Brendan Stasiewich, Mount Royal Sports Information
CALGARY- The Trinity Western University Spartans (3-15) pulled off a massive upset on Saturday night, knocking off the Mount Royal Cougars (8-10) 71-54.
Max Viitala led the Spartans in scoring with 21 points while Derek Wolf led the Cougars with 11 points in his final home game.
Mount Royal dominated the first five minutes of play, and with baskets from all five of their starters found themselves up 16-6.
The Cougars cooled off late in the quarter, with the team scoring just one field goal in the last five minutes, courtesy of Ryan Cunningham, as Mount Royal took a 18-12 lead into the second quarter.
Early in the quarter Spartan Max Viitala would draw his squad within two with his fourth field goal of the contest. A minute later Tee Maberry would draw contact and make a layup to knot the game at 18.
Picking up their game, the Cougars increased their energy as two back-to-back late steals led to a bucket from Ryan Cunningham, and then another from Glen Yang right at the buzzer.
The Cougars scored 18 out of the final 23 points of the quarter, gaining huge momentum and taking a 36-23 lead into the third quarter.
The Spartans slowly began closing the gap in the third. Two makes from Pogos Trunyan, including a three-pointer, as well as a few converted free throws got Trinity within five points, leading to a Cougars timeout.
Out of the timeout, Patrick Vandervelden would make the score 40-37 as he scored his fifth field goal on his fifth attempt.
Brett Layton struggled down low in the quarter, failing to convert on a few attempts from inside the paint. On a Spartans drive with three minutes remaining in the quarter, Layton would commit his third foul of the game, momentarily knocking him out of the game.
With time ticking down the third, Matt Hayashi rose above the hoop and tipped in his fifth point of the game at the buzzer, tying the game at 44 going into the fourth quarter.
Trunyan would give the Spartans their first lead of the game a minute into the fourth, pulling up from the three point line for his 10th point of the game.
Layton would check back into the game with six minutes remaining and the Cougars down by five, their largest deficit to that point.
Noah Lewis would take the game into his own hands, taking two shots from the corner that both fell, putting Mount Royal back within three.
The Spartans weren't going away, and made six straight points to increase their lead to nine points with three minutes remaining.
The Cougars were unable to gain any momentum down the stretch as the Spartans ran up the score and made it a decisive 71-54 win.
The Spartans will return home to host the Thunderbirds next weekend while the Cougars will play their final regular season games in Manitoba.