The Trinity Western University Spartans moved one step closer to securing a post season spot with an impressive 93-70 victory over the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Thursday night at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops.
The fourth place Spartans, who had five players in double digits in scoring, move to 8-9 in Canada West play, while the WolfPack drops to 6-12.
TWU has gotten healthy at the right time. After injuries saw the Spartans stumble out of the gate with a 2-7 record, the Langley squad has nearly flipped the record having won six of their last eight games.
After leading by as many as 14 points, 35-21, the Spartans entered half time with a slim five point lead, 43-38.
After the break Thompson Rivers cut the Trinity Western lead to three points, 45-42, but from that point on the Spartans took control. Over the next 10 minutes TWU would outscore TRU 41-17 to take a 27 point, 86-59, lead into the final five minutes of the game.
“Shooting percentage was the difference in the game for us,” stated Trinity Western bench boss Scott Allen.
“Our tenacity was the difference on the glass in the second half. Some of the guys were hitting their shots. On some days those wouldn’t go in; today they did. We had a lot assists in the second half as well.”
“We did not do a good job of handling the basketball,” said Thompson Rivers coach Scott Clark.
“In the third quarter, we missed some easy shots. When you turn the ball over ten times in that quarter, those are ten shots you don’t get. That proved to be costly.”
Trinity Western was led by third year forward Tonner Jackson with 21. Fifth year point guard Tristan Smith contributed 15 points, with third year guard Justin Bakuteka adding 14 and second year forward Tyler Linttell having 10.
Third year guard Mark Perrin had a double-double: 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Will Ondrik returned to the TRU line up for the first time in the 2013 calender year. He had seven points in 18 minutes of court time.
Allen thought the victory was key in the team’s chase for a playoff spot.
With five games remaining, the Spartans hold a two-and-a-half game lead over both the WolfPack and the UNBC Timberwolves (5-11) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
The two teams meet again at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday (Feb 1). Tip-off is 8 p.m.
Game Notes: TWU led in all shooting areas, finishing 45.6 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from the three point line and 73.1 percent from the foul line, while TRU shot 37.1 percent, 29.2 percent and 68.8 percent respectively; the Spartans also had a 46-33 edge in total rebounds.