Posted on: March 13, 2016
It’s a silver medal for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team in Canada West play. In a battle of division leaders, the hometown University of Calgary Dinos downed the WolfPack 91-84 in the gold medal game of Canada West. The game was played Saturday (Mar 12) at the Jack Simpson Gym.
It was the WolfPack’s first ever appearance in the league finale and first ever medal in men’s basketball.
TRU got off to a great start as Josh Wolfram (5th year, forward, Kamloops, BC) hit a pair of three point shots to give the ‘Pack a 9-2 lead. Wolfram wound up 15 points.
Calgary cut the deficit to three and then took their first lead of the game with 3:30 left when they made it 17-16. The Dinos enlarged their lead to four points when Jasdeep Gill hit a pair of three point shots in the last minute and led 25-21 after the first quarter.
In the second, TRU cut the deficit to two on a shot from beyond the arc by Reese Pribilsky (5th year, guard, Victoria, BC). Pribilsky finished the night with 14 points.
But the WolfPack missed a few key shots and gave the ball away which the Dinos took advantage of. The most potent offense in the Canada West made no mistake as Calgary held a 13 point lead (53-40) going into half time.
“Defensively we didn’t do a good enough job in the first half,” said TRU head coach Scott Clark afterwards. “We turned over the ball too many times and allowed them some easy shots. I was happy the way we did claw back though. ”
In the third quarter, TRU showed it’s ‘never give up’ attitude. The Explorer Division champions outgunned the Pioneer Division champion Dinos 25-16 and cut the deficit to a mere four points (69-65).
But in the fourth, the Dinos bench strength and three point shooting proved to be a little too much for the ‘Pack. Calgary scored 22 points in that final quarter compared to TRU’s 19.
A key stat in the game was points off turnovers: Calgary had 25 compared to the ‘Pack’s 7.
“In the fourth quarter, we didn’t do a good enough job of corralling the loose balls and get our defensive rebounds,” Clark assessed. “We gave them too many cracks at it. I am proud of how the guys played though. We will hope to rectify our shortcomings from tonight in the next few days.”
The Dinos had five players in double figures led by Canada West MVP Thomas Cooper with 24. Lars Schlueter added 14. Mitch Ligertwood had 12 points coming off the bench for Calgary while Gill and Josh Owen-Thomas added 11 points.
TRU was led offensively by Gerard Gore (5th year, forward, St. John’s Antigua). He had 22 points and 10 rebounds (six on defense). Two other players had double figure nights besides Pribilsky, Wolfram and Gore. Volodymyr Iegorov (4th year, forward, Donetsk, Ukraine) had 17 points while Luke Morris (3rd year, forward, Mission, BC) came off the bench to score 13.
It’s the first time the Dinos won the league title at home since 1993 when they beat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. They last won the Canada West title in 2009.
Despite the loss, the WolfPack will advance to the 2015-16 CIS Nationals next week in Vancouver along with the Dinos and the host UBC Thunderbirds.
The CIS Nationals begin Thursday, March 17th.
FOUL SHOTS: WolfPack recruit Ryan Miller of Valleyview Secondary in Kamloops, BC was named an second team all-star selection at the BC “AAA” high school basketball championships in Langley, BC.
Another second team all-star was Justin McChesney of Charles Hays (Prince Rupert, BC). He is the younger brother of former TRU swimmer Sarah.