The Trinity Western Spartans got the second half of their season going with a bang, upsetting the sixth-ranked Alberta Golden Bears 90-85.
The Spartans men’s basketball team hosted Alberta on Jan. 11 at the Langley Events Centre.
And Trinity Western led by as many as 24 points in the second half and then hung on as Alberta tried to rally.
“Everyone came with a sense of urgency,” said Spartans guard Tristan Smith, who was making his first appearance because of injury since Nov. 10.
“The preparation going into the game was critical for us. I walked into the locker room before the game and didn’t see any fear in anyone’s eyes.
“I saw a swagger I hadn’t seen in a while and I think we came into the game well prepared and ready to play.”
Mark Perrin led the way with 22 points, while another returnee, Tonner Jackson — playing for the first time since the season opener in late October — had 19 points and eight boards. Smith added 17 points and four assists.
This was just Alberta’s second loss of the season.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen.
“We played with reckless abandon and a lot of confidence in the first half.
In the second half, we just got tight and I think that’s just because we’re a young team growing into who we deserve to be .
“Just being healthy as a team was a real shot in the arm today and having Tonner and Tristan back in the lineup was pivotal for us.”
Unfortunately for Trinity Western, they could not build on the Friday loss, as they lost 92-85 to Saskatchewan the next night at the LEC, falling to 4-8 on the season.
The Huskies used a strong third quarter, turning a one-point deficit into a seven-point advantage.
The Spartans lost despite a 48-30 advantage in rebounding — including 21-4 on the offensive glass — mainly because of a poor shooting percentage. Trinity Western hit only 40 per cent from the field — including 10-for-27 from the three-point line — and a dismal 56.7 per cent (17-for-30) from the foul line.
“They took us out of our offence and I think we just had too many players trying to do too much by themselves,” Allen said.
“They didn’t rely on each other enough and we are not successful when we’re not using everyone on the court. We had guys trying to take their own shots and we have to get away from that or we won’t be successful.
“This game showed us where our weaknesses are and it showed us that if we want to be successful we need to play a team game, like we did yesterday. You can expect a lot out of a game when you rebound that hard but with the lack of finish at the basket that we had, we’re not going to win a lot of games.”
Perrin (22 points) and Justin Bakuteka (14 points) led the offence while Jackson collected a career-high 15 rebounds.
The Spartans hit the road this weekend, Friday against Lethbridge and Saturday versus Calgary.