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Pluzhnikov’s buzzer-beater gives Timberwolves win over Spartans

UNBC’s Vova Pluzhnikov drove the basket and dropped in a last-second game-winning lay-up to give the Timberwolves an 88-86 win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre. 

After TWU’s Jack Nadelhoffer (Tigard, Ore.) had tied the game on a steal and lay-up with 10 seconds left, Pluzhnikov took the ball and did it himself to win the game for the visitors. 

TWU had taken an 84-83 lead with 1:18 to go, but a 3-ponter from Saje Gosal put UNBC ahead by two and set the stage for a wild finish. 

Nadelhoffer finished the game with a career-high 26 points to go with nine rebounds to lead the Spartans, while Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath (Amarillo, Texas) had 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Adam Gehrig (Toowoomba, Australia) added 13 points and seven boards. Nadelhoffer’s previous career-high was 19 points, which he put up last year against UBC Okanagan (Oct. 27, 2018).

Tyrell Laing led the Timberwolves with 23 points, while Pluzhnikov had 18 points and seven rebounds. 

UNBC shot 50 per cent (33-66) from the field and 34.5 per cent (10-29) from 3-point range, while TWU shot 43.2 per cent (32-74) and 28.6 (8-28) from 3-point land. 

TWU had 13 turnovers to UNBC’s 18, with the Spartans outscoring the Timberwolves 26-16 off turnovers. 

Tied through the first five minutes of the opening quarter, the Spartans charged ahead late, taking a 23-18 lead through 10 minutes with Nadelhoffer collecting a team-high six points. Taking advantage of six UNBC turnovers, TWU had a 10-0 advantage in points off turnovers. 

TWU extended its lead to seven points by halftime, with Nadelhoffer putting up eight points in the second quarter while Gilbreath had seven. UNBC’s balanced attack saw six players with five or more points, led by Laing, who had eight at the break. 

A back and forth third quarter saw the UNBC grab a 59-58 lead late in the quarter only to see a 3-pointer from Gilbreath followed by a fastbreak lay-up from Nadelhoffer send TWU to the final frame with a 63-59 lead. Pluzhnikov had eight points in the quarter to lead the visitors as they outscored the Spartans 20-17.

Then came a thrilling fourth quarter that ultimately went the way of the Timberwolves. 

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