February 2, 2013, Kamloops, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team raced out to a 22-4 first quarter lead and then hung on for an 83-75 win over Thompson Rivers Friday at the Tournament Capital Centre.
After the Spartans took an18-point first quarter lead, the WolfPack chipped away throughout the game and eventually took its first lead of the night at 73-71 with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter. But the Spartans, weren’t going to let TRU spoil their effort as they finished the game with a 12-2 run that sealed the win.
The victory improved TWU to 9-9, which sees the Spartans at .500 for the first time all year. The only team that can catch the Spartans for the fourth and final Pacific Division playoff position is UNBC, which sits four games back, at 5-12, with five games remaining. The loss drops TRU to 6-13 and, with just three games left on its schedule, eliminates the WolfPack from playoff contention.
The Spartans had a balanced attack, in which five players hit double-digits in points. Tristan Smith (Los Angeles) led the way with 18 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.) added 17 points and five boards, Tyler Lintell (Kelowna, B.C.) had 15 points and four rebounds, Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) had 14 points and five rebounds and Mark Perrin (Toronto) had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
For TRU, who had four players with double-digit points, it was Kevin Pribilsky with a team-high 18 points while Troy Grant added 16. Blaz Bozinovic had a game-high 10 rebounds.
“It was a good, gutsy effort from the guys tonight,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “We didn’t do very well on the offensive boards (collecting just six rebounds on the offensive glass), but we did handle their runs well. Each time they had a bit of a push, we responded well and the guys were structured and shared the ball well. Balanced scoring was one of the key things for us to get the win.”
The Spartans scored the game’s first nine points and, after extending that lead to 22-4 before the contest was seven minutes old, it looked the game was going to be a route. But TRU finished the quarter with a 7-1 run that got the WolfPack back to within 12 points going into the second frame.
In the second quarter, it was TRU continuing to push and, with a 3-pointer from Brett Rouault with 30 seconds left, the WolfPack made it a six-point game, 41-35, at half.
The Spartans reestablished their double-digit lead in the third quarter, going up by as much as 14 points, at 51-37. But again, TRU made it close late and only trailed by five points heading to the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, TRU kept the comeback on and with a layup from Rouault took its first lead of the night, 73-71. But that advantage was short-lived. Lintell made a layup just over 30 seconds later to tie the game. From there, TWU never trailed. Then, after Jackson put up a jumper to give TWU a 75-73 lead, the game had a stretch that lasted 1:59 without a score from either team. Another layup from Lintell ended the offensive drought and gave TWU a 77-73 advantage. After the teams scored two points each, making it 79-75, the Spartans were four for four on free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Both teams are back on the court Feb. 8-9, with TWU hosting UBC Okanagan and the WolfPack visiting Fraser Valley.
Game Notes: TWU shot 40.8 per cent from the field while TRU shot 37.7 per cent…TWU shot 62.5 per cent from the free throw line while TRU shot 85.0 per cent…TRU had a 47-40 edge in rebounds.