SPARTANS BATTLE CASCADES FRIDAY, SATURDAY

MEN’S BASKETBALL (CANADA WEST)
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013
WEEKEND PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPARTANS BATTLE CASCADES FRIDAY, SATURDAY

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team will look to take over third place in the Pacific Division of the Canada West Conference this weekend when it takes on the  Fraser Valley Cascades, Friday at 8 p.m. at Fraser Valley, and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. Both games will be streamed live at www.canadawest.tv.

The Spartans, who are 11-9 on the season, are currently riding a six-game winning streak and are playing their best basketball of the season. Coming into the second semester, the Spartans were 3-7 and well shy of a playoff berth. Now they sit two games clear of Fraser Valley for the third spot in the Pacific Division, and with a split against the Cascades this weekend will secure that spot going into the post-season.  

The Cascades were initially tied with TWU with identical 11-9 records but, this week, they were forced to forfeit two games due to playing an ineligible player. Fraser Valley needs to win one game to clinch a playoff spot or have Thompson Rivers lose to UBC Okanagan.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (11-9)
CIS ranking: NR
Pacific Division position: 3rd  
Last Weekend: UBC Okanagan 73-68 W, 71-69 W
Streak: 6 Wins
2011-12 Pacific Division record: 10-8 (4th)
2012 playoffs: 0-2 (5th - tied)
2012 CIS tournament: N/A

It is a good time to be a Trinity Western Spartans men’s basketball fan. With the season slowly slipping away coming into the second semester, the Spartans have found their second wind and are playing at a new level. Currently on a six-game winning streak, the Spartans will look to earn a better match-up in the playoffs this weekend as they take on the Fraser Valley Cascades.

The ranking situation is simple. If the Spartans win one match this weekend, they will clinch third in the Pacific Civision and will have to wait on the results of the Prairie Division to see who they will cross over against in the first round of playoffs.

The Spartans will have to continue their balanced attack this weekend if they are to earn wins against a very tough Cascades opponent. Last weekend the Spartans had four players in double digits scoring in both matches against the UBC Okanagan Heat, a model of play which has become foundational to their recent surge of success.

Leading that attack has been veteran fifth year guard, Tristan Smith (Los Angeles). It was Smith who saved the Spartans last weekend, nailing two clutch free throws and blocking a shot in the final two seconds in Saturday’s match to secure a win. He ended up with 13 points, 6 steals, and 6 assists on the night. Smith will also be recognized Saturday night as the only graduating senior player on the roster, as he plays in his last home game as a Spartan.

Paramount to the Spartans success as a team has been their recent offensive outbreak. They are currently averaging 81.3 points per game (5th in Canada West), which is a full six points more than their average coming into the second semester. They are allowing their opponents to average 81.5 points per game (tied for 12th). The strength of this team has always been their speed and athletic ability, as the Spartans are averaging 11.1 steals per game (1st), while boasting an impressive +2.78 turnover margin (3rd).

The Spartans have not won in Fraser Valley’s gym since the 2008-2009 season, when they won 75-67.

FRASER VALLEY CASCADES (9-11)
CIS ranking: NR
Pacific Division position: 4th
Last Weekend: Thompson Rivers  (forfeit) L, 63-60 L
Streak: 4 losses
2011-12 Prairie Division record: 13-5 (2nd)
2012 playoffs: 3-2 (2nd CW)
2012 CIS tournament: 1-2 (4th)

With a playoff spot already locked up, the Fraser Valley Cascades will be looking to simply put two solid matches together this weekend. In the past two weekends the Cascades have shown looks of inconsistency, dropping games to teams they are most capable of defeating two nights in a row.

This past weekend the Cascades beat the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack 92-66 on the court Friday night, although later forfeited it due to playing an ineligible player. Just one day later the Cascades ended up falling to the Wolfpack 63-60, and looked like a completely different team than Friday.

If the Cascades are going to sweep this weekend, they will have to continue getting production from their fifth-year guard and leading scorer Sam Freeman (Coquitlam, B.C.). Freeman is averaging 21.2 points per game (2nd in Canada West), while making a league best 3.1 three-pointers a game (1st).

Much like the Spartans, the Cascades have a well rounded offense and distribute the ball well. Second-year guard, Kevon Parchment (Toronto), is averaging 18.3 points per game (6th), while fifth-year forward, Kyle Grewal (Surrey, B.C.) is averaging 13.5 points per game. Grewal battled injury earlier in the season, which has allowed him to only play in 14 of the Cascades matches.

As a group, the Cascades are averaging 78.2 points per game (7th), while allowing their opponents 72.4 points per game (4th). The Cascades have made the most of their opportunities from the free throw line, as they are shooting 74.1 per cent as a team (2nd). Crucial to their spread out offense has been their ability to find the open looks. They currently are averaging 15.6 assists per game (2nd), while having an impressive turnover margin of +2.90 (2nd).

-TW-

Last Updated: 2013-02-15
Author: Mark Janzen