By Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University
LANGLEY, B.C. – Brandon got off to a hot start, opening a 19-point first-quarter lead and then held on the rest of the way, escaping with a 95-86 win after holding off a late Trinity Western surge Saturday at the David E. Enarson Gymnasium.
Trailing by 21 points going into the fourth quarter, the Spartans (0-10) roared back to close the gap to just three points, 89-86, before Brandon responded with the final six points of the contest to close out the semester with a win.
The Bobcats (6-4) were up 36-17 after the first quarter and pushed that to 56-35 at the break.
Brandon's Tyvon Cooper had a game-high 26 points, while the other four Bobcats starters each hit double digits in points.
TWU's Vartan Tanielian (Surrey, B.C.) had a team-high 23 points and seven rebounds.
The Spartans finished 11 for 22 from beyond the arc, but were unable to dig themselves out their first quarter deficit. Brandon was 24 for 29 from the free throw line, while TWU was just nine for 16.
The Bobcats raced out to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter and after shooting 52.4 per cent from the field and going five for 10 from 3-point range, they racked up 36 points, while holding a cold-shooting TWU side (30 per cent from the field) to just 17 points.
The Spartans pushed back in the second quarter, but still trailed by 21 points at halftime.
In the second half, TWU was a different team with the Spartans going point-for-point with Brandon in the third quarter.
With momentum starting to creep to the Spartans side, Tanielian put up 13 fourth-quarter points to lead TWU's comeback efforts. However, just as the Spartans closed the gap, Cooper took over, converting four free throws and knocking down a jumper to shut the door on the Spartans.
At halftime, a large contingent of Spartan men's basketball alumni honoured former coach Tim Teer, who was TWU's head coach from 1983-1999, by renaming the team's endowment fund the Tim Teer Endowment Fund while also making a five-year commitment of funds, totalling over $125,000, to the men's basketball program.
Head Coach Aaron Muhic
"I thought our guys showed a ton of heart. I thought Vartan showed a ton of leadership in the fourth quarter. I thought both of our point guards really did some things to attack the paint and were really aggressive. It was good to see us compete. I thought we played some really good defence in the second half."
On the Alumni Giving Back to the Program
"I thought it was really neat and we're very appreciative of them. There was a big group of them and it means a lot to our guys to know that they're behind us. If it's mentorship or prayer or funds, it's definitely nice to have that support."
• While TWU enters the break still in search of its first win, the final three games showed promise with all three setbacks being single-digit losses.
• The Spartans are now 0-5 at the Enarson since moving to the Langley Events Centre for the 2009-10 season.
• The last time the Bobcats and Spartans played, in 2015-16, the teams split their weekend series in Langley. TWU lost 98-87 before rebounding to win 87-78.
The Spartans are back on the court in Canada West league play Jan. 4-5 against Fraser Valley. The Bobcats return to Canada West action Jan. 5-6 with a home-and-home series against Winnipeg.