Nov 07, 2014

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team was looking for its first win of the season in their home opener against Alberta, but instead it was the Bears earning the win, knocking off TWU 85-59 Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

While the first three quarters of the game saw the Spartans hang within striking distance of the Bears, Alberta put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter and finished the game with a 26-point lead. The Bears move to 2-1 in the season while the Spartans drop to 0-3.

“We took care of the ball a little better but we just have to shoot the ball better and we have to get more assists,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen, who team committed just 12 turnovers to Alberta’s 18. “We got down by a few points and panic mode set in. Guys just became a little selfish. I don’t think they did it on purpose, but they’re not seeing the floor as well as they should be.

“We need to get more assists and get more easy shots. That’s what the better teams do.”

Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) led the Spartans with 12 points and five rebounds while Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) contributed 10 points and three rebounds.

It was Alberta’s Mamadou Gueye that led the game with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Teammate Joel Friesen tallied 16 points and nine rebounds.

TWU shot 28.1 percent compared to Alberta who hit 53.1 percent. The Bears also shot 56.3 per cent from 3-point range while TWU was at just 19.0 per cent.

Alberta took an early 13-6 lead thanks in part to pair of early 3-pointers. The Spartans came within a point of the Bears, at 14-13, before Alberta took off again and ended the quarter up 19-13.

The Spartans stayed within reach of Alberta in the second quarter as the score moved up to 23-18. However, the Bears pushed ahead late and gained a nine-point lead. Alberta outscored TWU 16-13 in the quarter and ended the first half leading 35-26.

The second half kicked off with Alberta making the first few baskets and keeping its lead. Both McDonald and Jesse Jeffers (North Vancouver, B.C.) added to the excitement of the game by each throwing down a dunk for the Spartans. Despite the TWU effort, Alberta furthered its lead, ending the quarter ahead 60-45.

In the fourth quarter, Alberta pulled away, outscoring TWU 25-14 en route to a convincing win.

“I thought we did a good job on defensive transition,” Allen said. “In the half-court, they were more patient. We have to stop the dribble penetration. It just destroyed us. They were doing what a good basketball team does.”

The Spartans meet the Bears in a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. at the LEC.

Game Notes: The Bears out-rebounded TWU 46-29…Alberta had four blocks to TWU’s one.