TWU Spartans come up shy in defensive battle with Cascades

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by Mark Janzen

February 14, 2014, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – Despite putting together its best defensive effort of the year, the Trinity Western men’s basketball team lost 58-54 against Fraser Valley in the Spartans final home game of the year Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

With the loss, the Spartan drop to 10-11 on the season and fall out of playoff contention, while Fraser Valley improves to 16-5 and, as already confirmed, will finish second in the Pacific Division. The Spartans will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10.

In a defensive struggle that saw UFV shoot 36.2 per cent and the Spartans shoot 28.3 per cent, the Cascades hung onto a late lead to earn a hard-fought win. With TWU up 48-45, the Cascades went on an 8-1 run, thanks in large part to back-to-back 3-pointers from Klaus Figueredo, to take a 53-49 lead. The Spartans got to within one point, at 55-54, after an Anthony Ottley (Toronto) 3-pointer, but the home side never got any closer.

The Spartans out-rebounded UFV 45-44 and had a 15-7 edge on the offensive glass but weren’t able to find the offensive form that saw them garner 75.8 points per game during the season.

The Cascades were led offensively by the tandem of Figueredo and Kevon Parchment, who each had 21 points. Parchment added 13 rebounds to complete the double-double while Jasper Moedt also put up a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Spartans Ottley responded with a double-double of his own, earning 14 points and 11 rebounds while Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) added 10 points and seven rebounds.

“That was one of the best games we played all year and we played great defensively after practising it all week,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “We focused on defence and positioning for six days and we did a stellar job and saw a lot of improvements. We did everything we needed to do, but we just didn’t put the ball in the hoop. It’s upsetting for the guys because you could see that they really cared and they really worked hard.”

The Cascades raced out to an 8-0 lead to start the game before the Spartans responded, closing the gap to just two points, at 10-8. However, UFV closed out the quarter with a 6-1 run to take a 16-9 lead into the second frame.

Trinity Western opened the second quarter with 8-0 run of their own and after a Smith 3-pointer, took a 17-16 lead. With momentum in their corner, the Spartans pushed their lead to six points at 24-18. But shortly thereafter, UFV snagged momentum right back. Sparked by a Moedt layup, the Cascades launched a 14-0 that gave the visitors a 32-24 lead. TWU scored three points late to get within five at the break, trailing 32-27.

The third quarter saw UFV score the first three points before TWU went on a 9-0 run that gave the Spartans a 36-35 lead. But by the end of the frame, the Cascades, despite shooting 18.8 per cent from the field in the quarter, restored their five point lead and went into the fourth quarter up 45-40.

Similar to the second and third quarters, the Spartans came out in the fourth quarter with a quick 8-0 run that gave TWU a 48-45 lead. But, also like the second and third frames, UFV responded and after two straight Figueredo treys, took a 53-49 lead. Inside the final two minutes, Ottley got TWU within one point at 55-54, but Figueredo came back with a jumper to make it a three-point game. With six seconds left, Parchment free throw put UFV up by four and put the game to bed.

The Spartans and Cascades will play the back end of their home and home series Saturday in Abbotsford, B.C. at 7 p.m. in both team’s final game of the regular season.

Game Notes: The Spartans previous best defensive effort this year was Nov. 30 in a 60-57 win over Victoria…TWU was eight for 16 from the free throw line while UFV was eight for 15…TWU shot 23.1 per cent from 3-point range while UFV shot 33.3 per cent.