against the Heat this weekend.

The Spartans willingness to play team-orientated basketball has been the reason for their recent success. In both games this past weekend against the Thompson Rivers, TWU had five players hit double digits for points. The Spartans will look to continue to spread the ball this weekend against defensive-minded UBC-O.
Crucial to the success of the Spartans has been the returns of both Tristan Smith (Los Angeles) and Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.) to the starting rotation. As has been the case for much of this semester, the previously injured tandem was offensive dynamos this past weekend. Jackson combined for 38 points in the two games while Smith added 33 points. For the season Jackson has been averaging 17.7 points per game, while Smith has been shooting an impressive 46.5 per cent from the field.

Third-year guard, a healthy Mark Perrin (Toronto), has lead the Spartans throughout the campaign, scoring 19.8 points per game (5th in Canada West), while picking up 6.9 rebounds per game (19th in CW). Perrin has also shown he can play a defensive game, leading the Spartans with 2.7 steals per outing (4th in CW).

As a team, the Spartans are averaging 81.3 points per game (5th in CW), while allowing 81.5 points per game (tied for 12th in CW). The Spartans have a field goal percentage of 42.0 per cent (10th in CW) while allowing the opposition to shoot 44.1 per cent from the field (15th in CW). The speed of the Spartans has allowed them to average a conference-best 11.1 steals per game.

The Spartans are currently 3-5 at home and, with a pair of wins this weekend, will get back to the .500 mark at the LEC and above .500 overall for the first time this season.

CIS ranking: NR
Pacific Division position: 8th
Last Weekend: Fraser Valley 85-80OT L, 68-58 W
Streak: 1 Win
2011-12 Prairie Division record: 3-15 (6th)
2012 playoffs: N/A
2012 CIS tournament: N/A

While UBC Okanagan’s three-win record isn’t exactly glowing, the Heat’s play this year, especially of late, has proven that there is much more to this team than their 3-16 record would portray.

Entering last weekend with just two wins in Canada West league play, the Heat made a major statement against then No. 9 Fraser Valley. The Heat pushed the Cascades to overtime on the first night, ultimately losing by five, 85-80, but then on the second, UBC-O turned the tides and earned its first ever win over a ranked CIS opponent, 68-58.

While the win over Fraser Valley was certainly ground-breaking, it perhaps shouldn’t have been entirely surprising as it came on the heels of another head-turning effort the week prior. Playing against UBC, the Heat nearly upset the No. 2 Thunderbirds as it took a buzzer-beating put back from UBC to knock off the Heat 63-61.

If anything, over the last two weeks, the Heat has shown it’s a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

In his first year as head coach of the Heat, Pete Guarasci has had the challenge of assembling a competitive Canada West roster. Losing veteran post players like Simon Pelland and Steve Morrison, Guarasci brought in a batch of new players, both transfers and highly regarded high school recruits.

Freshman Mitch Goodwin has played a big role for the Heat this season. He currently leads his team with 14.0 points per game (22nd in Canada West), and in 3-point shots made, averaging 2.0 per game (tied for 13th in CW). Fraser Valley Transfer, Azi Fahandeg-Sadi, is averaging 11.6 points per game, and is shooting 44.0 per cent from the field.

The Heat has been a staunch defensive team this season, allowing 73.0 points against per game (4th in CW). The problem for UBC-O has been its inability to generate offence as it has averaged a league-low 65.6 points per game (16th in CW). While offence hasn’t come easily, where the Heat has found success is from the foul line, where, as a team, it’s shooting a conference-best 74.3 per cent.  

Since entering Canada West last season, the Heat is 0-2 against the Spartans, losing both of its games at home last year, 83-77 and 83-56.


Last Updated: 2013-02-06
Author: Mark Janzen