LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball got its first win of the Canada West season as they hung on for a 78-77 win over Winnipeg Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
In what was a turnover and foul-plagued game, the Spartans built a 14-point third quarter advantage and then, after a scrappy Wesmen side got back in the contest, managed to escape with a win after Winnipeg’s Dominque Brown missed a jumper at the buzzer.
The Spartans, who were playing without injured Kyle Coston, were led by Tristan Smith, who had 22 points and eight assists, Calvin Westbrook, who had 21 points, and Sean Peter, who had 18 points and nine rebounds.
Winnipeg’s Brown led the Wesmen in scoring with 21 points while Travis Krahn had 15 points and Brayden Duff added 12 points.
The win improves the Spartans record to 1-2 on the year while Winnipeg falls to 1-2.
“We came out pretty strong in the first half and we outrebounded them,” said Spartans assistant coach Matt Boulton. “But then we just got tired and mentally started breaking down. There was a huge momentum swing in their favour and then the last four minutes came down to a fight.
“But what it comes down to though is we had 36 turnovers and you can’t play basketball and have that many turnovers. We were the masters of our own demise for sure. We were lucky to hold on to a win tonight.”
With the two teams combining for 19 turnovers and 15 fouls in the first quarter alone, the game got off to a bit of a sluggish start as neither the Spartans nor the Wesmen were able to generate much in the way of offence or momentum.
With Trinity Western’s Kurtis Osborne collecting five offensive rebounds in the first quarter, the Spartans were able to stay in the contest despite the slow start and, with Westbrook putting up eight points, the home side led 16-14 after the first.
The second quarter was much of the same as both teams played hot potato back and forth basketball.
As was the case for much of the game, the Spartans surged ahead first with a 7-2 run to start the quarter only to have the Wesmen claw their way back into the contest shortly thereafter.
Winnipeg ran a balanced offence as five players had at least three points by halftime with Eric Zimmerman leading the way with eight points. Trinity Western’s Westbrook led the Spartans with 10 points as the home side led 33-30 at the break.
At halftime, Trinity Western was shooting 39.4 per cent from the field while Winnipeg was shooting 32.0 per cent.
Early in the third quarter, the Spartans started to take over as they opened the second half with a 13-4 run that gave them a 48-34 lead midway through the frame.
But then, as Boulton alluded to, the Spartans slowed down and Winnipeg responded.
A Krahn 3-pointer sparked Winnipeg’s charge and the Wesmen rolled from there, outscoring Trinity Western 15-6 to end the third quarter and only trail by seven heading into the final 10 minutes.
From there Winnipeg kept coming and 2:08 into the fourth quarter, a 3-pointer from Brown gave the Wesmen their first lead of the game, 58-56.
After that, it was topsy-turvy until the final buzzer.
With 15 seconds left, Winnipeg’s Kelvin Smith knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 78-77 for Trinity Western but the visitors couldn’t complete the comeback as Brown’s jumper missed at the horn.
On Saturday, the Spartans will host Manitoba at 7:00 p.m. while Winnipeg will travel to Fraser Valley to play the Cascades at 7:00 p.m.
Game Notes – The two teams combined for 65 turnovers and 56 fouls…TWU had 46 rebounds to Winnipeg’s 29…TWU shot 46.7 per cent from the field while Winnipeg was 38.3 per cent from the field.