For more than three quarters the UNBC Timberwolves and Trinity Western University Spartans were deadlocked Friday on the U Sports Canada West men’s basketball court in Langley.
Tied 75-75 with seven minutes left in the final quarter, the T-wolves and their long-range bombers – Tyrell Laing and Vova Pluzhnikov – gave the visitors from Prince George some breathing room.
Laing scored consecutive treys and Pluzhnikov also hit from three-point range to give the T-wolves a nine-point lead which they held the rest of the game, locking away a 100-87 victory.
The win improved the T-wolves to 2-1 as they handed the Spartans (0-3) their third loss.
Pluzhnikov was deadly from the foul line, hitting 12-of-13 and finished with a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds. Laing scored 23 points, drew five assists and forced six turnovers. Spencer Ledoux also hit double figures in points with 14, while Saje Gosal scored 10.
UNBC had its radar working early, jumping out to a 22-10 first-quarter lead but the Spartans went on a 14-2 run to head into the second quarter tied 24-24.
The T-wolves shot 53.2 per cent from the field (33-for-62) and hit 42.1 per cent of their three attempts (8-for-19).
Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath led the Spartans with 21 points and had seven rebounds and five steals. Gabe Mannes picked up 16 points with four assists and five steals. Trinity shot 41.7 per cent from the field (35-for-84).
In the women’s game earlier Friday, the Timberwolves beat the Spartans 70-62 for their first win of the season on the strength of a 20-point game from veteran forward Madison Landry.
Maria Mongomo did her part offensively, contributing 14 points, while Emma vanBruinessen and Alina Shakirova struck for 13 and 12 points respectively. Shakirova picked up 10 rebounds and vanBruinessen racked up nine boards.
The Spartans were led by Nicole Fransson, the Canada West rookie of the year in 2018-19, who put up 20 points. Kianna Wiens finished with 18.
UNBC held a 23-22 lead at the half and stretched the margin to 48-41 after three quarters.
The T-wolves (1-2) and Spartans (0-3) meet again Saturday in Langley (5 p.m., Canada West TV), followed at 7 by the men’s game.