Men’s basketball sets up clash against Golden Bears

Ben Baker has been a key player for the Huskies this season.

Ben Baker has been a key player for the Huskies this season.

The Huskies men’s basketball team earned their spot in the Canada West final four after defeating the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. The Dogs downed the WolfPack 82-68 on Feb. 21 and 84-71 on Feb. 23 in the Physical Activity Complex to win series 2-0.

The next challenge for the Dogs will be the number one seed University of Alberta Golden Bears. The Golden Bears earned their spot by defeating the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 2-1 and as the highest ranked team in the tournament will host the final four.

The winner of the semi-final will advance to face either the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades or the University of Victoria Vikes in the Canada West final.

The Golden Bears are coming off an impressive 20-2 season which saw them finish first in the Prairie Division. Finishing in second with a 15-7 record, the Dogs weren’t far behind — but they did drop two games against the Golden Bears on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15. The Huskies will have to bring their very best to the court if they want to defeat the Golden Bears for the first time this season.

Home court advantage should favour the Golden Bears, who are a perfect 12-0 at home. Hosting the final four should give the team even more incentive to make it to the final and the fans will no doubt be backing the home team. The Dogs have a winning record in away games but will nonetheless be walking into a hostile environment and facing one of the toughest teams in the country.

There isn’t much between the two teams over — the Huskies average just slightly more in overall points than the Golden Bears — except when it comes to points allowed per game. The Golden Bears defence only surrenders 68 points per game while the Huskies have been slightly less effective, with their opponents netting 77. Whether the Huskies’ offence is able to consistently break through the Golden Bears’ defence will be the big question that could affect the outcome of the series.

Stephon Lamar and Dadrian Collins will look to lead the Dogs’ offence while Ben Baker and Matt Forbes will look to dominate off the boards. Jordan Baker will be the key player for the Golden Bears as he is the top scorer and rebounder for the team.

Tip off is at 8 p.m. on Feb. 28.


Photo: Josh Schaefer Photography