Spartans battle hard, fall to Regina in close contest

Spartans battle hard, fall to Regina in close contest

Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Regina hit the century mark for the second night in a row, but this time it was a whole lot closer as the Cougars held off a game Spartans side for a 100-94 win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

With TWU holding a one-point lead inside the final minute, Regina's Stephen Shields took an in-bounds pass off the Spartans baseline and put it off the glass and in to give the Cougars a 92-91 lead.

After the Spartans missed a jumper on the ensuing possession, Regina's Brian Ofori put in a lay-up to give the Cougars a three-point lead and TWU never got closer than two points.

A day after winning by 33 points, Regina needed six free throws in the final 24 seconds to seal the win. The victory improves the Cougars to 4-2 on the season and wraps up a weekend sweep of the Spartans (2-6).

Coming off the bench, Regina's Johneil Johnson led his team with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Aaron McGowan had 19 points and seven boardas and Alex Igual had 12 points and seven rebounds.

TWU's Pogos Trunyan (Sacramento, Calif.) had his best game as a Spartan, collecting 26 points, while Vartan Tanielian (Surrey, B.C.) had 18 points. Before a second half injury forced him out of the game, Tyus Allen (White Rock, B.C.) put together a double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds,. Allen was two assists shy of a triple-double.

Regina shot 45.5 per cent from the field, while TWU shot 43 per cent. The Spartans were the better side from beyond the arc, shooting 43.5 per cent compared to the Cougars 27.6 per cent.

The Cougars won the "points in the paint" battle, earning 52 to the Spartans 36.

"I'm very proud of our guys," said Spartans coach Aaron Muhic. "This was one of the first games that we played Spartan basketball for long stretches of time. I thought there was good leadership from the White Rock boys and I thought Tyus played a heck of game. If that injury doesn't happen, we win the game. That's how I feel. Our guys decided to come to play tonight. We just didn't finish. It's not fun to lose, but our guys need to keep their heads up and get ready for next week."

Coming off Friday's large-margin loss, TWU scored the first 11 points of Saturday's game. However, the Cougars found their stride soon enough and closed the gap to eight points, 27-19, after 10 minutes.

Regina kept coming in the second quarter and managed to take a 48-46 halftime lead.

The Cougars extended their lead to seven points late in the third quarter only to see TWU finish the quarter on a 7-1 run in the final 1:04 to close the gap to one point, 73-72, going to the final frame.

The teams traded points in the fourth quarter and TWU held as much as a six-point lead, but the game was largely on even terms down the stretch. That was until Shields finally put Regina ahead for good.

The Spartans are back at TWU's on-campus David E. Enarson Gym next weekend when they host Lethbridge Dec. 2-3. Regina returns home to host Saskatchewan Dec. 2-3.

Game Notes: Since starting the season with two wins in their first three games, TWU has now lost five games in a row…the Spartans have allowed 80 or more points in seven of their first eight games…after getting just eight points in Friday's game, Trunyan had an 18-point improvement in Saturday's game…TWU's 43.5 per cent 3-point shooting was a marked improvement over Friday, when the Spartans shot just 22.6 per cent from beyond the arc.

-TW-