SFU had suffered a heartbreaking, one-point loss just two nights prior to their matchup with Saint Martin’s University. Despite the setback to Western Oregon, the team remained optimistic, all while being short two of their best players. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for that sentiment to change.
Playing with only three subs for the third straight game, as a few ineligible players make their way back to the court, the extra strain showed for the Clan for the first time. The Clan dropped a non-contest to SMU, 90–68, on home court last Saturday.
SFU actually opened the game strong, jumping out to an early lead. After outscoring the Saints 12–6 just six minutes in, things looked good for SFU. However, turnovers and early foul trouble nipped away at the lead and, alas, that would be about all she wrote for the Clan that evening.
The three ball, which was so effective the game before, was nowhere to be found in this one. It took 15 minutes before Jordan Sergent finally drained a three-point shot, but that was well after SMU had gone on a 14–2 run to build a 20–14 lead they would never surrender.
Saint Martin’s was having no difficulty hitting the long-distance shots, hitting five straight at one point late in the half. SFU’s John Bantock hit two of his own to keep the Clan in it at the half, but overall SMU was hitting all of their shots, and SFU wasn’t.
The Clan only trailed 40–33 at the half — certainly a surmountable lead — but in the second frame, the Clan’s fatigue was evident.
On one end, SFU’s defence was struggling to contain the Saints, if at all, while at the other, the Clan just couldn’t hit their shots — not even free throws. A 12–5 run to open the half for SMU increased their lead to 52–38, but the Clan didn’t give up.
Tired as they looked, the Clan stuck around, with their attempts highlighted by a dunk from Sergent that cut the deficit to 10 points and got the crowd off their feet.
There was little left from the SFU side after that point, as the Saints kept pouring it on. Trailing 80–61 with just three minutes left, and the emotion gone from the court and the stands, the crowd began to file out. The last few minutes were merely a formality, as SFU had lost the game well before the time the final buzzer sounded on the 90–68 loss.
“They had that stretch where they hit five threes in a row and we just couldn’t come back,” admitted Bantock. Despite the blowout loss, the Clan know where they need to go from here.
“We basically have to put this one behind us, go into practice on Monday and work hard with a whole different attitude,” concluded Bantock.
The game against Western Oregon, although not a victory, was a step in the right direction. With a game like this, as Bantock said, it’s best to just move on. The Clan know they can compete with the best in the GNAC, and of course, it wouldn’t hurt to get some of that manpower back in the lineup.