Posted on: January 5, 2019
Derek Rhodes’ layup with 35 seconds left in overtime helped the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack pull out an 82-78 victory over the hometown University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves in Canada West men’s basketball action.
The game Saturday (Jan 5) was played at the Charles Ngro Northern Sports Centre in Prince George.
The extra period saw Thompson Rivers outscore the host T-Birds 12-8. The Pack iced the victory with two free throws from sophomore Tyus De Vries with 11 seconds remaining.
UNBC forced overtime when Jovan Leamy hit a layup with three seconds left.
Thompson Rivers led 20-11 after the first quarter but trailed UNBC 37-35 at the half.
TRU was led by Anton BIlous with 26 points. Vova PLuzhnikov had 22 for UNBC. The WolfPack are now 5-7 on the year while the Timberwolves are 7-5
The Pack bench outscored UNBC’s 42-16 and they got 36 points in the paint in comparison to the Timberwolves 30.
The WolfPack came out firing in the opening quarter, with Enrico Nuno and Anton Bilous combining for four first quarter three-pointers, helping establish a 20-11 lead at the end of the first frame.
The Timberwolves began to fight back throughout the second quarter, highlighted by a pair of athletic drives by Vova Pluzhnikov that found their mark. A buzzer-beating Tyrell Laing three-pointer gave UNBC a 37-35 lead at half.
Both teams continued to play each other tightly, trading the lead throughout the third. Jovan Leamy was able to convert some tough opportunities in the paint, while TRU’s Anton Bilous showed his savvy a number of times, creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. The Timberwolves went in to the final frame with a 52-50 lead over their Canada West rivals.
“It was so hard to get on a run,” said Pluzhnikov, who played on the Ukrainian U-15 and U-17 squads with Bilous. “We have to find that consistency. We have to get a stop, move on, and stay mentally strong against them.”
The Wolfpack began the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run, capped off by an Bilous jumper. However, the Timberwolves rallied, and after a late Pluzhnikov three pointer, they found themselves within two points of the Wolfpack with just 30 seconds remaining. After a pair of missed free throws from Bilous, the Timberwolves’ Leamy converted a putback to knot the score at 70-70 with less two seconds left, forcing the game to overtime.
“You guys get such a great crowd here. It was distracting,” said Bilous. “I choked a little bit, but I have to get back in the gym and work on those I guess.”
A thrilling overtime period came down to the final seconds, and was eventually iced by the WolfPack’s Tyus De Vries, who sunk two free throws to put the Wolfpack up four, and eventually win the game 82-78.
“That was a great game. Hats off to UNBC,” said Bilous. “Yesterday we came up short, and today we were lucky enough to get to overtime. They missed some pretty good looks. On to the next one for us. It is always fun to play UNBC. A bit of a friendship and rivalry”
Bilous, who came off the bench to score 26 points and add 6 rebounds, led the Pack. He finished 10-18 from the field, including 3-6 from beyond the arc. Enrico Nuno added 16 points, while Mike Rouault contributed 15 points.
“I was staying the course, playing within our system,” said Bilous postgame. “My teammates were able to get me some good looks and I was able to knock them down.”
Scores by Quarter:
TRU: 20 15 17 18 12 –82
UNBC: 11 26 13 20 8 –78
Anton Bilous (4th year, guard, Cherkassy, Ukraine): 26 points, 6 def rebounds, 2 block, 2 assists in 32 min
Enrico Nuno (4th year, forward, Half Moon Bay, CA): 16 points, 5 def rebounds, 1 steal in 22 mins
Mike Rouault (4th year, guard, Vernon, BC): 15 points, 5 rebounds (3 def), 2 steals, 2 assists in 37 mins
Joe Davis (4th year forward, Kamloops,BC) : 12 points, 9 rebounds (7 def) in 36 mins
Vova Pluzhnikov: 22 points, 4 rebounds (3 def), 4 assists in 43 mins
Jovan Leamy: 20 points, 13 rebounds (11 def), 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks in 41 mins
Vaggelis Loukas: 10 points, 8 rebounds (5 def) 2 blocks, 2 assists in 34 min
TRU: 5-7 UNBC: 7-5
THEY SAID IT! (post game quotes):
TRU head coach Scott Clark:
On the Contest:
“It was a big win for us. We are 5-7 now and keeps us in the playoff picture. Really a big team win. Everyone stepped up. A character win for us.”
Next weekend , the WolfPack will be in Winnipeg to take on the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. Their next home game isn’t until Friday, January 18th when they entertain the University of Regina Cougars at the Tournament Capital Centre. The Timberwolves will entertain the Manitoba Bisons next weekend (Jan 11-12)
All of the above games can been seen on a pay per view basis on www.CanadaWesttv.
(with files from the UNBC Sports Information Department)