LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western Spartans pushed the No. 4 UBC Thunderbirds for 30 minutes before falling 100-80 in Canada West men's basketball Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C.
Fifth year guard Josiah Allison (Abbotsford, B.C.) with 24 points led the Spartans in scoring, while fifth year guard Vartan Tanielian (Byblos, Lebanon) added 16 points. Third year forward Borja Soriano (Valencia, Spain) and third year guard Josiah Meppelink (Langley, B.C.) added 10 points and 10 rebounds each.
Manroop Clair with a game high 30 points and Grant Audu with 23 points and eight rebounds led the Thunderbirds.
The Spartans opened the game with a solid first quarter. Allison with nine points led the Spartans to a 26-25 lead after 10 minutes. TWU had a 16-10 advantage in rebounding. UBC's Clair kept pace for the Thunderbirds with 10 points.
The two teams continued to match each other through the second quarter. Alison finished the half with 18 points for the Spartans, while Clair had 15 points for the Thunderbirds, as TWU led 47-45 after 20 minutes. TWU finished the half shooting 43.8 per cent (16-39) from the field, while UBC shot 37.8 per cent (14-37).
Out of the half the Thunderbirds used a 16-4 run to jump out to a 61-51 lead four minutes into the second half. The Spartans battled back and after a lay-up by Tanielian had cut the Thunderbird lead to four point, 64-60, with 3:35 remaining in the quarter. The two teams exchanged baskets as UBC went into the final quarter with a five point lead, 69-64.
In the final quarter UBC gradually extended their lead to 10 points, 83-73, with five minutes remaining in the game. From there the Thunderbirds closed out the game with a 17-7 run to make the final 100-80 for UBC.
TWU Head Coach Aaron Muhic
"I really liked the way we responded after yesterday's game. We could have splintered apart, but our guys came back and battled. We have a lot of injuries, and we are pretty banged up, so I was super happy with the way we competed. And for at least three quarters we were right there."
"Our defense was pretty good at times, and that was because our bigs played super hard, were smart, and played tough in the paint for us."
"Josiah played one of the best games he has ever played. And Meppelink and Ethan DaSilva (fourth year guard, Calgary) did a great job of getting into the paint and putting stress on their defence. And that was probably the biggest difference for us as it allowed us to get good open shots."
- The T-birds finished the game shooting 46.5 per cent (33-71) from the field, while the Spartans finished at 39.7 per cent (31-78).
- Both teams finished with 46 rebounds.
- UBC had a decided advantage from the foul line shooting 23-30 to TWU's 9-15.
Trinity Western now travels to Winnipeg to take on the University of Manitoba next weekend for Friday (Jan 18) and Saturday (Jan 19) night games. Tip off times are 6 p.m. (PT) and 5 p.m. (PT) respectively. UBC is on the road in Brandon next weekend. All games can be seen live on Canadawest.tv.