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Westminster basketball: No. 7 Westminster travels to Santa Barbara for Tom Byron Classic

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012 6:03 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY – The seventh-ranked Westminster College men’s basketball team is off to Santa Barbara, Calif. for two games at the 37th Annual Tom Byron Classic this weekend. Westminster will play Saint Xavier (Ill.) in the opener Friday at 4 p.m. The Griffins will then face either William Jessup (Calif.) on Saturday at 4 p.m. or the host Westmont (Calif.) at 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s opponent will be determined by the results of Friday’s games.

Westminster will return to play after a 10-day layoff with an 11-1 overall record. The Griffins have won seven straight games dating back to an 88-81 loss against Westmont on Nov. 10 in Las Vegas. Westminster defeated California-Merced, 89-49, in its last game and was awarded a victory over Pacific Union due to forfeit.

The Griffins have gone 6-1 in all games played away from the Behnken Field House this season. They are 4-0 in al road games and 2-1 in neutral site games. Westminster is 3-0 in December and 10-0 when facing a non-ranked opponent. The team has a 9-1 record when leading at halftime and sit at 10-0 when leading with five minutes remaining in regulation.

Westminster is scorching the nets for 83.4 points per game this season and rank 14th in the NAIA in that department. The team is shooting 49.2 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc to place 15th and 20th in the country, respectively. The Griffins make 7.82 treys per game and record 15.91 assists per game while placing 12th nationally with a 1.21 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The opposition is scoring just 60.3 points per game and the Griffins rank seventh in the NAIA in scoring defense. Westminster holds the opposition to 41 percent shooting from the field and 27.3 percent from beyond the arc. The Griffins are sixth in the country in scoring margin (+20.09) and lead the country in turnover margin (+9.09).

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