DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Thompson Rivers Wolfpack found a way to slow the Winnipeg Wesmen down and picked up a key win in the process.
The Wolfpack built up a 19-point fourth-quarter lead and held off a late Wesmen rally to score an 85-77 Canada West conference victory Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre.
Derek Rhodes led five Wolfpack players in double figures with 21 points and Michael Roucault had 17 points and 11 rebounds as TRU moved to 6-8 on the season.
Winnipeg got 20 points — 15 in the fourth quarter — off the bench from Don Dayrit in falling to 11-5.
In a matchup between the top two three-point shooting teams in the conference, the Wesmen were 7-for-30 from three and shot just 42.6 per cent from the field as TRU created troubles with its match-up zone defence. TRU finished 7-for-20 from the three.
"Those kids (Winnipeg) were probably just having a bit of an off night and we were the lucky recipient of being the opponent," TRU head coach Scott Clark said. "They're 11 and 5 and they're full value for that. They've got a lot of talent, they're well-coached. Really we went on a little bit of a run and they went on a run and the clock ran out. I think if that game goes another five minutes, maybe we're talking about something different."
After TRU built up a 77-58 lead with 4:51 to go, the Wesmen tried to summon a last-ditch surge with a 19-4 run that cut the lead to 81-77 with 37 seconds left.
"I thought (TRU) did a good job defensively today for sure," Winnipeg head coach Mike Raimbault said. "They took away time and space on guys we count on to make shots. I thought they did a good job of clogging the lane on penetration and making some of the kick-outs tough also. And some of it is on us to create better looks also."
A night after hitting all seven of his three-point shots, Adam Benrabah was 1-for-3 in that department and finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Narcisse Ambanza also had 12 for the Wesmen, who got 11 points from Billy Yaworsky.
Joe Davis had 14, Anton Bilous 13 and Enrico Nuno 12 for the Wolfpack, who earned a split of the weekend after falling 100-94 in overtime on Friday.