By Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University
LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western was step-for-step with Mount Royal, but with a chance to tie the game with eight seconds to play, the Spartans shot attempt came up short, allowing the Cougars to hold on for an 85-82 win Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Cougars John Hegwood made a lay-up with 24 seconds to go to give the visitors an 85-80 lead. TWU's Jack Nadelhoffer (Tigard, Ore.) earned a lay-up himself with 10 seconds to go, closing the gap back to three points. After a pair of missed free throws from MRU's Glen Yang, the Spartans grabbed the rebound with eight seconds to play, but Josiah Meppelink's (Langley) long ball was unsuccessful.
With the win, MRU improved to 2-3 on the season, while the Spartans dropped to 0-5.
Matthew Guinto had a game-high 23 points to lead MRU, with Hegwood adding 21 and seven rebounds.
Spartans first-year Isaiah Reimer (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 22 points, while Vartan Tanielian (Byblos, Lebanon) added 20 points. Jack Nadelhoffer had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
MRU finished the night shooting 46.2 per cent (30-65) from the field, while the Spartan shot 40.5 per cent (32-79). The Spartans had a 46-42 edge on the glass.
The Spartan jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first quarter only to see MRU respond with a 17-2 run to end the quarter with a 21-13 advantage.
Over the next two quarters, the Spartans closed the gap to two points going into the fourth quarter, with MRU leading 59-57.
The Cougars extended their lead to 67-62, but TWU got right back into it and took a 71-69 lead after a Tanielian 3-pointer.
TWU held an 80-77 edge with 1:52 to play, but a Quinn Taylor three-point play, including a lay-up and converted free, tied the game with 1:42 left. MRU scored the next five points to secure the win.
TWU Head Coach Aaron Muhic
"I was very proud of our guys. For the second game in a row, we gave ourselves a chance to win. We just didn't execute in the last three minutes well enough to win. There were a lot of really positive things for us. We had some guys who didn't necessarily score like they usually do, but they rebounded and they defended. I was really proud of Josiah Meppelink. I felt that he had a really good game from a leadership standpoint and competed really well. I thought Vartan was patient with his shot selection and that helps our team. We just have to continue to grow and get better and be more disciplined. We just need to get better every game and tomorrow we're going to try and do that."
• Former Spartans Patrick Vandervelden and Nick Tancon returned to TWU for the first time since transferring to MRU. Vandervelden finished with seven points and two rebounds, while Tancon had 11 points and eight rebounds.
• The last time these two teams met was in 2016-17 when they split their season series in Calgary. MRU won 96-66 before TWU responded with a 71-54 win.
• The last time MRU played the Spartans in Langley was in 2012-13 (Jan. 25-26), with TWU winning both games (84-78 and 86-69).The Cougars split their series with Manitoba last weekend, marking their first conference win of the year.
The rematch is Saturday at 7 p.m. (PT) at the LEC.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.