Peter James, UNBC Communications
PRINCE GEORGE - It took until the second half for the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves men's basketball team's offence to kick into gear, but when it did it accelerated quickly in an 85-70 win over the Trinity Western Spartans on Saturday night at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
The Timberwolves connected on just two of 11 three-point chances in the first quarter, but finished the 11-for-34 from beyond the arc as they defeated the Spartans for the second straight game. Both teams are now 2-4 in Canada West Universities Athletic Association play.
"I thought we got really good looks in the first half and the way we play, we're a three-point shooting team. We're small we have to space people out and move the ball," UNBC head coach Todd Jordan said. "I said to the guys at half, 'we've got guys who can shoot the ball and those are going to fall eventually' and thankfully they did."
Marcus MacKay was one of the few Timberwolves to have success early on, scoring nine of the team's 18 first-quarter points and finished with a game-high 26. He made four of his six three-pointers in the third quarter as the Timberwolves turned a three-point lead at the break into a 21-point lead after 30 minutes.
Vaggelis Loukas, who logged 31 minutes with Austin Chandler out of the lineup with an injury, scored 19 points and was a force on defence.
"With Austin being out Vaggelis had to really step up and play some minutes," Jordan said. "I thought he really did a good job of controlling the paint at certain points in the game when we really needed to and that made a big difference."
Rhys Elliott had another strong outing, going seven-for-12 from the field for 18 points.
James Agyeman contributed 10 assists to the offensive effort.
"This weekend we decided to play aggressive on the offensive and defensive ends," Agyeman said. "We decided to attack, penetrate and look for the open shooters. That's what happened today."
Max Viitala led the Spartans with 12 points, Peter Spangehl with 11, and Vartan Tanielian had 10.
Trinity Western finished the first quarter strong and held an 18-16 lead after 10 minutes. The Spartans led by as many as six in the second quarter, but weren't able to match the Timberwolves in the second half.
The back-to-back wins were key for the Timberwolves as they look to dig out of an early-season hole and get back into the playoff race.
"We needed to get this done this weekend to keep ourselves in the mix of things," Jordan said. "Anytime you win a couple of games the guys start feeling a little better, but we've got to make sure we don't get too confident."
UNBC travels to the University of the Fraser Valley next week for games Friday and Saturday. Trinity Western hosts Regina for a pair of games.