VANCOUVER, BC–The Trinity Western University Spartans used a strong second half to overcome a lackluster first to defeat the University of Alberta Golden Bears 82-74 Saturday night. The win gave the Spartans the Canada West Bronze Medal.
The first quarter was a game extended scoring runs. TWU got off to a strong start by scoring the game’s first four points. However, the Golden Bears took advantage of a lackluster Spartans squad, who seemed were still feeling the effects of the devastating loss they had suffered to the Saskatchewan Huskies the night before.
“I think we were really tired,” TWU head coach Scott Allen commented. “The guys laid it on the line yesterday and had a couple bad breaks.”
Alberta would score the next 13 points to take a 13-4 lead. TWU would respond with a 7-0 run of their own. The quarter ended with the Golden Bears on top 17-16. Seven players scored for the Spartans with Tyrell Mara leading the way with four points. Second year forwards Robert Dewar and Jordan Baker contributed eight and four points for Alberta, respectively. Fourth year scoring machine, Daniel Ferguson, was held off the scoreboard.
Alberta would come out on fire in the second frame as Ferguson began to find his range, scoring eight points. The Golden Bears would grab a 10-point lead during the quarter, 30-20. That lead was trimmed down to 40-33 by halftime as Canada West first team All-Star, Jacob Doerksen, scored nine points giving him 11 for the half.
With so much attention on Doerksen and Mara, someone else would have to contribute if the Spartans wanted to pull this one out. Those two were guards Kyle Coston and Daniel Horner. The two combined for 21 points in the third quarter. Their efforts catapulted the Spartans who had tied the game 58-58 at the end of three. Setting up the crucial fourth quarter.
The Spartans run would continue into the fourth quarter. TWU used key baskets and timely defensive stops to pull away from the Golden Bears down the stretch.
“The role players stepped up today,” said coach Allen. “They had to have bigger games… it was great to see Danny out there contributing.”
The Spartans received another double-double from Doerksen, who finished the game with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Coston scored 14 points and Horner shot 4-for-5 to finish the game with 13 points. Jordan Baker responded from a lackluster performance the night before against UBC, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Daniel Ferguson shot a meager 6-for-19 on the night to finish with 15 points.
With losses by both Cape Breton and St. Francis Xavier, the Spartans plans of making their first ever trip to Nationals are less certain then they were going into the night. TWU now awaits the draw which takes place tomorrow night to see if they will be heading to Nova Scotia to compete for the National Championship.
“It’s a waiting game now, “Allen said. “We put ourselves in this situation so this is our punishment.”
PHOTO COURTESY: THE PROVINCE