Thursday night saw a rough ending to the regular season for the Trinity Western University’s men’s basketball team.
The Spartans fell 89-70 to the visiting University of the Fraser Valley Cascades at the Langley Events Centre.
The Cascades outscored the Spartans 32-13 in the third quarter. In doing so, they blew open a tight game en route to a decisive win in what was also their last contest of the regular campaign.
The Spartans, who finish the year 10-8 in Canada West play, will now head on the road for the opening round of the playoffs as the conference wild card.
TWU will play the top team in the East Division, either Saskatchewan or Alberta, in a three-game series Feb. 23-26.
The Cascades, who improved to 13-5, will await this weekend’s results to determine their playoff fate as they will finish either first or second.
The Cascades were led by Sam Freeman, who had 19 points and three rebounds, Kyle Grewal, who had 15 points and two boards, and Jasper Moedt, who had 10 points and eight rebounds.
In a losing effort, the Spartans were led by Calvin Westbrook, who had 15 points and two rebounds, Sean Peter with 10 points and six boards, and Niko Monachini, who had nine points and six rebounds.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted to end,” Spartans’ coach Scott Allen said. “I think three quarters were good but the one quarter got away from us. In the first half we showed what we can do but we just need to learn to play consistently. It might be a little late to be saying that but if we have the ability to do it, we have to find a way.
“In the third quarter, we didn’t take shots and we gave up shots. It’s pretty simple.”
The Cascades were quite clearly the better team in the first quarter.
With seven players getting on the scoreboard for Fraser Valley in the first 10 minutes, the Cascades built a 20-11 lead heading in the second frame.
With the score 10-8 For Fraser Valley, the visitors finished the quarter on an 11-2 run.
The Cascades were three-for-nine from beyond the arc and shot 46.7 per cent from the field, while the Spartans were zero-for-five from three-point land and 27.8 per cent from the field.
In the second quarter, Trinity Western started to play.
The Spartans opened the quarter on an 11-1 run, capped by a Westbrook jumper that got the Spartans within one point at 22-21.
Fraser Valley responded by re-establishing a seven-point lead at 30-23. But Trinity Western roared right back as a Monachini three-pointer provided the icing on a 9-2 run that evened the score at 34.
A pair of Monachini free throws then gave Trinity Western its first lead of the game 36-35.
With a late steal and lay-up from Joel Friesen, the Cascades managed to retake the lead late, going into halftime up 39-38.
The third quarter saw the Cascades pull away.
With the score 43-43, Fraser Valley finished the quarter on a 28-8 run.
Fraser Valley ended up outscoring Trinity Western by 19 points in the quarter as they put the game on ice with 10 minutes still to play.
In the final stanza, with the victory well in hand, both teams put it in cruise control as Trinity Western outscored the Cascades 19-18 and never put a dent in the Cascades’ lead as Fraser Valley rolled to a 19-point win.