EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Golden Bears proved the Canada West preseason voting right early on as the top-ranked team in the conference put up 52 points in the first half of its season-opener on route to an 88-76 victory over the Trinity Western University Spartans, Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Sophomore guard Andre Kelly scored a team-high 18 points and four treys while senior guard Lyndon Annetts added 13 points and Canada West active leading scorer Mamadou Gueye netted 10.
A tight score in the opening minutes of the game was broken open by Alberta's three-ball leader, fourth-year guard Austin Waddoups, draining one from long-distance to start a 15-2 run for the home team.
Three late treys from the Spartans in the first quarter got the score back within striking distance for the visitors, but a quick eight points to open the second got the Bears back up by more than 10.
After a stellar 22 points in the opening quarter and shooting at 47 per cent from the field, Alberta blasted the scoreboard in the second, doubling their three-point shooting totals, shooting at 55 per cent from the field, and adding 30 points to gain the game's momentum leading into halftime.
The two squads traded baskets for most of the third quarter, with the Bears' lead staying in double digits.
A late push by TWU in the final quarter saw the Spartans put up 28 points in the fourth to take one final shot at earning a victory, but the Bears bench players scored 16 in the last 10 minutes, stifling any comeback and providing Alberta the home-opening win.
Head Coach Aaron Muhic
"I'm very proud of our game overall. We played focused and disciplined. If we would have taken care of the ball a little better in the second quarter, we could have had a better outcome. Max, Vartan (Tanielian, Surrey, B.C.) and Pogos did a great job leading. And I thought Peter (Spangehl, Surrey) defended at a high level. I am looking forward to the game tomorrow and I know our guys will respond with toughness and teamwork."
Both teams meet up again tomorrow to finish the weekend series, with tip-off at 6 p.m. (PT).