by Daniel Herrick, Sports Information Student Assistant
January 29, 2014, Saskatchewan (ISN) – After solidifying a spot in the Canada West postseason, the University of Saskatchewan men’s basketball team will look to lock down a home playoff date with wins against the visiting University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves and the Mount Royal Cougars this weekend.
The Huskies enter the weekend ranked No. 9 and is joined by two other Canada West teams, No. 3 Victoria and No. 4 Alberta, in the CIS Top 10.
Saskatchewan (12-4) holds down second in the Prairie Division, just one game ahead of Lethbridge (11-5) and Winnipeg (11-5). The Huskies still have dates against the first-place Alberta (14-2) and Winnipeg remaining in the season.
The Timberwolves and Cougars make their first appearances in Saskatoon as Canada West opponents.
Saskatchewan has the top scoring team in the conference at 85.8 points per game.
Ben Baker leads the Canada West in rebounds (10.6 per game) and is second in the CIS.
This weekend is the last time regular season action at the PAC.
Grey Cup Champions and University of Saskatchewan alum and football alum Ben Heenan, Paul Woldu, Scott McHenry, Graeme Bell, Levi Steinhauer and Graig Newman will all be honoured on Friday night during Family Weekend. A special presentation and autograph session for fans will happen during the night.
Vs. UNBC: The Timberwolves won the first-ever conference meeting between the two programs last season. UNBC edged the Huskies 93-90 in Prince George, B.C.
Vs. Mount Royal: The first conference meeting between the two schools went the Huskies way, 96-73 a season ago in Calgary.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA TIMBERWOLVES (4-12)
The UNBC Timberwolves will need a weekend of their best basketball to upset a pair of ranked teams in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
The Timberwolves have dropped five straight and 8-of-9 with their lone win coming at home. The ‘Wolves sit four games out of the final playoff spot with just six games to play.
Awet Abraha leads all UNBC’s scorers with 11.5 points per game. The squad’s balanced attack features four players who average between 8.8 and 9.8 points. Deng Awak is the team’s leading rebounder with 6.2 per contest.
UNBC will travel to Edmonton to take on the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday night.
MOUNT ROYAL UNVIERSITY COUGARS (7-9)
After dropping back-to-back games, the Cougars look to turn things around as they push for their first-ever Canada West playoff berth.
Mount Royal trails UBC by just one game for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The Cougars return home after this weekend for their remaining four games.
Charles Barton leads the way for the Cougars with 14.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Franck Olivier Kouagnia averages 12.6 points and has pulled down 30 offensive rebounds, a category the Cougars lead the Canada West in.
Mount Royal will face the Alberta Golden Bears on Friday night prior to taking on the Huskies on Saturday.
NO. 9 UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES (12-4)
After securing a playoff spot with a split against the Lethbridge Pronghorns last weekend, the Huskies set their sights on locking up home court advantage in the final weeks of the season.
At 12-4, Saskatchewan sits second in the Prairie Division, one game ahead of Winnipeg and Lethbridge. The Huskies still have a date with the first place Alberta Golden Bears on the final weekend of the season.
Saskatchewan enters the weekend as the conference’s top scoring team at 85.8 points per game, while leading in three-pointers made and rebounding margin.
The Huskies roster features both the offensive rebounding leader in Matt Forbes, with 3.7 per game, and the defensive rebounding leader in Ben Baker, with 7.9 per game. Baker leads the conference and is second in the CIS with 10.6 boards per game to go along with 11.5 points. Stephon Lamar, the reigning Canada West MVP, leads the Huskies in scoring and assists, averaging 19.6 points and 4.7 assists per game.