TWU Spartans knock off No. 10 UBC on the road

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November 9, 2013, VANCOUVER (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team stifled the No. 10 UBC Thunderbirds defensively in the fourth quarter to earn a split in their weekend series, beating the ‘Birds 73-66 on Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.

It was a see-saw battle that included nine lead changes and lopsided scoring margins in each of the four quarters, with the ‘Birds dominating the first and third, and the Spartans taking control in the second and fourth.

The Spartans trailed by five entering the fourth, but they quickly surged ahead 63-62 on a 7-1 run. From there, the TWU defence took over, forcing six fourth-quarter turnovers and holding the T-Birds to a total of five points in the frame.

This was just the Spartans second regular season win over UBC since 2004. The Spartans also won at home on Jan. 8, 2009, when TWU beat the T-Birds 87-78. Prior to that, TWU’s last win over UBC was in the regular season on Nov. 27, 2004. The last time TWU beat UBC on the road in a regular season contest was Jan. 10, 2004, when they won 89-74.

After UBC tied things up again at 66, Tyler Linttell (Kelowna, B.C.) got the go-ahead basket for the Spartans with just under two minutes to go. UBC then turned the ball over on two straight offensive fouls, allowing the visitors to clinch things at the free throw line with 28 seconds left. Anthony Ottley (Toronto) made the first and missed the second one short, but grabbed his own rebound and put it back for a five-point lead.

Ottley was involved in another key momentum-swinging play at the end of the second quarter. UBC was inbounding the ball with five seconds left before halftime, but the Spartans stole it and got it to Ottley, who put up a quick shot from very long range and got it to fall, giving the Spartans a one-point lead at the break.

“This is obviously a big win for us,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “The guys have been working hard and I think they deserved to have some success tonight. We had as balanced offence and that was what got us the win. It’s always a challenge, mentally, to beat a strong program like UBC, so this is a big confidence boost. Hopefully we can keep building on this.”

The T-Birds were already missing guard Isaiah Solomon and winger Conor Morgan heading into the game, and starting point guard Jordan Jensen-Whyte was forced to play through a mild ankle sprain he suffered in the third quarter.

The lack of healthy personnel and resulting fatigue in the second night of a back-to-back may have played a part in UBC’s struggles at the free throw line, where they hit just 20 of 35 attempts for a 57 percent mark.

Ottley and Tyus Allen (White Rock, B.C.) each had 12 points to lead the Spartans. Justin Bakuteka (Toronto), Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) and Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) all scored in double figures as well, as TWU shot 41 percent from the field.

Tonner Jackson led the way for UBC against his former team, recording 13 points and 11 rebounds. David Wagner scored 14, Andrew McGuinness had 12, and Tommy Nixon added 10 as the T-Birds shot 37 percent overall.

Both teams are now 2-2 after splitting the series. The Spartans will return home for a two-game series against UNBC next weekend, while UBC hits the road to take on Thompson Rivers in Kamloops.

Games Notes: Last year’s leading scorer for the Spartans Mark Perrin played just one minute after playing only 14 minutes Friday…UBC had a 40-31 edge in rebounds.