LANCASTER – The University of Antelope Valley men’s basketball fell short of a comeback on Friday, losing to the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack, 79-78, on Day 2 of the New Year’s Classic at the Pioneer Event Center.
Pioneers sophomore guard Miles Nolen-Webb and senior guard Franky Teran each had a team-high 21 points, while the Wolfpack’s Luke Morris scored a game-high 23.
Down six entering the second half, UAV gave up a 10-2 run to TRU in the first three minutes and trailed 52-38. But the Pioneers went on a 16-8 run to cut their deficit to six with 10:39 minutes to go in the game.
UAV trailed 61-58 after freshman guard Steve Bush stole the ball and made a layup in transition. On the next Pioneers possession, Bush was called for an offensive foul, which led to a 3-pointer by Morris.
After Morris scored again, the Pioneers trailed 66-58. But UAV stormed back with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 66 with 3:59 left in the game.
The two teams exchanged baskets and free throws until the final seconds of the game. With the Pioneers down by three, without timeouts and less than five seconds to play, Nolen-Webb drove the lane and made a layup with 0.9 seconds left.
But that play wasn’t what UAV wanted in that situation, Nolen-Webb said.
“We wanted a 3, but it just happened so quick,” Nolen-Webb said. “I take that on me…I just wasn’t really thinking. I don’t know.”
Pioneers head coach B.J. Porter declined to comment on the play, but said the last sequence was not to blame for UAV’s loss.
The Wolfpack had the size advantage over UAV, and frequently took advantage of that mismatch with offensive rebounds and points in the paint. Despite that, the Pioneers hung tough and even outscored TRU in the second half, 42-37.
Porter said it was the first half that buried his team.
“We didn’t match their physicality in the first half,” Porter said.
The Pioneers got open looks at 3-pointers with ball movement to start the game, making three from beyond the arc to take an early 13-4 lead.
But the Wolfpack’s size started to show. TRU started rebounding its own misses and getting easy points in the paint, and cut its deficit to only three with about 10 minutes to play in the half.
The Wolfpack took its first lead at 25-24 with eight minutes to play in the first half. Pioneers guard Miles Nolen-Webb gave UAV the lead back with a fade-away jumper from the left baseline, but TRU tied the score at 30 with under five minutes to play in the half.
Thompson Rivers player Derek Rhodes then completed a four-point play on the Wolfpack’s next possession, and took a 34-30 lead with 3:56 left in the half.
UAV took timeout down six with 1:55 left in the half. The Pioneers made a small run, but Morris sank a 3-pointer before the buzzer to take a 42-36 lead at the half.
The Pioneers play a road game on Monday against Utah Valley.
Mount Marty 111, West Coast Baptist 91
The Mount Marty Lancers made 22 3-pointers en route to a 111-91 win over the West Coast Baptist Eagles in the first game of the night.
Lancers player O.J. Thok led the team in scoring with 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 8-of-11 from the 3-point line.
Eagles player Daniel Foster had a game-high 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting, while All Woodson added 18 and Levi Tyrrell had 16.
The Lancers outscored the Eagles 66-39 from the 3-point line. Lancers players Hunter Martin and Zach Telles each made four shots from beyond the arc, and Patrick Ciganovic made three from that distance.