Spartans Men’s basketball host unbeaten No. 3 Victoria

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November 27, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – Fresh off a road win over then No. 5 Saskatchewan, the Trinity Western men’s basketball team will take aim at the last remaining unbeaten team in Canada West this weekend when it takes on No. 3 Victoria Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

Both games can be seen live at twu.canadawest.tv.

With a 75-73 comeback win over the previously unbeaten Huskies, the Spartans, who have now earned two wins over ranked opponents, having also knocked off then No. 10 UBC in the second week of the season, enter this weekend a confident group. However with the 8-0 Vikes in town, it’ll be a tall task for the Spartans to continue their success against ranked teams.

Despite a 4-4 record, TWU has yet to string together back-to-back wins this year. In last year’s weekend series against Victoria on the road, TWU earned a split, beating the No. 10 Vikes 71-61 Friday before losing 77-63 Saturday. The last time Victoria played at the LEC, the Vikes won both games of the weekend series, 93-79 and 86-75.

The Spartans last win over Victoria at home was Nov. 21, 2009 when they won 83-71.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (4-4)

  • CIS ranking: NR
  • Pacific Division Standings: 3rd (tied)
  • Last Weekend: Alberta 87-75 L, Saskatchewan 75-73 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

The Spartans season has been about as up and down as one could imagine. Through eight games, TWU has four wins and four losses and, the Spartans have picked up a win and loss in all four weekends this year.

They beat Calgary (4-4), but then lost to Lethbridge (5-3). They split with UBC (4-4) and UNBC (3-5). And they lost to Alberta (7-1) before beating Saskatchewan (7-1).

And even within the Spartans win over Saskatchewan, it seemed two different teams represented TWU. The Spartans were outscored 44-28 over the first half before turning the tides and outscoring the Huskies 47-29 in the second half.

The question this weekend is, which team will show up to play?

As expected, the Spartans offence has been their strength as they have averaged 78.1 points per game (7th in Canada West). However, defensively, they have allowed 79.5 points against per game (14th in CW). As one would expect from a .500 club, TWU is in the middle of the pack in almost every statistical category.

Other than defensive rebounding, in which TWU is tied for third in the conference with 29 boards per game, the Spartans are largely a middling group. On the glass, TWU’s rebounding margin is -0.1 (9th in CW) and its turnover margin is +0.12 (tied for 7th in CW).

Individually, Anthony Ottley (Toronto) and Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) have led the team offensively as Ottley is averaging 10.9 points per game and McDonald is averaging 10.6 points per game. Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) isn’t far behind with 9.5 points per game. Mark Perrin (Toronto), who has been injured for the last five games, averaged 11 points per game in his three outings.

Jesse Jeffers is leading the team in rebounds with 6.1 per game while McDonald is leading in field goal shooting percentage at 55.9 per cent (8th in CW). Bakuteka has made a team-high 15 3-pointers (tied for 12th in CW) and has a 40.5 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

VICTORIA VIKES (8-0)

  • CIS ranking: No. 3
  • Pacific Division Standings: 1st
  • Last Weekend: Manitoba 62-51 W, Winnipeg 77-66 W
  • Streak: 8 wins
  • 2012-13 conference record: 16-6 (2nd Pacific)
  • 2013 CW playoffs: 3-1 (CW silver)
  • 2013 CIS tournament: 1-2 (6th)
  • Last CW title: 2006
  • Last CIS title: 1997

Thanks to a dominant defence that has allowed just 55.9 points against per game, Victoria has raced out of the gate and staked itself to an unblemished record through eight games.

Over the first four weekends of the year, Victoria has yet to give up more than 66 points and had a season’s best defensive effort against UBC Okanagan that saw the Vikes hold the Heat to just 46 points. By comparison, the Spartans have yet to hold its opponents to less than 66 points. Defensively, the Vikes are also only allowing their opposition to hit 35.5 per cent of its field goal attempts (1st in Canada West) and only 25.6 per cent of its 3-point attempts (1st in CW).

At the other end of the court, the Vikes are scoring 72.4 points per game (tied for 9th in CW), which gives them a scoring margin of +16.5 (2nd in CW). While the Vikes scoring totals are middle of the pack, their field goal percentage is second in the conference at 46.3 per cent and they are second in Canada West in 3-pointers made with 8.5 per game.

On the glass, Victoria is third in the conference in rebound margin, at +7.5.

Canada West All-Star Terrell Evans is leading the team with 18 points per game (6th in CW) while six-foot-ten forward Chris McLaughlin is second with 15.9 points per game (8th in CW). McLaughlin is also sixth in the conference in rebounds with 7.5 per game while Evans is second on the team and tied for 13th in Canada West with seven boards per game. Evans is also third in the conference in steals with 2.1 per game and leads the team in both 3-point field goal percentage, at 54.8 per cent (3rd in CW), and 3-pointers made, with 2.1 per game (tied for 8th in CW).

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