No. 2 UBC pushes past Spartans with strong third quarter

No. 2 UBC pushes past Spartans with strong third quarter

By Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University

LANGLEY, British Columbia – On the strength of a dominant third quarter, the No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds picked up an 87-67 win over Trinity Western Friday at the Langley Events Centre.  

The Spartans were step for step with the T-Birds through the first 20 minutes, trailing by just two points at the break, but UBC found its form in the third quarter, outscoring TWU 26-9, en route to a convincing win.

The T-Birds earned the win largely without their leading scorer Conor Morgan, who left the game early in the first quarter with a leg injury. Morgan entered the game averaging a Canada West-leading 24.3 point per game.

Jordan Jensen-Whyte had a game-high 18 points to lead UBC, while Will Ondrik had a double double, with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Isaiah Familia had 17 points and A.J. Holloway had 14 points.

The Spartans were led by Josiah Allison (Abbotsford, B.C.), who had 17 points, while Pogos Trunyan (Sacramento, Calif.) had 14 points and five rebounds.

UBC, who entered the game shooting a conference-best 48.7 per cent from the field, was held to 42.9 per cent. TWU shot 39.7 per cent. The T-Birds out-rebounded TWU 47-30.

"I thought Matt Hayashi (Langley) was really tough for us tonight," said Spartans coach Aaron Muhic. "He showed that he can compete. I thought Josiah Allison had a great game defensively and offensively. We're getting a lot of Peter (Spangehl, White Rock, B.C.). He doesn't score a lot, but he really hustles around the court and leads in that way. I thought our first half was great until the two-minute mark. We executed our game plan. But we need to figure out how to beat them. We need to play a full game and we can't play soft at any point. I think we can do it, but we need to believe."

The T-Birds jumped out to an early five-point lead, 11-6, but TWU hung tight with UBC, holding the visitors to 28.6 per cent shooting while shooting 42.1 per cent themselves. With six different Spartans scoring in the quarter, TWU trailed by just one point, 19-18, going into the second frame.

With a boisterous crowd on their side, the Spartans went up 24-19 early in the second quarter after Trunyan knocked down a 3-pointer. With TWU up 29-24, the T-Birds responded with a 10-0 run that put the visitors up by five points with just over a minute to play. A late 3-pointer from Trunyan sent the teams into the break with UBC up 34-32.  The T-Birds got 13 of their points from 16 free throw attempts, while TWU had just seven trips to the line, converting four.

The third quarter was all UBC. The T-Birds put up 26 points and held TWU to just nine points, opening a 19-point lead through 30 minutes. Winning the battle on the glass – UBC had a 14-7 edge in rebounds in the quarter – the T-Birds built an insurmountable lead.

Both teams had their most efficient quarters of the night in the final frame, with UBC shooting 62.5 per cent from the field and TWU shooting 58.8 per cent. With the result all but determined, the teams traded baskets with UBC outscoring TWU 27-26 over the final 10 minutes.

The two teams will meet again Saturday 5 p.m. (PT) at the LEC.

Game Notes: TWU has lost its last five meetings with UBC…the last time TWU beat the T-Birds was Nov. 9, 2013 when they won 73-66 on the road…the Spartans have never beat UBC at the Langley Events Centre…the last time TWU beat the T-Birds on home court was Jan. 8, 2009, when they stunned a No. 2-ranked UBC team 87-78 at the David E. Enarson Gym…prior to Friday, the T-Birds had won their last four games by an average of 48.8 points.