by Larry Read
February 14, 2014, Kelowna, BC (ISN) – Valentine’s Day came 24 hours early for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team. The WolfPack treated themselves as they clinched third place in the Canada West Pacific Division.
TRU downed the host University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat 77-72 Thursday night (Feb 13) in Kelowna. The win means that the WolfPack, now 13 and 8 will avoid heading to Alberta to start the playoffs next week (Feb 21-23). The Heat fall to 3 and 18.
The teams were tied at 19 after the first quarter and UBCO led by two 36-34 at the half. After TRU outscored the Heat 22-12 in the third quarter, they had to hold off UBCO who outgunned the ‘Pack 24-22 in the final quarter.
TRU was led by Josh Wolfram (3rd year, forward, Kamloops, BC) who had 18 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes of time.
Ta’Quan Zimmerman (3rd year, guard, Waterbury, CT) actually led them points wise with 19. Brett Parker (3rd year, guard, Langley, BC) was the only TRU player in double digits with 10.
The WolfPack welcomed back Troy Grant (2nd year, guard, Brampton, ON), Will Ondrik (3rd year, forward, Vernon, BC) and Zach Usherwood (3rd year, guard, Coquitlam, BC) from the injury list.
Grant saw 20 minutes of court time, Ondrik was on for three minutes while Usherwood was on the court for four minutes as they gear up for the post season, TRU’s first ever.
UBCO was led by Uassine Ghomari (5th year, guard, Vancouver, BC) with 19 points while Stuart Wallensteen (2nd year, post, Nanaimo, BC) added 14 points and David Manschrek had 12 rebounds.
The two teams will close out the Canada West regular season on Saturday afternoon (Feb 15) at the TRU gym in Kamloops, BC. Tip off is 2pm.
Following the game on Saturday, the ‘President’s Cups” will be awarded. This is the first year that the President’s Cup competition has been held between Thompson Rivers University and the University of British Columbia Okanagan. The President’s cup is awarded in competition between the two schools in soccer (men’s and women’s), volleyball (men’s and women’s), basketball (men’s and women’s) and golf (men’s and women’s).
The competition was originally between the old University College of the Cariboo and Okanagan University College (1993-2003).
Going into the 2013-14 campaign, Thompson Rivers (UCC) had won the last seven men’s trophies after UBCO (OUC) took the first four. The women’s trophy has been won by UBCO (OUC) six times with Thompson Rivers (UCC) capturing it on five occasions.
Going into this week’s basketball games: TRU swept in men’s volleyball, split in men’s soccer, lost in men’s and women’s golf, was swept by UBCO in women’s volleyball and won and tied against UBCO in women’s soccer.
A reminder that TRU season’s tickets will be honored for this game. They will not be valid for the WolfPack/Saskatchwan Huskies men’s volleyball playoff series which continues Friday (Feb 14) at the TRU Gym. That is a 7 pm start time. TRU leads the best of three affair 1-0 after a three set victory on Thursday night.