LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team came up on the short end of Thursday’s preseason tilt with Western as the Spartans fell 79-67 at the Langley Events Centre.
Midway through the third quarter, the Mustangs took a 48-46 lead and went on a 10-0 run that turned the game in the visitors favour for good. The Spartans had climbed back from an eight-point halftime deficit to get within two points, but Western ended the home side’s momentum with its game-turning run in less than three minutes.
From there, the Mustangs held the Spartans off and the visitors cruised to a 12-point win.
Led by Greg Morrow (London, Ont.), who had a game-high 29 points and nine rebounds, the Mustangs earned a win in their first CIS preseason game of the year.
The loss drops the Spartans to 1-4 in the preseason against CIS competition.
The Mustangs used an effective three-ball to down the Spartans as they shot 42.1 per cent, going eight for 19, while TWU was just four for 18 from beyond the arc. Western also had a 14-8 edge in steals.
The Spartans out-rebounded Western 36-34 and had 16 second chance points to Western’s nine, but a 34.4 shooting percentage was TWU’s undoing. Western shot 39.1 per cent from the field.
Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) led TWU with 15 points while Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) and Taylor Heinrichs (Port Moody, B.C.) collected nine points each. The Spartans had 11 players play at least 10 minutes and their bench outscored Western’s bench 21-14.
Beyond Morrow, Western’s Stevan Manojlovic had 15 points and Quinn Henderson added 11 points.
“We got a good lesson on how to play intense basketball,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “Our defence was pretty suspect tonight compared to what we are capable of doing. But seeing the level of intensity we need to play at in order to succeed is a good lesson for us early in the season. Next week the guys will learn to play at that intensity and that will help us in the future.”
The Mustangs Morrow led the visitors with nine points in the opening quarter as it was Western taking a 23-16 lead after 10 minutes. Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) responded with seven points for TWU, but the Spartans found themselves trailing early and a late 5-0 run put Western up 23-14 late in the quarter. The Spartans Jesse Jeffers (North Vancouver, B.C.) knocked a pair of free throws to close the gap just before the buzzer.
The teams went back and forth throughout the second quarter and at halftime, Western led 41-33. Morrow continued to push the Mustangs offence has he added another 10 points in the quarter to give himself 17 points at the break.
Turnovers were the difference in the first half as Western scored 14 points off of turnovers compared to TWU’s seven.
Midway through the third quarter, the Spartans closed to within two points at 48-46, but their momentum was short-lived. The Mustangs responded with a 10-0 run, capped by a Manojlovic 3-pointer to make ti 58-46. By the end of the third quarter, Western was up 63-52.
In the final frame, Western largely held the Spartans at bay and rolled to a double-digit win.
The Spartans are back on the court Friday when they travel to play Fraser Valley at 7 p.m. Western continues their Pacific Coast exhibition tour when it plays UBC Friday at 7 p.m. and Thompson Rivers Saturday at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: This was the first time the Spartans and Mustangs have every played each other…TWU had 19 turnovers to Western’s 13.