Men’s basketball opened their season at home with an exhibition game against SFU alumni. Although the game did not count for anything, it was a fun opportunity for the current team to play the stars of yesterday, and practice before the season gets into full swing.
“We’re trying to simulate games as best as we can,” said head coach James Blake. “[We’re] bringing in officials, playing with the alumni [who] are good basketball players, they’re a little bit out of shape, but they’re smart.”
Indeed, the alumni team got the quick start scoring the first five points of the game. However, the current team quickly took the lead and slowly increased the gap, winning the first half 69-48.
“[The alumni] frustrated us in the first half because they were breaking our press, and we were getting hands and deflections on balls but we weren’t turning them over enough,” commented Blake.
The alumni team featured former stars of the Clan including 2007 graduate Aaron Christensen, and 2010 graduates Sean Burke and Kevin Shaw. The team also had two players who played for the Clan just last year: Dillon Hamilton and Ibrahim Appiah.
Hamilton, who arrived at SFU as a transfer from the University of Western Ontario in December 2012 and graduated just last month, said of the team, “I loved it right when I came [here].”
In his last season with the Clan, Hamilton led the team in free throw percentage, making 14 out 15 attempts.
“It’s funny,” he exclaimed, about playing against the Clan as an alumnus, “It’s just like being back on the team.”
During halftime, Hamilton admitted, though, that it was a challenge facing his old team: “We’re just trying to keep up with them, they’re getting a lot of open three [pointers] because we can’t run back.”
The alumni had a hard time at the beginning of the second half, going long stretches without scoring, and at one point falling 43 points back to the current Clan. However, they were resilient, and with great play from Hamilton, Appiah, and Burke in particular, they cut the gap at one point down to only 22 points, at 111-89.
In the end, the current Clan were too much for the alumni. With standout performances by Adam Westfall, Sango Niang, and Roderick Evans-Taylor, as well as freshman Patrick Simon, they won 122-91.
Coach Blake was pleased with the team’s play in the second half, saying, “As the game went on, we got some good reps and that pace that we want to play.”
He stressed, however, that the team still isn’t playing to its potential: “We want to play a really fast, exciting style of basketball. We’ve done a little bit better job at it over last week, but I think we can play a lot faster.”
The Clan will get their first true test on the road, as they open their regular season in Moscow, ID, before returning to the West Gym for their home opener against Northwest Indian College on Friday, November 14.