Spartans second half proves undoing, as TWU loses to UNBC

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November 15, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The visiting UNBC Timberwolves outscored the Trinity Western men’s basketball team 44-27 in the second half as they pulled away for a 79-65 win over the Spartans Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

Hitting 13 3-pointers on just 26 shots from beyond the arc, the Timberwolves (2-3) lit up the Spartans (2-3) all night from the outside and TWU was only able to counter with four 3-pointers of their own on 23 attempts.

While TWU was 19 for 25 from the free throw line, compared to UNBC, which was just 10 for 20, it wasn’t enough as the Spartans had just 18 points from the field in the second half.

Jeff Chu had a team-high 19 points for UNBC while Charles Barton added 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Spartans were led by Justin Bakuteka (Toronto), who had 12 points, while Jesse Jeffers (North Vancouver, B.C.) and Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) each had eight points and six rebounds.

“Once again we struggled in our ability to guard the 3-point shot,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “We have to execute better on defence and become more disciplined. If we don’t, we’re going to get too far behind for any chance of a playoff spot.

“When two of our top scorers combine to go two for 25 (Bakuteka was 2 for 10 and Anthony Ottley (Toronto) was 1 for 15), you’re not going to win many games. We need to just keep sharing the ball and get ourselves easier looks.”

It was a slow start to the first quarter for both teams as it was UNBC up 4-3 after six minutes. But a Matthew Blackaby (Maple Ridge, B.C.) lay-up seemed to spark both offences as the teams traded points over the last four minutes with TWU taking a 16-14 lead into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, both teams found their rhythm, but it was UNBC taking a four-point lead, at 29-25, after a Marcus MacKay 3-pointer. However, a spinning take to the rim from McDonald got TWU to within two points and then a Bakuteka jumper tied it 29-29. Inside the final minute, Robert Rodriguez raced the length of the court and put it in off the glass to give TWU 37-35 lead. Shortly thereafter a TWU made free throw put the Spartans up by three, 38-35, at the break.

Early in the third quarter, the Timberwolves went on a 5-0 run to take a 47-43 lead. The Spartans responded and after a pair of free throws from Jeffers, pulled ahead 49-47. But the Timberwolves finished the quarter on a 10-2 run, capped by a Billy Cheng 3-pointer, and went into the final frame up 57-51.

In the fourth quarter, UNBC kept buzzing. Midway through the frame the Timberwolves Daniel Stark tallied from distance to give the visitors a 13-point lead at 73-60. After that, TWU never challenged and UNBC cruised to a 14-point win.

The teams will play a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. at the LEC.

Game Notes: TWU out-rebounded UNBC 43-38…the Spartans had an 11-7 edge in steals…TWU’s leading scorer from last year, Mark Perrin (Toronto), missed the game due to injury.