WINNIPEG – The University of Winnipeg Wesmen completed a weekend sweep against the Trinity Western University Spartans after posting an 84-80 victory Saturday.
After losing by 46 points Friday, the Spartans were markedly better from start to finish Saturday and came up just short after a late push gave the Wesmen a scare.
With 23 seconds to play, Patrick Vandervelden (Abbotsford, B.C.) got TWU (2-10) within one point, 81-80, after knocking down one of his two free throw attempts. But the Wesmen (8-4) made three of four free throws in the closing seconds to wrap up the four-point win.
Max Viitala (Melbourne, Australia) led the Spartans with a career-high 24 points. Vandervelden had a double-double 20 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Pogos Trunyan (Sacramento, Calif.) finished with 11 points and four assists.
TWU shot 39.5 per cent while Winnipeg shot 37.8 per cent from the field. The Spartans out-rebounded the Wesmen 49-38.
"We were very focused tonight," said Spartans coach Aaron Muhic. "Our team competed. Anytime we hold a team to under 38 per cent from the field, we have a chance to win. That is what we worked for and we had a chance to win. I thought that Patrick, Tee (Maberry, Pasadena, Calif.), Max, and Vartan (Tanielian, Surrey, B.C.) were amazing on the boards. This was by far our best game rebounding thus far. I'm proud of our team effort tonight."
Second-year guard Will Sesay led the Wesmen with a team-high 21 points, including two 3-pointers. Denzel Lynch-Blair finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Narcisse Ambanza had 13 points and six assists while Jamar Farley finished with 12 points, including three 3-pointers.
After a dead even first quarter with both teams deadlocked at 24-24, Winnipeg found some breathing room in the second quarter outscoring the Spartans 23-18 to take a 47-42 lead into the halftime break.
Both teams shot well from the field in the opening half. Winnipeg connected on 50 per cent of its shots while the Spartans were good on 48 per cent of their attempts.
The Spartans inched closer in the third quarter, outscoring the Wesmen 23-19 to trail 66-65 after three quarters.
Viitala drained two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 71-71. Moments later Sesay scored four straight points to extend the Wesmen lead to 81-77. After Trunyan made two free throws to make the score 81-79, Winnipeg was called for a shot clock violation with 1:07 left. After a scoreless 43 seconds, Vandervelden's free throw edged TWU within one, but that was as close as the Spartans would get.
The Wesmen will be on the road to Kamloops next weekend to face Thompson Rivers. Trinity Western will next see action in two weeks hosting Manitoba.
Game Notes: Last year, the Spartans also lost both games on the road against Winnipeg, but were beaten by 17 points and 42 points…TWU's last win was Nov. 11 when they beat Fraser Valley in overtime, which improved the Spartans record to 2-1 on the season…since then they have lost 12 straight games, including three exhibition contests.