The clock was down to three seconds and overtime was looming for Vova Pluzhnikov when he took off running from the top of the key Saturday night at Langley Events Centre.
The UNBC Timberwolves fourth-year guard from the Ukraine used his speed to get around two Trinity Western University Spartans and let go a hook shot that glanced off the glass and into the hoop with just four-tenths of a second left to seal a 88-86 victory.
Combined with their 100-86 win over the Spartans, the T-wolves (3-1) have moved into the upper echelon of the U Sports Canada West men’s basketball standings heading into a two-game set this weekend at home against the UBC Thunderbirds.
Six T-wolves finished with five or more points, led by Tyrell Laing, the fourth-year Prince George Polars product, who collected 23. Pluzhnikov picked up 18 points and hauled in seven rebounds. He also has six assists and forced six turnovers. Anthony Hokanson and Spencer Ledoux contributed 13 and 12 points respectively.
The Spartans were led by Jack Nadelhoffer, who shot a career-high 26 points and had nine rebounds. Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath scored 16 and had 11 rebounds.
Nadelhoffer tied the game on a layup with 10 seconds left, after Saje Gosal hit for a trey with 46 seconds left to put the T-wolves ahead.
UNBC has won its last eight games over the Spartans, whose record dropped to 0-4.
Earlier in the day Saturday, Trinity Western defeated the UNBC women 63-52.
UNBC shooters had an off-day, hitting just 31.3 per cent (15-for-48) from the field and 17.6 per cent (3-for-17). Alina Shakirova led the T-wolves with 18 points and had seven rebounds, while Madison Landry shot 16 points. Maria Mongomo, nursing a leg injury, was held to just five points in 23 minutes of playing time.
The Spartans were slightly more accurate, shooting 36.7 per cent (22-for-60) from the field and 22.7 per cent (5-for-22) from three-point range. Nicole Fransson, the Canada West rookie of the year in 2018-19, shot a game-high 26 points for Trinity and collected seven rebounds. Kianna Wiens picked up 17 points and had nine rebounds.
UNBC beat the Spartans 70-62 on Friday. Both teams now sport 1-3 records.