Men's team's playoffs hopes dealt really serious blow

MARK HUNTER / Kamloops Daily News
February 1, 2013 01:00 AM

The TRU WolfPack men's basketball team ended Thursday's Canada West game on an 11-3 run . . . and still lost by 23.

Needless to say, it wasn't a good night for the WolfPack.

The WolfPack lost 93-70 to the Trinity Western Spartans in a game that was packed with playoff implications. TRU falls to 6-12, while the Spartans, who hold the Pacific Division's final playoff spot, improved to 8-9.

As awful as things turned out for TRU, the WolfPack wasn't in bad position early in the second half, trailing only by three with seven minutes left in the third quarter.

But, in what felt like a few seconds - it was more like five minutes - the Spartans took control, as well as a 14-point lead. Things snowballed from there.

"They came out in the second half, they ratcheted," said WolfPack head coach Scott Clark. "We turned the ball over a couple too many times . . . right after the half. We got hurt on the glass a little bit, and that results in fouls - it's a bad recipe."

The WolfPack and Spartans will play the back half of their doubleheader tonight, 8 o'clock, at the TCC. TRU technically hasn't been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but Thursday's loss ended any realistic hope it had.

"We knew this game was vital for us, and (point) differential was key also," said TWU head coach Scott Allen. "I think it was almost a must-win game for TRU, because they have a hard schedule left."

"We're not mathematically eliminated," Clark offered. "Our job is to prepare and see what happens."

The Spartans did an incredible job moving the ball around, and it led to a lot of nice looks for their shooters. They hit on 46 per cent of their shots and kept the WolfPack off balance all evening.

"The guys passed the ball well, reversed it well," Allen said. "And we shot the ball better than we've ever done before."

Tonner Jackson had 21 points to lead the Spartans, who got 13 points and 10 rebounds from Mark Perrin. Tristan Smith also scored 15 points for Trinity Western, while Justin Bakuteka added 14 and Tyler Linttell scored 10.

Kevin Pribilsky led the WolfPack with 17 points, with Blaz Bozinovic scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Will Ondrik, who had missed seven games with a left knee injury suffered in December, returned for the WolfPack, scoring seven points in 18 minutes off the bench.

The WolfPack shot 37 per cent for the game.

"We missed some right-hand lay-ins, some left-hand lay-ins, some free throws, some chippies," Clark said. "You have to convert and on a night when you don't convert, you have to be tougher on the ball and you have to be tougher on the glass."

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