November 2, 2012, LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team hung with No. 2 UBC for much of Friday’s contest but in the end, it was the visiting Thunderbirds earning a 91-84 win Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
After Trinity Western had battled back from a 16-point deficit to take a lead in the third quarter, the rally came up short as the Thunderbirds ended the Spartans dreams of a home-opening upset win by putting up 30 points in the fourth quarter to pull out the seven-point victory.
Making his Spartans debut, college transfer Mark Perrin (Toronto) led the way for the Spartans with 32 points, including seven 3-pointers on 12 attempts, as well as nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to earn the win. Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.), making his return to the Spartans after a year off while studying at the Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa, added 20 points, five rebounds and four steals.
For the T-Birds, it was O’Brian Wallace leading the charge as he had a game-high 34 points and nine rebounds. He was followed by Doug Plumb who had 22 points, six rebounds and three steals and Isaiah Solomon, who had 20 points and five assists, including 14 points from the free throw line.
The Spartans are now 0-1 on the year and will have to look to next year in hopes of earning their first win in a home-opener since the LEC opened in 2009. The Thunderbirds are 1-0 on the year and, like their female counterparts, have yet to lose at the LEC.
“It was an exciting game,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “It was a game of runs and a lot of catch-up for us. We fell short at the end but it was a good effort from our guys and it’s early in the season so we have lots of room for improvement.
“I think we need to do a better job of limiting our turnovers. We turned the ball over 15 times in the first half and you’re not going to win many games doing that. These games mean a lot for experience. I think it was a good gut check for our guys and they battled hard.”
The first quarter saw UBC’s Wallace get off to a hot start as he put up 14 points in the first 10 minutes alone and, in doing so, staked the T-Birds to a 22-19 lead. The Spartans Micah Cockrill (Chilliwack, B.C.) earned his first points in a TWU uniform as he knocked down both of his 3-point attempts to lead the Spartans with six points in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, a close contest turned in UBC’s favour midway through the frame. After a brilliant steal by Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) and a subsequent alley-oop pass that was finished by Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.), the Spartans tied the game 30-30. But any momentum generated by the play was squashed immediately as Wallace nailed a 3-pointer on the T-Birds next possession and, with that, launched a 16-0 UBC run that eventually, after a late Perrin 3-pointer, sent the visitors into halftime up 46-33.
In the second half, the Spartans came out with a vengeance in as they started the third quarter with an 18-4 run that, after a Kurtis Osborne (Tsawwassen, B.C.) lay-up, gave TWU the lead, 51-50, for the first time since the game’s opening three minutes.
However, after a T-Birds surge late in the third quarter, UBC rolled into the fourth quarter with the game’s momentum. The T-Birds opened the fourth quarter with five straight points to go up by eight, 66-58, only a minute into the frame. The Spartans didn’t let UBC run away with the game but neither did they close the gap down the stretch and the T-Birds cruised to the seven-point win.
The teams will play in a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. at the LEC.
Game Notes: TWU shot 90.0 per cent from the free throw line while UBC shot 65.0 per cent…TWU was 9 for 21 from 3-point range while UBC was 8 for 19…UBC finished at 40.8 per cent from the field while TWU was 37.7 per cent…TWU had a 34-29 edge on the glass and an 11-7 edge in steals.