February 9, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team officially clinched a Canada West playoff spot as they hung on for a 73-68 win over UBC Okanagan Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
With Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.) leading the way for TWU, collecting 19 points and eight rebounds, the Spartans improved to 10-9 on the season and qualified for the post-season for the third straight year. The win, which is the Spartans fifth in a row, puts TWU above the .500 mark for the first time all season.
The loss drops UBCO to 3-17 on the season.
After a dominant third quarter, the Spartans possessed a 19-point edge, 61-42, going into the final frame. But UBCO didn’t go down without a fight. The Heat outscored the Spartans 26-12, including 12 points from Yassine Ghomari (Vancouver), over the final 10 minutes, to make for a nervous final few minutes for TWU. In the end, however, the Spartans held off the Heat just long enough to earn the five-point win.
Beyond Jackson’s effort, the Spartans had three other players hit double digits in points, with Tristan Smith (Los Angeles), Mark Perrin (Toronto) and Kurtis Osborne (Tsawwassen, B.C.) collecting 10 points each. Perrrin also had eight rebounds to go with five steals while Smith had seven assists and three steals.
For UBCO, it was Ghomari leading with 12 points while Landry Ndayitwayeko (Windsor, Ont.) added 10 points. Seven other players had at least six points. Greet Gill (Osoyoos, B.C.) had a team-high five rebounds.
“We played hard for three quarters, but then we let up,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “That’s the sign of an immature team. Our bench didn’t show enough desperation and it looked like UBCO was playing for a win and we were playing just to survive. We’re going to have to change things in a hurry if we want to do well in the playoffs.
“I think defensively we played well for the first three quarters, but we stopped pressuring in the fourth quarter.”
In the first quarter, the Heat got off to a quick start, grabbing a 10-6 lead after a 3-pointer by Mitch Goodwin (Kelowna, B.C.) followed by a made free throw from Azi Fahandeg-Sadi (Kelowna, B.C.) broke a 6-6 tie. However, after that, TWU started take control. Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) had a team-high five points in the first quarter as he helped the Spartans respond with an 11-3 run that gave the home side a four-point edge, 17-13, after 10 minutes.
In the second quarter, the Spartans outscored UBCO 20-14 and with Jackson collecting a team-high 10 points, TWU was up 37-27 at halftime. The Heat’s Goodwin had a team-high eight points in the first half.
What was a competitive game up until the break turned lopsided in the second half. Trinity Western broke away early and with Jackson and Perrin each collecting six points in the third quarter, the Spartans pushed their lead to 19 points, 61-42, heading into the final frame.
However, in the fourth quarter, the Heat finally found its groove. Taking advantage of the Spartans filling the court with their bench players, UBCO went eight for 19 from the field over the final 10 minutes and six for 15 from 3-point range. The Heat made it a five-point game, at 73-68, when Fahandeg-Sadi converted a three-point play but, ultimately that would prove to be the final points of the game.
The two teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: With three games remaining in the regular season, the Spartans still have a chance at third place, trailing Fraser Valley by just one game…TWU had 20 turnovers while UBCO had 18…TWU had a 36-28 edge in rebounds…TWU shot 54.7 per cent from the field, while UBCO shot 39.3 per cent…TWU had 19 assists to UBCO’s 12.