October 7, 2012, LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team couldn’t hold on to a fourth quarter lead, allowing the Bishop’s Gaiters back into the game late as the visitors rallied for an 88-81 win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
With just over six-minutes left to play and the Spartans possessing an 11-point lead, at 79-68 following a 15-0 run, the Gaiters responded to TWU’s momentum with a 16-0 run to capture a lead they would never relinquish. The Spartans would score just two points in the final 6:27 as they were never able to recover.
“We just stopped playing to win and were playing to keep the lead,” said Spartans guard Eli Mara (White Rock, B.C.), who had a game-high 28 points and team-high 10 rebounds. “On that run we were going at their throats, whereas when they started coming back, we were just trying to contain our lead. When you start playing like that you get in trouble.”
For the Spartans, after Mara, it was Mark Perrin (Toronto) providing secondary scoring with 16 points to go along with five steals.
The Gaiters replied with a balanced attack that saw six players hit double digits in points. Tim Hunter and Jeremy Leonard-Smith led the way with 14 points each while Leonard-Smith also added a game-high 12 rebounds.
The loss drops the Spartans preseason record to 0-2 while the win improves the Gaiters preseason record to 3-2.
“We had moments when we were in sync and then definitely moments when we weren’t disciplined. We executed sometimes and didn’t other times and that’s what the preseason is for,” Mara said.
The first quarter saw the teams go back and forth as neither side was able to open more than a six-point lead. After a Mike Andrews lay-up, the first quarter ended with little decided as Bishop’s possesed just a one-point edge, 24-23.
In the second, the Gaiters pushed their agenda early as they opened a 12-point lead, capped by a Scott Ring 3-pointer, less than two minutes into the quarter.
However, led by Mara, who finished the first half with 20 points, the Spartans slowly crawled back into the game and, after late Mara lay-up, went into halftime only trailing by six, 50-44.
After the Gaiters opened a 10-point lead early in the second half, TWU once again responded with a scoring run that made it a two-point contest, 68-66, going into the final frame. With Perrin, collecting three steals and dunking on each of the ensuing transitions, including one with just five second left in the quarter, the Spartans went into the fourth quarter with plenty of momentum.
They used that momentum to their advantage early in the fourth quarter. The Spartans scored the first 13 points of the quarter, taking an 11-point lead and seemingly a decided advantage. But that’s when the Gaiters took over as they outscored TWU 20-2 in the final 6:27 to earn the victory.
The Spartans next games will be against the Seattle Blue Angels Oct. 12 at the Langley Events Centre at 7 p.m. The Gaiters are back on the court Oct. 13 against American International at 2 p.m. at Mitchell Gymnasium.
NOTES – TWU shot 44.6 per cent from the field while Bishop’s was 49.2 per cent…Bishop’s outrebounded TWU 39-35.