SAN DIEGO, California – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team lost its first match of a two-game non-conference road trip to California, falling 91-69 to Point Loma Nazarene Monday afternoon at the Golden Gymnasium.
Point Loma was the dominant side from start to finish as the Sea Lions never trailed and had control of the game throughout as the Spartans struggled to garner any sort of rhythm as it was Trinity Western’s 26 turnovers that was ultimately their undoing over the 40-minute contest.
As a team, Point Loma was better in nearly every facet of the game as it outshot Trinity Western from the field 60.8 per cent to 40. 4 per cent, had five 3-pointers made to the Spartans two and had 22 assists to Trinity Western’s 11.
The lone bright spot for the Spartans was on the offensive glass as they had 17 offensive rebounds to Point Loma’s 10.
The Sea Lions Anthony Ussery, who had 15 points and eight rebounds, led Point Loma offensively, while Rhett Beal and Wil Bush played secondary roles, contributing 12 points each.
“Lucas getting 12 points and seven rebounds was a pleasant surprise and he showed what he can do when he is healthy. He gives us an added edge to our game. I didn’t expect that we would come out of the gates very fast seeing that we hadn’t played in a while but we ended up winning the second half, which I am happy about.”
Trinity Western was led by redshirt first-year Lucas Nugteren, who had a career high 12 points and seven rebounds. Sean Peter also had 12 points while Tristan Smith and Kyle Coston each had 11.
The Sea Lions got off to a hot start in the opening half as they pulled out to a 9-4 lead after a Marek Klassen 3-pointer and never looked back.
Point Loma capitalized 17 first half turnovers by the Spartans as the Sea Lions pulled away early and staked themselves to a 26-point lead at halftime, 54-28.
Point Loma had a balanced offence in the first half as five different players had seven or more points, with Ussery, who also had six first half rebounds, and Hayden Leschault each contributing nine points.
The Spartans Peter led the visitors with 10 points in the opening 20 minutes while Taylor Heinrich had four boards.
As a team the Sea Lions shot 62.1 per cent from the field compared to the Spartans 36.0 per cent.
The second half was more of the same as the Sea Lions continued to increase their lead and push their agenda.
The Spartans got the first four points of the half but Point Loma responded with an 18-6 run to establish a 34-point lead.
Trinity Western managed to slow the Sea Lions down the stretch and, by limiting its turnovers to just nine in the second half, was able to keep pace with Point Loma in the latter stages. But ultimately, the Spartans had dug themselves far too deep of a hole to rally from and, in the end, Trinity Western’s Justin Bakuteka’s jumper late to make it a 22-point game was as close as the Spartans would get in the second half.
Point Loma was coming off a 70-48 win over Thompson Rivers Dec. 17. The Sea Lions are next on the court Dec. 27 when they host Iowa’s Ashford University.
The Spartans will now travel to play Azusa Pacific Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.
Trinity Western’s next Canada West action will be Jan. 6-7 when they host Lethbridge and Calgary.
Game Notes: The Spartans and Sea Lions each had 33 rebounds…both teams also each had 24 personal fouls…Point Loma’s Beal fouled out while Trinity Western’s Smith also was sent off early with five fouls.