SPARTANS KNOCK OFF RIVAL FRASER VALLEY IN OVERTIME THRILLER

SPARTANS KNOCK OFF RIVAL FRASER VALLEY IN OVERTIME THRILLER

ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – The Trinity Western Spartans erased a six-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation and went on to defeat the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 90-82 in overtime Friday at the Envision Athletic Centre.

In a game of wild momentum swings, it was the Spartans who had the final surge, as they finished the game on an 18-4 run, encompassing the last minute-plus of the fourth quarter and OT.

The win marked the first time TWU has beat the Cascades since a 74-61 victory on Feb. 16, 2013. With their second win of the season, the Spartans (2-1) have already bettered last year's win total and equaled the team's win total from 2014-15.

UFV (1-2) and TWU renew hostilities on Saturday evening at the Langley Events Centre at 7 p.m.

"This was a really good win on the road for our program," said TWU coach Aaron Muhic. "We were really good on offence when we were pushing the ball up the floor and moving the ball. We knew UFV would make a run in the second half and we wanted to make sure that we were ready to answer with our defence. We made some good stops with Josiah (Meppelink, Langley, B.C.), Peter (Spangehl, Surrey, B.C.) and Eric (Rogers, Chilliwack, B.C.) on the floor late in the second half.

"Max (Viitala, Melbourne, Australia) was a huge spark, coming off the bench offensively. Along with Max, Pogos (Trunyan, Sacramento, Calif.), Tyus (Allen, White Rock, B.C.) and Vartan (Tanielian, Surrey, B.C.) made some big plays for us in the fourth quarter and into overtime that definitely clinched us the win. It was a really fun game tonight. We just need to be ready to play tomorrow because UFV is a tough team.

The Cascades had a solid start, reeling off an 11-0 run midway through the first quarter to go up 17-11. But the Spartans took over shortly thereafter, going on a 12-0 run of their own to take a 30-21 lead. The visitors would lead by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, and took a 44-35 advantage into halftime.

"Pat (Vandervelden, Abbotsford) and Tee (Maberry, Pasadena, Calif.) rebounded really well and Eric took two big charges for us in the first half," Muhic said.

The Cascades opened the third quarter on fire, outscoring the Spartans 17-2 over the first five minutes of the frame to seize a 52-46 lead. They maintained a lead throughout the fourth, and were up 78-72 after Mark Johnson's layup off an assist from Vijay Dhillon with just under two minutes left in regulation.

But on the ensuing possession, UFV lost track of the Spartans Viitala, and he made a wide-open three-pointer from the right wing to cut the deficit to three. After Dhillon missed a trey of his own, Trunyan corralled a long rebound and raced down the floor for a layup, plus the foul. He converted the old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game with 1:14 left.

Neither team was able to score again in regulation. UFV forward Nav Bains had a 10-foot fade away jumper go off the back iron at the buzzer.
The Spartans pulled away in OT, scoring the final eight points of the extra session to secure their second win in conference play.

"Trinity played really well," said Cascades head coach Adam Friesen. "They out-worked us, out-competed us. That's never a good feeling, but it's reality. We've got to try to fix those things for tomorrow."

Trunyan paced the Spartans with 20 points, while Viitala (18 points), Allen (15), Maberry (11) and Tanielian (11) also scored in double figures.

Johnson's play was a bright spot for UFV. One year to the day after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that cost him nearly the entire 2015-16 season, the third-year forward from Palm Springs, Calif. racked up a game-high 28 points (11-of-12 shooting from the field) and 13 rebounds.

Manny Dulay (17 points, 12 assists), Nav Bains (18 points, nine rebounds) and Vijay Dhillon (13 points) also chipped in offensively for the Cascades.

-UFV-

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