By Katie Maryschuk, Trinity Western Univeristy
LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western's Ethan DaSilva (Calgary) had a career-high 24-point night, but it was Mount Royal who took Saturday night's game 94-80 over the Spartans, beating TWU for the second night in a row at the Langley Events Centre.
After playing to a 51-37 halftime lead, the Cougars sped away with the game, capturing 43 points in the second half. Saturday's loss for the Spartans sees their record drop to 0-6 while the Cougars advance to 3-3 in the regular season.
The Cougars created a lead of 21 points by the end of the third quarter and despite a fourth-quarter push from the home side, MRU cruised to the win.
On the Spartan side, DaSilva's career night saw him come off the bench for his game-high point total, which included going 12 for 13 from the free throw line. Teammate Jack Nadelhoffer (Tigard, Ore.) took 18 points and six rebounds. On the Cougar side Matthew Guinto scored 20 points, and John Hegwood took 16.
The home team stayed within four points of the Cougars in the first quarter, while both teams tallied equal percentages in all three categories: field goals (50 per cent), 3-pointers (33.3 per cent) and free-throws (66.7 per cent).
The second quarter indicated that early lead for the Cougars, who edged forward with Glen Yang leading the charge, taking seven points in the form of three field goals and one 3-pointer.
Both teams were neck-for-neck in the first quarter, with Mount Royal edging the Spartans by at least two points for the majority. It was DaSilva who stood out for the Spartans, driving against the Cougars defence and drawing a foul from beyond the arc with the shot clock winding down and the score at 19-15 mark. DaSilva made two of his three free throws to get TWU within two points. The deciding factor soon became a matter of two 3-pointers and two free throws, pushing the Cougars to a 25-21 lead.
The Cougars produced a nearly-identical second quarter with 26 points to the Spartans 16 heading into halftime. It was Mount Royal that found a 57.1 (4-7) 3-point shooting percentage while TWU was 0-6 from 3-point land. The quarter ended on the same trajectory, with the Spartans trailing 51-37.
The second half of the game started without much of a push from TWU, but it was in the last few minutes that the Spartans generated a small rhythm coming within 10 points of the Cougars. But, by the end of the quarter, the score sat at 76-55.
The final few minutes saw the Cougars see out the game without much a push back, holding on for a 14-point win.
• DaSilva's previous career-high was 13 points, which he put up Oct. 26 against UBC Okanagan.
• 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.
• Former Spartans Patrick Vandervelden had 12 points and seven boards, while Nick Tancon scored three points and had two rebounds.
TWU Head Coach Aaron Muhic
"Mount Royal came out in the first half and were just way better and made some big shots. We just didn't respond the right way. I thought in the second half, we needed to focus in our defensive possessions and we weren't able to do that. They hit some shots and I felt like our guys just kind of split apart and didn't execute like should. I'm very disappointed in the second half and at times I felt we gave up and that's not who we are supposed to be.
On Ethan DaSilva
"I thought Ethan had the best game he's had as a Spartan. He's tough and he attacked the paint. He thought about doing things the right way. He got to the free throw line and made his free throws. He got beat up a bit but he kept getting back up. I was proud of him."
The Spartans play next weekend in Prince George at UNBC on both Friday and Saturday night while the Cougars host UBC Okanagan at home.