LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball won its eighth game in its last nine outings as they completed a weekend sweep of Thompson Rivers with a 97-92 win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans opened a four-point lead after the first quarter, then a seven-point lead at halftime and then never allowed Thompson Rivers to get any closer than four points down the stretch. Despite Thompson Rivers’ Justin King getting 29 points and Chas Kok adding 28, it was the depth of the Spartans – five players hit double-digit points – that won the day.
For the second night in a row Trinity Western’s Sean Peter was the man of the hour as he had 27 points, eight rebounds and six steals. After Peter, for the Spartans, it was Calvin Westbrook with 19 points and five boards, Kurtis Osborne with 17 points and eight rebounds and Tristan Smith with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists.
After Kok, who also had 10 rebounds, and King, who added four rebounds and four steals, the WolfPack’s offence was led by Kevin Pribilsky, who had 12 points and eight assists, and Akeem Pieerre, who had 10 points and two steals.
The win improves Trinity Western to 10-7, who are already assured of the wildcard spot in the Canada West playoffs, while the loss drops Thompson Rivers to 5-11.
With Peter leading the Spartans charge with 14 points in the opening 10 minutes, Trinity Western staked itself to a 29-25 lead after the first quarter. The Spartans shot 60.9 per cent from the field as they went 14 for 23 in the opening frame. Thompson Rivers countered with a 47.1 shooting percentage on eight for 17 shooting.
In the second quarter, the game’s torrid pace, one that saw the teams combine for 54 points in the first quarter, slowed down but not by much.
Trinity Western pushed its agenda as it was the Spartans opening up a seven-point lead by halftime with Smith’s eight second quarter points leading the way.
Trinity Western opened as much as a 12-point edge at 53-41 after a pair of made free throws from Niko Monachini before the WolfPack closed the gap to seven points with a 5-0 run late to make it 53-46 at the break.
While Thompson Rivers dominated the paint, outscoring Trinity western 12-4 in the quarter, the Spartans shooting continue to play with a hot hand, finishing the half at 58.3 per cent from the field.
In the third quarter the Spartans kept up their high-paced offense churning, opening up a 64-50 lead early on after a Calvin Westbrook layup. But Thompson Rivers, led by Kok who had eight points in the quarter, rallied as they earned seven straight points to cut Trinity Western’s lead to seven.
But after a 3-pointer from Monachini with 42 seconds left in the quarter, the Spartans were back up by 11 points as they had themselves a 73-62 lead.
But with five made free throws from Kok inside the final 40 seconds, the WolfPack pulled to within five points, at 73-68, heading to the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Trinity Western pulled ahead 82-74, following a 3-pointer from Tristan Smith, looked to be on their way to a comfortable win. But Thompson Rivers was not about to let that happen as it responded by going on a 6-2 run to make it a four-point game 84-80.
From there though the Spartans pulled away for good with a 10-4 run, which was capped by an Osborne layup that gave Trinity Western a 94-84 lead. As it turned out, that was all they would need to get the win.
A late push from Thompson Rivers came up five points short.
The Spartans will play their final game of the Canada West regular season Feb. 9 when they host Fraser Valley at 8:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. The WolfPack will return home for its next game Feb. 11 against UBC Okanagan in what is the first leg of a weekend home and home with the Heat.
Game Notes – TWU shot 55.9 per cent while TRU shot 44.6 per cent…TWU had 37 rebounds to TRU’s 35…TWU had 10 steals to TRU’s nine.