Spartans Earn Third Place With Win Over UFV

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February 17, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s basketball clinched third place in the Pacific Division as it knocked off Fraser Valley 74-61 in both team’s season finale Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

With the Cascades up 59-54 early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) threw down a momentum-turning dunk that launched a 14-0 TWU run and gave the home side a 68-59 lead. As it turned out, that was all the Spartans would need to get the win just a day after falling to UFV 69-58.

After getting outscored 26-12 in the third quarter, the Spartans responded in the fourth quarter by turning the tables on the Cascades and outscoring them 23-5.

For a Cascades team that shot 38.3 per cent from 3-point range all season, which was the second highest average in Canada West, it was the long ball that let them down as they shot just 25.8 per cent and just 10.0 per cent in the fourth quarter. Conversely, the Spartans, who shot 34.5 per cent from distance over the season, hit 41.4 per cent of their 3-pointers.

It was also a tale of two games as UFV scored a combined 14 points in the first and fourth quarters while scoring 47 combined points in the second and third quarters.

The win, which allows TWU to finish in third place in the Pacific Division, gives the Spartans a 12-10 record on the season, while the loss drops UFV, who finishes fourth in the division, to 10-12.

The Spartans will now travel to Winnipeg to take on the Wesmen, who finished second in the Prairie Division, in the first round of the Canada West playoffs, while UFV will also be on the road to open the post-season as it’ll take on first-place and No. 10 ranked Saskatchewan.

In their lone meeting of the season, the Spartans lost 76-56 at home against Winnipeg. The Cascades lost 90-82 at home against Saskatchewan.

The Spartans had four different players hit double-digits in points as Mark Perrin (Toronto) had 17, graduating senior Tristan Smith (Los Angeles) had 16, McDonald had 14 and Tyler Lintell (Kelowna, B.C.) had 13. McDonald also had a game-high 11 rebounds while Smith added a game-high six assists with only one turnover.

For the Cascades, who also had four players in double digits for points, it was Sam Freeman (Coquitlam, B.C.) leading the way with 17 points, while James York (Richland, Wash.) had 16, Kevon Parchment (Toronto) had 15 and Kyle Grewal (Surrey, B.C.) had 11. Parchment also added a team-high six rebounds.

“I think we worked hard all year and we challenged our guys to play four quarters this year,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “I’m not sure if we did exactly that tonight, but in the fourth quarter, we played well. I think the guys were desperate to show that we can do it and we believed in each other. With UFV playing four of their starters for the full 40 minutes, for us to match-up with that with our younger guys is pretty tough. So our starters had to gut it out today and play more minutes and I think we saw that they responded well. Mark and Denny were amazing and Tristan’s assist to turnover ratio was exactly what we needed.”

The Spartans got off to a hot start in the opening quarter as they were four for eight from beyond the arc and out-rebounded the Cascades 12-6 en route to build a 22-9 advantage after the first 10 minutes. With UFV shooting just 18.2 per cent from the field, going two for 11, the Cascades were down by 13 going into the second quarter.

However, in the second frame, the Cascades battled back. Going seven for 17 from the field in the quarter, the Cascades got as close as four points after a Freeman 3-pointer made it 34-30. However, the Spartans responded to the Cascades run with five straight points, including a 3-pointer from Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.), to end the half up 39-30. The Spartans finished the half shooting 43.3 per cent from the field and 43.8 per cent from 3-point range while UFV shot 32.1 per cent from the field and 31.3 per cent from 3-point range.

Smith had a team-high nine points in the half while UFV’s Freeman and Parchment each had 10 for the visitors.

In the third quarter, the Spartans managed to push its lead to 10 points after Lintell dropped a 3-pointer to make it 44-34. But that’s when the Cascades went to work. Fraser Valley launched on a 14-3 run that gave the Cascades a 56-49 lead before Lintell dropped a lay-up at the buzzer to get TWU back to within five points, at 56-51, heading into the fourth quarter. Going seven for 11 from the field, UFV’s shooting struggles seemed to disappear, which proved to be the difference in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, UFV went up 59-54 early on, but then, a dunk by TWU’s McDonald turned the game the Spartans way. Following his dunk and, with the home crowd back into the game, McDonald scored the next four points and TWU was off to the races. McDonald’s effort launched what would turn into a 14-0 run that gave TWU a 68-59 lead. After that, the Spartans never allowed UFV back in it. With the Cascades shooting one for 10 from beyond the arc, UFV was unable to spark a late run.

For the second straight year, the Spartans will open the playoffs on the road. Last year, they travelled to Saskatoon where they were ultimately swept in two games by Saskatchewan.

“It’s a brand new season,” Allen said looking to the playoffs. “We have a hard road ahead of ourselves, with travel and playing in a foreign gym. It’ll be tough, but I like our chances with the how the guys are playing right now.”

Game Notes: TWU shot 47.3 per cent from the field while UFV shot just 34.9 per cent…TWU out-rebounded UFV 37-31.