Westminster basketball: Griffins host Rocky Mountain in Wednesday’s quarterfinals

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 10:10 p.m. MST

Jordan Hayter goes up for a layup. Hayter and the Westminster Griffins host Rocky Mountain College in the Behnken Field House on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Frontier Conference Tournament.

Shooting Star Photography

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Westminster College men’s basketball team opens the 2013 Frontier Conference Tournament on Wednesday as it plays host to Rocky Mountain (Mont.) in a quarterfinal game. The game will tipoff at 7 p.m. in the Behnken Field House between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds.

Wednesday’s game will be carried live on Griffins TV and on Comcast 6 in Utah. Live stats will be available for the game with links for Griffins TV, and live stats available in the calendar section of Westminster's website.

Westminster begins the postseason after finishing 22-7 during the regular season. The Griffins finished fourth in the Frontier with a 9-6 record to earn a home game in the quarterfinals. They claimed a 74-63 win at Carroll (Mont.) Thursday before taking down Montana Tech, 75-57, on Senior Night last Saturday.

The Griffins are 11-1 at home this year and were 7-1 in Frontier home games. They begin the week winner of six consecutive home contests and they average 86.3 points per game when playing in the Behnken Field House. Westminster is 17-4 on the year when holding the lead at halftime and are 20-1 when leading with five minutes left in regulation.

Westminster currently ranks second in the Frontier Conference in scoring at 79.07 points per game and have scored at least 70 points in each of the last three games played. The Griffins scored at least 80 points in 14 games during the year and they reached the 90-point plateau in five games. They shoot 47.2 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc, ranking in the NAIA top 50 in each category.

Defensively, Westminster allows 65.07 points per game to rank third in the league and 16th in the NAIA. The Griffins hold the opposition to 43 percent shooting and they are ninth in the country in scoring margin at plus 14 per game. They force 19.9 turnovers per contest and are No.1 in the NAIA in turnover margin at 7.14.

The Griffins hold a 27-8 edge all-time against Rocky Mountain. They swept the two games this season, winning 72-64 in Billings on Jan. 26, and then 85-71 in the Behnken Field House on Jan. 31. The Griffins have taken 11 of the last 12 games dating back to the 2008-09 season and they have won two straight in Salt Lake City.

These two teams have a history of playing in the conference tournament. Wednesday’s game will mark the eighth postseason meeting with the Griffins holding a 4-3 edge. Westminster has won three straight tournament match-ups with Rocky, including a 73-53 win in last year’s quarterfinals.

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