Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keeping up with the Griffins

January 21st

SALT LAKE CITY – There is just something about a Westminster versus Carroll men’s basketball game that provides the drama. After winning with a layup at the buzzer in last season’s Frontier Conference Semi-Finals, No. 13 Westminster (14-5, 4-1) held on for a 62-58 win in the first meeting of the 2010 Frontier Conference season on Thursday night in the Behnken Field House.The College Fanz Sports Network NAIA Game of the Week featured four ties and nine lead changes, including the final lead change with 3:47 remaining in the game when Tanner Gregory hit a hook shot in the lane to put Westminster on top 57-56. That basket snapped a 7-0 run by Carroll (8-10, 1-3) and preceded a 3-pointer from Blair Prowse, his sixth of the game, that out the Griffins up four and for good.“We need to protect home court,” head coach Tommy Connor said. “We knew it was going to be a game like this because with Carroll it always is.”Westminster carried a 34-28 lead into the intermission behind 46.4% shooting in the opening half. For the game, Westminster shot 44.9% while limiting Carroll to just 37.7%. Westminster used its Princeton offense to get several layups that led to a 28-18 advantage in points in the paint. The Griffins also took advantage of 13 Carroll turnovers by turning them into 14 points. Westminster recorded 17 assists on 22 field goals.“We potentially lost the game by missing free throws,” Connor noted of his team going 2-of4 from the foul line in the final minute. “You just need to have one more than them and we did tonight and we feel good about the win.”Prowse finished with a game high 26 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He started the game 4-of-5, all from three, and twice converted 4-point plays in the game. It was the first game for Prowse with a face guard after breaking his nose against Montana Western on January 16.“He has a mask that he can’t see out of,” Connor commented of the face guard worn by Prowse. “He can’t even see out of the thing, but tonight he found a way to make shots so we will keep him in it.”Ben Walker was the only other Griffin in double figures with 10 points. Jeramie Hopson had eight points and six rebounds while Weston Anderson finished with eight points and four assists. Michale Stockton recorded four points, six rebounds, and three assists off the bench.Andy Garland led Carroll with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Chris Medina contributed 13 points and two assists. The Saints forced 13 Westminster turnovers and blocked five shots.Westminster is back in action on Saturday, January 23 when they host defending NAIA National Champion Rocky Mountain College. The action begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Behnken Field House

January 23

SALT LAKE CITY – The Westminster men’s basketball team moved into sole possession of first place in the Frontier Conference with a 59-51 win over Rocky Mountain College on Saturday night in the Behnken Field House.No. 13 Westminster (15-5, 5-1) was tied with Rocky (9-11, 4-1) with 12 minutes to play before using an 11-2 run to run the lead to nine with six minutes to play. Westminster went 3-of-5 from the foul line in the final minutes, but Rocky couldn’t get closer that five.“This is a really great win,” head coach Tommy Connor said after the game. “Rocky is a really great team and I thought we really guarded well and our defense stepped up and won the game for us.”Westminster shot just 42.3% from the field but took advantage of 17 Rocky turnovers that resulted in 14 Westminster points. The Griffins also held Rocky to 33.3% shooting and just 7-of-23 from beyond the arc. Westminster committed just 11 turnovers and had 18 assists on 22 baskets. They also controlled the paint and finished with a 32-18 advantage in that department.“We had some guys step up and hit some big shots,” Connor commented. “Jeramie (Hopson) hit some really big threes and we handled the press much better in the second half.”Blair Prowse finished with a game-high 15 points and three steals. His dunk on a feed from Michael Stockton capped the second half run that put the game away. Jeramie Hopson had a nice night with 14 points and a team high seven rebounds. Weston Anderson finished with 10 points, six rebounds, and four assists. The griffins got big minutes off the bench from Tanner Gregory who finished with eight points and four rebounds.“Tanner is just solid,” Connor said of his sophomore forward. “I can trust him defensively and rebounding and he gave us all the solid little things we needed.”Rocky played most of the game with its second leading scorer Anthony Allen. He went down with a knee injury midway through the opening half, but had five points and five rebounds to that point. Nate Richardson led Rocky with 14 points and five assists. EJ Ross added 10 points and four rebounds.