LETHBRIDGE, Alberta – Fifth year guard Vartan Tanielian (Byblos, Lebanon) hit 10 three point baskets and was one made three-point basket away from tying the Canada West record as the Trinity Western Spartans lost 115-87 to the Lethbridge Pronghorns in Canada West men's basketball action Friday night in Lethbridge Alta.
Tanielian finished the night with 32 points on 10 of 18 shooting from behind the arc. His 10 made three-pointers breaks the TWU record, which was held by Brian Banman ('07). Spartan fourth year guard Ethan DaSilva (Calgary) also had an impressive night as he played all 40 minutes for the shorthanded Spartans and collected a double-double of his own with 17 points and 13 assists, coming three rebounds shy of a triple-double.
With the win the Pronghorns improve to 10-7 and have clinched a spot in the Canada West playoffs. The loss keeps Trinity Western winless at 0-17.
All 11 of the Pronghorns who stepped on the floor tonight registered at lease one basket but Mike Pierzchala led the home side with a double-double, collecting 16 points and 11 rebounds. Eric Pierce collected 15 points, while Zac Overwater and Kyle Peterson each had 14 points as the Pronghorns used their entire bench with the game well in hand early.
Out of the gate, Mike Pierzchala and Colton Gibb hit shots from long range to put the Pronghorns up an early six points but both teams struggled to find their touch from the floor and the Pronghorns held an 11-2 lead at the five minute mark of the opening quarter.
While the opening five minutes was lackluster in terms of scoring, the back half of the quarter was anything but, with both teams seeming to score at will in the second part of the quarter. Finishing shooting over 47 per cent in the quarter the Pronghorns held a 30-15 lead. After struggling to find their stride in the early going, Trinity Western finished the first 10 minutes hitting on 40 per cent from the field.
The Pronghorns continued to pour it on offensively in the second quarter, putting up another 32 points and built a 62-38 lead at the half.
Shaking off a slow start shooting, the Pronghorns hit on over 55 per cent in the half, including an impressive 11-for-23 from behind the arc. The Spartans too found their range hitting seven long balls in the half and a respectable 43.8 per cent from the field.
With eight different Pronghorns hitting threes in the half, the Pronghorns offense was well balanced but senior Zac Overwater paced the home side with 10 points and was one rebound short of a first half double-double. Both Brett Warren and Keanu Funa each picked up nine points. Warren picked up all nine points on a perfect three-for-three from long range.
For the Spartans, Tanielian held the hot hand, scoring a game high 17 first half points, including hitting five from long range, while first year forward Isaiah Reimer (Abbotsford, B.C.) chipped in with seven points.
A 17-4 run to start the third quarter, the Pronghorns took an insurmountable 77-42 lead before the midway mark of the third quarter. For the third consecutive quarter the Pronghorns topped the 30 point mark and led 93-61 heading into the final frame.
Continuing with an efficient offensive night, the Pronghorns cracked the century mark with just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth and despite the sloppy play down the stretch, cruised to the 28 point victory.
On the night, the Pronghorns finished 50.6 per cent from the floor and hit 15 shots from behind the arc, while the Spartans improved on their first half shooting mark and finished the night 47.7 per cent after hitting for more than 51per cent in the second half.
The Pronghorns held a distinct advantage on the glass, outrebounding the Spartans 50-31, including 14-1 in offensive rebounds.
TWU Head Coach Aaron Muhic
"Lethbridge is a very good transition team. We thought we were ready, however, we did not contain them in the first half. We played a little better as in the second half with our transition defensive effort. I was proud of our guys effort under the circumstance. Ethan and Vartan provided great leadership and made plays for us on offense. We need to have more focus and energy on the defensive end as a team."
- Banman made nine three-point baskets in TWU's 97-92 win over Thompson Rivers on Nov. 18, 2006.
- The Canada West record of 11 three-point made baskets is held by Regina's Jeff Lukomski which was set at Manitoba on Oct. 1, 2009.
- Tanielian sits alone in second place. Including Banman there are 14 tied for third spot with nine make three-pointers. Tanielian's final three point attempt at the buzzer rimmed out, just missing tying the Canada West record.
- Tanielian is only one made three-pointer away from tying the TWU single season record for made three-point baskets. Tanielian currently has 66. The Spartan record was set last year by former Spartan Pogos Trunyan. The Canada West record is 82.
- De Silva's 13 assists ties the TWU record, which was set by Adam Friesen ('05) in TWU's 92-88 win over Regina March 1, 2003 in the Canada West bronze medal match.
Trinity Western and Lethbridge will match up again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. MST in Lethbridge. You can catch all these match-ups live online at CanadaWest.TV.