SPARTANS HOPE TO CONTINUE MOMENTUM AGAINST UNBC

Robert Rodriguez

MEN’S BASKETBALL
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2013
WEEKEND PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPARTANS HOPE TO CONTINUE MOMENTUM AGAINST UNBC

LANGLEY, British Columbia – After beating UBC in a regular season contest for just the second time since 2004, the Trinity Western men’s basketball team will look to build upon the momentum generated by the win when it hosts UNBC Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.

Both games can be seen live at twu.canadawest.tv.
 
With five Pacific Division teams tied for second place at 2-2, the division appears wide open after two weeks and with the Spartans aiming to improve on last year’s third place finish, the opportunity is there for TWU.

Last year, in the teams’ first two meetings ever, TWU and UNBC split their weekend series in Prince George, B.C. The Timberwolves won 109-87 before the Spartans responded with a 103-100 overtime win.

The Spartans Robert Rodriguez, who is in his first year with TWU but fourth year of CIS eligibility, will be competing against his former team as he played with UNBC in 2010-11. In 16 regular season games in the BCCAA (now the PACWEST) he averaged 5.75 points per game.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (2-2)
CIS ranking: NR
Pacific Division Standings: 2nd (tied)
Last Weekend: UBC 82-72, L; 73-66, W
Streak: 1 win
2012-13 conference record: 12-10 (3rd Pacific)
2013 playoffs: 1-2
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A

With a win over UBC last Saturday night, the Spartans come into this weekend’s series riding a confidence high and looking primed to take the next step in their early-season progression.

For coach Scott Allen’s side, this year was always going to be a work in progress. With a variety of new players filling big-minute roles, Allen was well aware that it might take some time for the team to gel. And while the team is still far from seeing its full potential, a win over the Thunderbirds is certainly a tidy benchmark. Now, the trick will be to keep moving forward.

The last time the Spartans played the Timberwolves, it was a struggle for TWU in a hostile environment that saw 1200 UNBC fans pack the house on the Friday night. Fortunately for the Spartans, this year, they’ll have the crowd on their side.

If the Spartans are to have a successful weekend, they will have to put together a defensive effort similar to what they did in their win over UBC. Prior to last Saturday, when TWU held UBC to just 66 points, the Spartans had allowed the opposition to score an average of 86 points through their first three games.
Offensively, the Spartans are tied for fifth in the conference in scoring with 79.5 points per game. The Spartans have collected 43.0 rebounds per game (3rd in CW) this year. However, at the same time, the Spartans have given up 43.8 rebounds per game, which has the Spartans tied for eighth, with UNBC, with a -0.8 rebounds per game margin.

Anthony Ottley leads the team offensively with 14.5 point per game, but the key to the TWU offence has been balance as nine players are averaging at least 6.0 points per game.

UNBC TIMBERWOLVES (1-3)
CIS ranking: NR
Pacific Division Standings: 7th
Last Weekend: TRU 72-62, L; 92-54, L
Streak: 3 losses
2012-13 conference record: 6-16 (6th Pacific, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A

After losing a number of key players from last year’s squad, this season’s Timberwolves are looking to build on a six-win season with a vastly different roster. Four of UNBC’s top five scorers from last year are no longer with the team and that includes the trio of Jose Araujo, Sam Raphael and Francis Rowe, who combined for 140 points in two games against TWU last year.

This offseason, coach Todd Jordan went to both his bench and the transfer market to replace those points. Through four games, the results have been middling and a 38-point loss at home against Thompson Rivers last Saturday has the team smarting.

Charles Barton, who finished fourth in team scoring last year, is now leading UNBC with 15.5 points per game (tied for 10th in Canada West) while also collecting 5.8 rebounds per game. Beyond Barton, the only other two players averaging double-digits in scoring are Jeff Chu, who transferred from Langara College and is averaging 11.3 points per game, and Cameroon native Franck Olivier Kouagnia, who spent the last three years in the UK playing for Coventry University and is averaging 11.0 points per game. Olivier Kouagnia is also leading the team in rebounds with 6.5 per game (tied for 16th in CW) and blocked shots with 1.5 per game (5th in CW).

As a team, the Timberwolves are averaging 63.2 points for per game (16th in CW) and 80.0 points against per game (12th in CW). They are also averaging a league-low 35.8 per cent field goal shooting and a league-worst 47.2 opposition field goal shooting percentage.

The Timberwolves are tied with TWU for eighth in rebound margin, at -0.8, but do currently sit atop the conference in defensive rebound percentage, collecting 79.7 per cent of defensive boards. UNBC is also tied for sixth in blocked shots, with 2.3 per game.

-TW-

Last Updated: 2013-11-13
Author: Mark Janzen