Jose Araujo is rounding back into form.

UNBC Northern Timberwolves fourth-year guard Jose Araujo cuts towards the hoop against the Camosun College Chargers during their game on Saturday night at the Northern Sport Centre. The Timberwolves defeated the Chargers 97-64.  - Alistair McINNIS/Free Press
UNBC Northern Timberwolves fourth-year guard Jose Araujo cuts towards the hoop against the Camosun College Chargers during their game on Saturday night at the Northern Sport Centre. The Timberwolves defeated the Chargers 97-64.
— image credit: Alistair McINNIS/Free Press

Jose Araujo is rounding back into form.

The UNBC men’s basketball team has to be happy about that. When Araujo is at his best, few college players in the country can shoot with as much accuracy.

In PacWest action on Saturday night at the Northern Sport Centre, Araujo’s game was on the mark during a 97-64 Northern Timberwolves victory over the visiting Camosun College Chargers. The fourth-year guard led all scorers with 29 points, 21 courtesy of the three pointer as he dropped seven of 12 attempts from beyond the arc.

Araujo, a 25-year-old Toronto product, was a key member of the 2009-10 Timberwolves squad which won the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association national title in Calgary. But after taking the 2010-11 campaign off, he’s struggled in his return to UNBC.

In an effort to get Araujo back on track,  Timberwolves head coach Todd Jordan decided to play the guard off the bench. Araujo said he played more aggressively, and his teammates helped get him in prime shooting positions. But in reality, it may not have taken anything special.

“It was our defence as well,” Araujo said. “Our defence leads our offence, so we got to give credit to our defence as well.”

Jordan said he talked with Araujo before the game about taking him out of the starting lineup.

“I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but he was able to make some shots tonight and get going, and it’s good,” the team’s bench boss said. “He’s been on a little bit of a slump, so it’s good for him to get going. I knew he was going to come out of it eventually. He’s a great player and he’s got a lot of history of doing big things, so I’m not at all surprised at the game he had tonight.”

Only one other UNBC player, third-year guard/forward Charles Barton, reached double figures in scoring. Barton recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

On the Camosun side, four players scored in double figures: Trevor Scheurmann (16), Drake Downer (11), Blake Mansbridge (10) and Rulon Schmidt (10).

The win leaves both teams at 4-2, but the Timberwolves hold the third-place tiebreaker with the victory. The Langara College Falcons and Douglas College Royals also have eight points, but at 4-3, each squad has played one more game.

The Timberwolves’ two defeats came against the squads at the top of the nine-team standings with identical 5-1 records, the Capilano University Blues and Vancouver Island University Mariners.

Friday evening at the NSC, the Mariners downed the Timberwolves 84-77.

In women’s basketball action on the weekend, UNBC downed the Mariners 60-52 and edged Camosun 62-59. The Timberwolves lead the nine-team standings with an undefeated 6-0 record.

The 2011-12 PacWest regular season doesn’t resume until Jan. 13, as the league is on a break for final exams and the holiday season. The Timberwolves’ PacWest schedule resumes with a home date against the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles.

Both UNBC teams will get in exhibition action before the regular season resumes. The men are competing in a tournament at the University of Winnipeg from Dec. 28 to 30. The women welcome a U18 national team from Japan for games on Jan. 3 and 4.

The Winnipeg tournament is hosted by the Wesmen men’s team coached by former Timberwolves bench boss Mike Raimbault, who guided the UNBC men’s squad to its 2010 national championship.

“That should be very fun,” Araujo said. “I got a couple of friends that are playing on his team too, from Toronto too, so it’s going to be a little reunion in Winnipeg over the Christmas break.”

For more on the UNBC women, check Friday’s Free Press.


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