Spartans beat Mount Royal
TWU Basketball enjoys a 4-0 weekend.
The Trinity Western University basketball teams returned to the court this past weekend determined to erase the memory of poor showings in Calgary the previous week.
The Women’s team was pushed around by the Calgary Dinos en route to an 18-point loss while the Men suffered a heartbreaking defeat. The men trailed by as much as 15 at one point, but got the lead down to just one with 36 seconds left, but Tyler Lintell couldn’t hit a jumper at the buzzer mere moments after hitting a three-pointer to cut it to one.
Thankfully, the aftertaste of two cruel defeats did not hang over into the next weekend as both the Women’s and Men’s teams came out strong and beat Mount Royal at the Langley Events Centre.
The Women’s team opened with a thriller. The Spartans led over the Cougars and actually held the lead throughout most the game. However, the Cougars stayed close, as TWU was never able to open up their lead by more than five points in the second half. The Spartans inability to pull away hurt them late as the Cougars finally took their first lead of the game with 1:26 left in the 4th quarter as Emily Larson fought through contact to get a lay-up and a foul to give Mount Royal a 72-71 lead.
Larson missed the free throw though, and that gave the Spartans a chance to retake the lead as Holly Strom went around a nice screen and got a lay-up to go back in front. The lead was short-lived, though, as a defensive breakdown led to another easy basket for Larson. With the Spartans staring at a crushing loss, Strom took over the game once again, drawing a foul and sinking one of two free throws to force overtime.
Once in Overtime, the Spartans completely took over and did it with defense. Mount Royal failed to make a field goal as Strom paced the offense once again to a 12-2 run in overtime and an 86-76 victory. It was the Spartans first OT win since 2003.
The men on the other hand came through with a pair of clutch victories and now find themselves right where they want to be.
There was nothing overly special about the way TWU beat the Cougars; it was a little close for comfort on Friday night, but the Spartans were clutch down the stretch with a 30 point 4th quarter as Tonner Jackson and Mark Perrin paced the offense with over 20 points each.
On Saturday, the Spartans came out sloppy and fell behind by 10 in the first half, but quickly put the clamps down and ran away with the game in the second half. The Spartans only shot 39.5% from the floor, but hit 11 threes and consistently got to the foul line. The Spartans built the lead as high as 21 in the second half and cruised home to the 86-69 win with mostly bench players on the floor at the final buzzer.
Beating the now 3-13 Cougars is not overly significant. However, the Spartan men have now put themselves in position to play for a lot more. It was beginning to look like a lost season at the Christmas break, but TWU has gotten hot. With Thompson Rivers free falling into a four game losing streak, the Spartans now hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the Canada West Pacific Division. The playoff race will come to a critical mass this weekend as the Spartans travel to Kamloops to play TRU in a set of games that will go a long way toward deciding TWU’s postseason fate.