Wesmen Even Series, Force Game 3

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February 24, 2013, Winnipeg (ISN) – A hot shooting Winnipeg Wesmen side defeated the Trinity Western men’s basketball team 77-68 Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre to even their best-of-three Canada West Quarter-Final series at 1-1.

Winnipeg shot 53 per cent from the field and stepped up their defensive play holding the Spartans to 68 points, including just 30 in the opening half.

Andrew Cunningham led the Wesmen with 16 points and 17 assists. Cunningham’s 17 helpers ties a Canada West single game assists record. Calgary’s Whitby Hornsberger set the mark in 2003. Steven Wesley and Travis Krahn each scored 14 points for the Wesmen, with Krahn finishing the contest with four 3-pointers. Jordan Clennon added 10 points.

Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.) led the Spartans with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) had 14 points while guard Tristan Smith (Los Angeles) finished with 13 points and nine assists. After Jackson was good on 12 of 13 free throws in Friday’s win, on Saturday, he didn’t earn a single trip to the charity stripe.

“We struggled tonight, especially with our guard’s 3-point shooting,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “In that regard, we can only get better, so I’m looking forward to Sunday’s game. We have to come back tomorrow and be more disciplined in how we run our systems. We just need to get into our sets a little earlier because when we did that in the third quarter we had a lot of success.”

A focused and determined Wesmen squad opened the contest scoring eight of the first 10 points before the game was four minutes old. The Spartans narrowed the deficit to 15-13 late in the quarter but a 3-pointer by Benny Iko followed by a last second basket from Krahn gave Winnipeg a 20-13 lead after the opening frame.

Winnipeg continued to put the pressure on the Spartans in the second quarter and on a few occasions was able to build a double digit lead. But, the Spartans Mark Perrin (Toronto) answered back, scoring five straight points to cut the Wesmen lead to 33-28. Winnipeg held its ground and extended its lead at halftime to 40-30 thanks, in part, to baskets by Steven Wesley and then a 3-pointer by Krahn with eight seconds left in the quarter.

The Wesmen continued to hold a double digit lead for a good portion of the third quarter. However, the Spartans did not fold, scoring 10 straight points to cut the Winnipeg lead to 54-51. The Spartans would eventually go on to outscore the Wesmen 26-19 in the quarter to close the gap to just three points, at 59-56, heading into the fourth quarter.

The Wesmen started the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run in the opening 1:30, which extended their lead back to double digits, at 67-56, and, ultimately, put the game out of reach. The Spartans cut the Wesmen lead to 74-68 late in the frame, but Cunningham drained three foul shots to seal the contest for Winnipeg.

Game Notes: TWU shot just 24.0 per cent from 3-point range while Winnipeg shot 43.5 per cent…TWU shot 66.7 per cent from the free throw line while Winnipeg shot 77.8 per cent…in Game 3, the Spartans will be looking to win their first ever road playoff series.

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