(ISN) – Kamloops, BC—It was a historic night for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team.
The WolfPack won their first ever home Canada West playoff game. At the old TRU Gym on Thursday (Feb 19), Thompson Rivers captured the opening game of their best of three play in series with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. The score was 86-78.
WolfPack head coach Scott Clark says their quick start…where they led 20-10 after the first quarter was a departure from many nights this season, where they struggled out of the gate. “It was a pretty good start. We got some good looks and did a pretty good job of defensive transition.”
As far as the rest of the contest was concerned: “There was some bite to us. We had some fight on the glass and our defensive resiliency was high. We looked pretty ugly in some defensive situations but all in all we didn’t wallow in it at all and came back.
The Wesmen were up 42-30 at the half But TRU came out of the dressing room and outgunned Winnipeg 27-21 in the third quarter before finishing strong with 29 points in the fourth quarter to Winnipeg’s 15.
The WolfPack were led by Brett Rouault (fifth year, guard, Vernon, BC) with 22 points.
Josh Wolfram (fourth year, forward, Kamloops, BC) had a double double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
It was the same for Tallon Milne (fifth year, forward, Vanderhoof, BC), who had 11 points and 17 rebounds-11 on the defensive glass.
The other WolfPack player in double figures was Reese Pribilsky (fourth year, guard, Victoria, BC). He had 17 points.
Clark admitted the large crowd at the TRU Gym had an effect. “It was a good crowd. With things being a little tight having them there was good. It was great cheering them on. In a game where the guys logged lots of minutes their cheering can probably help make a difference emotionally. In terms of confidence it could have been a distraction for the opposition. I was happy with the big support for the guys. We appreciate it.”
Winnipeg had four players in double figures. Denzel Lynch-Blair (first year, guard, Toronto, ON) had 22 points. Jelane Pryce (fourth year, forward, Innisfil, ON) chipped in with 16 points. While Christopher Baxter (third year, guard, Inglewood, CA) counted 14 and Ryan Oirbans (second year, forward, Melbourne, AUS) added 10.
Game two of the series is Friday night (Feb 20) at the TRU gym beginning at 7 pm.
“It was one win and it takes two to win the series,” said Clark about the importance of the opening victory. “There is another one to be done. It is our job to put this behind us and say that is that. We need to move on.”
Should a third game be needed, it would be played at the TRU gym on Saturday (Feb 21). Tip off would be 5pm. The winner of the series moves to the Canada West quarterfinals next week against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Friday and Saturday’s tilts will be shown on CanadaWest.TV.