VANCOUVER – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team made it a much closer game, but for the second straight night, the Spartans lost to UBC, falling 85-75 Saturday at War Memorial Gym.
Vartan Tanielian (Surrey, B.C.) had a career-high 21 points to lead TWU (0-4), but a second quarter in which UBC (3-1) outscored the Spartans 28-15 was the visitors’ undoing.
Trailing by 14 points at halftime, TWU rallied in the third quarter to make it a game, getting within three points on two occasions, but the hole was too deep for the Spartans to completely dig out from. In the fourth quarter, the Thunderbirds held off the Spartans to earn the 10-point win.
Besides Tanielian, the Spartans Lucas Mannes (Chilliwack, B.C.) and Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) had 16 points each to help lead TWU’s offence.
UBC had six players in double digits, with AJ Holloway, Philip Jalalpoor, Jordan Jensen-Whyte and Conor Morgan collecting 12 points each. Jalalpoor had a game-high eight rebounds.
“I thought we played a much more well-executed game at both ends of the floor and competed consistently,” said Spartans coach Aaron Muhic. “Our defense was sparked by the play of Matt Hayashi (Langley, B.C.), Dean Richey (Spokane, Wash.) and Eric Rogers (Chilliwack) off the bench. On offense Vartan Tanielian and Lucas Mannes were very aggressive and made some great shots for us. It was also nice to see Kelvin Smith get back on track offensively. I really thought Kelvin attacked the rim much better and was able to get himself into the good spots on the floor to score.”
TWU trailed by just one point, 24-23, after the first quarter, but UBC poured it on in the second quarter and were up 52-38 at the break.
The Spartans closed the gap to three points, 52-49, in the third quarter, but couldn’t get any closer and the T-Birds showed their depth late to earn the win.
TWU will travel to Winnipeg to play the Wesmen Nov. 20-21.