January 25, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN)– A high-scoring, 3-point-filled fourth quarter turned in favour of the Trinity Western’s men’s basketball team late as the Spartans pulled out an 84-78 win over Mount Royal Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
After Mount Royal (3-12) had made it 73-65 with 5:33 left to play in the fourth quarter, the Spartans (6-9), having led for most of the contest, roared back down the stretch, outscoring the Cougars 19-5 over the last 5:11, to earn a win on a night when TWU’s play was tenuous at best.
Mark Perrin (Toronto) scored eight of his 20 points in the final five minutes to lead the Spartans to a much-needed win.
The win puts the Spartans in a tie for the fourth and final Pacific Division playoff spot with Thompson Rivers (6-10), but with a game in hand.
“We didn’t play very well, so to pull out the win is huge,” said the Spartans Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.). “We have to play better defensively, but it’s good to see we could still get the win. I think Mark (Perrin) hit a couple of big shots in the fourth quarter there to help us get going offensively and we buckled down defensively late.”
Alongside Perrin and his 20 points and six rebounds, Jackson was instrumental in the win, contributing a team-high 21 points and eight rebounds. Tristan Smith (Los Angeles) added 10 points and five steals while Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) also put up 10 points for TWU.
For MRU, Aloysius Callaghan (Calgary) led the way with 21 points, including going for five for six from 3-point range. Contributing on the glass was Deng Awak (Brooks, Alta.), who had a game-high 10 rebounds.
“At the end of the fourth quarter, we showed a lot of character,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “We hit a couple of big three’s late in the fourth and that seemed like a back breaker and then we played a little harder defensively. We have to win these games to make playoffs and guys know that, so we just had to battle hard to get the win.”
After a Spartans-dominated first quarter that saw TWU take as much as a nine-point lead, at 18-11, a late 3-pointer from MRU’s Jalen Gardener (Calgary) made it a four-point game going to the second frame. The Spartans were just one for eight from 3-point range compared to the Cougars two for five.
In the second quarter, it was a similar tale as the Spartans controlled much of the play and possessed a lead throughout but were unable to put MRU away. Hanging around and keeping up with TWU, the Cougars again scored a late basket, this time a lay-up from Ray Goff (Okotoks, Alta.), to reduce the Spartans lead to 37-34 at the break.
With the score 42-34 for TWU early in the third, the Cougars turned things around in a hurry with a 12-3 run that gave the visitors a 46-45 lead before the quarter was five minutes old. From there, the teams traded points with Callaghan sinking a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left to give MRU a 55-54 edge.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the score 58-57 for MRU, the wheels appeared to fall off the Spartans wagon as Callaghan caught fire from beyond the arc and pushed the Cougars lead to 10 points, at 67-57, with three straight 3-pointers. But the Spartans managed to recover. With MRU up 75-70, the Spartans went on a 10-0 run that gave TWU the cushion it would need to cruise to victory. In the dying seconds, a clutch rebound from Jackson, followed by a pair of made free throws, sealed the deal for TWU. The teams combined for eight 3-pointers, five from MRU and three from TWU, in the fourth quarter alone.
The teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
Game Notes: TWU shot 49.2 per cent from the field while MRU shot 44.8 per cent…MRU had a 39-35 edge in rebounding…MRU had 21 turnovers while TWU had 14.