A strong start was not enough as the Trinity Western Spartans fell 88-78 to the visiting Detroit Mercy Titans in pre-season men’s basketball action.
The Spartans hosted the NCAA visitors on Monday at the Langley Events Centre and the Titans victory wrapped up a 4-0 record in five days during the Detroit team’s tour through the Lower Mainland.
They also beat the UFV Cascades 81-70, the UBC Thunderbirds 86-78 and the Quest Kermodes 119-74.
TWU opened up the game on a 9-0 run before the Titans took control, leading 21-15 after one and 49-30 at the half.
The third quarter was the best period for the Spartans as they cut the deficit down to seven points, trailing 64-57. But the team could not get any closer in the fourth, falling by 10 points, 88-78.
Fifth-year guard Justin Bakuteka led the home side with 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists while fourth-year forward Kelvin Smith chipped in with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Rookie guard Vartan Tanielian added 15 points, two assists and a steal in his Spartan debut.
Five Titans scored in double figures and the team was led by senior forward Juwan Howard Jr. who had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Howard Jr. is the son of former NBA player Juwan Howard.