In their first-ever meeting at the CIS Final 8 championships TWU Spartans Guard/Forward Kyle Coston drained a huge 3-pointer with the game on the line to send the #5 seed Trinity Western Spartans to their first ever national basketball final after a hard fought 74-72 victory against conference rivals UBC Thunderbirds.
Coston who had chance to ice the game with 39 seconds missed two key free-throws and the Spartans maintained a 71-70. Kamar Burke tapped in a missed shot with 19 seconds to put the Thunderbirds up 72-71 before Coston redemeed himself with his right side 3-pointer heroics. Alex Murphy missed a game winning three-pointer completing 16 point come from behind and well deserved victory.
The Trinity Western Spartans came out focused and determined to knock of the #1 seed, UBC Thunderbirds. Behind Calvin Westbrook early 6 points the Spartans lead 10-9 lead before Alex Murphy and Nathan Yu ripped off a typical 11-2 UBC run to close out the quarter and take a 22-12 lead.
All-Canadian Jacob Doerksen came out slow and scored his first points in the second quarter to cut the Thunderbirds spread to 22-15. Senior back-court duo of Alex Murphy and Josh Whyte keyed together 9-2 run midway through the quarter and UBC held its largest lead of the game at 31-15 with 5:41 to play.
Calvin Westbrook was the catalyst for the Spartans scoring 10 first-half points. Kyle Coston split a pair of free-throws and Nathan Yu scored on a buzzer beating layup to send the Thunderbirds up 39-30 at Half-time
Trinity Western Spartans came out blazing, opening up the third quarter on a 10-0 run and forcing the Thunderbirds Head Coach Kevin Hanson to call a timeout as the Spartans took a 40-39 lead before Kamar Burke scored UBC’s first two points of the quarter with 4:44 to play. The ladder part of the third-quarter went back and forth and was plagued by plenty of whistles as officiating crew changed the tone of the game. Tomer Jackson converted on a lay-up to end the third quarter as Trinity Western took a 53-51 lead into the final quarter.
J. Whyte 12 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast
A. Murphy 21 Pts, 2 Reb, 3 Ast
K. Burke 13 Pts, 1 Ast
N. Yu 14 Pts, 7 Ast, 1 Blk 2 Stl
Trinity Western Spartans
C. Westbrook 15 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast
J. Doerksen 16 Pts, 5 Reb
K. Coston 23 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast
T. Mara 7 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast
Both teams struggled from behind the arc with TWU shooting 4-20 and the Thunderbirds going 6-20. The Spartans almost gave the away by shooting 64% from the charity stripe.
#5 Trinity Western Spartans reach their first-ever CIS Final 8 National Finals and await the winner of the #2 Carleton Ravens and #3 Saskatchewan Huskies