LANGLEY, British Columbia – Elliott Sentence had 34 points as he led Lethbridge to a 100-84 win over Trinity Western Saturday at the David E. Enarson Gym on the Spartans campus.
Lethbridge took a second quarter lead and, despite a strong second half push from the home side, the visiting Pronghorns were largely in control throughout the game en route to a weekend sweep of the Spartans.
With Lethbridge up 76-73 early in the fourth quarter, the Pronghorns went on a 14-2 run that buried the Spartans (2-8) for good.
Mike Pierzchala had 23 points for the Pronghorns while Dejon Burdeaux had 19 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Pogos Trunyan (Sacramento, Calif.) had his best game as a Spartan, collecting 29 points while going seven for eight from 3-point range. Trunyan’s 3-point shooting percentage (87.5) marked the best single game 3-point shooting percentage (with at least six made baskets) in TWU history. Brian Banman previously held the record at .857 (six for seven), which he put up Nov. 25, 2005 against Alberta.
TWU’s Patrick Vandervelden (Abbotsford, B.C.) had his second 20-point game in as many nights while adding seven rebounds and Vartan Tanielian (Surrey, B.C.) had 17 points.
Lethbridge won the battle on the glass with a 37-25 edge in rebounds, including a 15-8 advantage on the offensive boards. The Pronghorns had 11 steals to TWU’s four.
“I thought we were ready to play tonight,” said TWU coach Aaron Muhic. “Looking at the first half, we did some good things at times but we weren’t all that consistent. We are definitely scoring enough, but we’re giving up points and we’re not able to get the stops we need. They dominated us on offensive boards and they wanted it more. Defensively, we can’t let the other team’s main guys get above their scoring average when we know who they are and what they do. That’s not on just those guys guarding them but that’s on the whole team. We just need know how to fight and make it a fight.”
The teams played a back-and-forth opening quarter with TWU striking early before Lethbridge pressed late to take a 31-28 lead into the second quarter. Trunyan was a perfect five for five from 3-point land to lead TWU with 15 points, while Sentance had a team-high 12 points for the Pronghorns.
Lethbridge shot 64.7 per cent in the first quarter while TWU shot 58.8 per cent.
The offence slowed a bit in the second quarter, with the teams tallying 18 points apiece, and they went into the break with Lethbridge up 49-46.
Trunyan had 21 points at halftime and was six for seven from beyond the arc. Sentence had 23 points, including eight free throws.
TWU was within single digits of the Pronghorns for most of the third quarter, getting as close as one point early on – a Vandervelden lay-up made it 54-53 – but the Spartans never took a lead. With Lethbridge duplicating its second quarter shooting, going 11-17 (64.7 per cent), the Pronghorns held a 76-69 lead with 10 minutes to play.
The Spartans looked on the verge of making it a game when Josiah Meppelink (Langley) drained a 3-point shot to make it 76-73. But the Pronghorns put up 14 of the next 16 points to snare momentum back and retake control.
Prior to Christmas, TWU will travel to Alaska to play two exhibition games against the University of Alaska Anchorage (NCAA Div. II) Dec. 17-18 and one against the University of Alaska Fairbanks (NCAA Div. II) Dec. 19.
“We play three games in three games against some very good teams with different rules,” said Muhic, who grew up in Anchorage. “We’re going to make the most of them and have some fun and see the homeland. I’m looking forward to it and I think it’ll be good bonding for the guys at this point in the year.”
The Spartans are back on the court for Canada West regular season action Jan. 6-7, when they travel to play Winnipeg.
Games Notes: At halftime, the Spartans honoured their cross country teams by raising of their 2016 Canada West championship banners…TWU has now lost seven consecutive games against Lethbridge.