TWU basketball: Spartans stretch winning streak to 14 games
The Trinity Western Spartans are returning to the post-season dance.
After failing to advance to the Canada West men's basketball playoffs last year, the Spartans, ranked fifth in the country, clinched a spot over the weekend thanks to back-to-back victories in Calgary over the Dinos.
The 96-87 and 92-77 victories also stretched their winning streak to 14 games and improved their record to 16-2.
"It's tough to play in Calgary as we have to battle all the different elements and I thought we came through it," said coach Scott Allen. "I thought we played better today and were a little more focused, especially in the fourth quarter.
"Our goal was to finish strong and we did that successfully."
The Spartans used a strong start effectively on both nights.
On Saturday, they raced out to a 22-6 lead and never looked back. Calgary did get as close as four points in the third quarter.
Jacob Doerksen led the way with 25 points, 19 rebounds and five assists, while Calvin Westbrook and Lance Verhoeff had 15 points apiece.
In Friday's win, the Spartans led by 17 at halftime, stretched the advantage to 25 points heading into the fourth, and then held on as Calgary cut the lead down to single digits.
Doerksen scored 26 points, while Tonner Jackson (12) and Tristan Smith (11) also hit double digits.
"It was a solid three quarters of basketball," Allen said. "The wheels kind of fell off in the fourth quarter but I think our guys just kind of got complacent at that point."
Allen was also happy that he was able to use his entire roster in the game, and 11 of the 12 players found the scoresheet.
One area which did concern him was free throw shooing, as the Spartans shot just 57 per cent (16-for-28). But they did connect on 52 per cent of their field goals.
The Spartans winning streak will be tested this weekend as they host the defending national champions, the Saskatchewan Huskies (13-3). The Huskies are ranked third in the country while the Spartans are fifth.
Game times are 8 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday, both at the Langley Events Centre.