SFU men’s basketball defeats Lindenwood Lions 81–73

JJ Pankratz (#22), seen here in action earlier this season, had 24 points and nine rebounds in SFU’s win.

The SFU Clan earned a well-deserved win on Friday afternoon against the Lindenwood Lions after an air of uncertain victory throughout the game. The game was very close, with no team having a decided advantage: the final score was 81–73.

SFU demonstrated a fierce attack on offence as they dominated the scoreboard for the first 10 minutes of the game. The Clan maintained a relaxed distance from the Lions throughout the first half with a lead of 29–21 as the scoreboard counted down its third minute, when things turned very unpredictable. Kedar Wright ended the first half two of six from the field, while Hidde Vos’ fouls led Lindenwood to close the first half 31–30.

The players retreated to the locker rooms, with the Clan appearing apprehensive. “They hit some shots and we didn’t, so we got a little tendered and scared in front of our home fans,” said coach Steve Hanson. There were missed opportunities for rebounds on the defence, with the Lions securing easy three-pointers while the Clan was left in a haze about the baskets being made. Hanson added, “Lindenwood had a good run in between because they have strong shooters.”

The Clan’s complacency brought their eventual victory into question. However, the team came out stronger on the defence side after a little reorientation on their strategies. J.J. Pankratz had a great performance with 24 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Michael Provenzano also contributed 12 much-needed points in the second half. “We were getting a little nervous because the scores were going back and forth, but I thought we responded really well during the second half,” said Pankratz, who led SFU in scoring.

With four minutes left on the clock, the scores tied up at 70–70; three-pointers from Provenzano helped to boost the team’s confidence. Timeouts were called by the Lions’ coach in the last minute of the game. However, Graham Miller’s four free-throws in the final minute of the game got Clan fans cheering in the bleachers as the victory became clear.

“In the second half, we got it going, the guys did it on their own. We have definitely improved a lot and I’m very satisfied with the way the game has turned out. I hope we bring the same energy to the next game as well,” said Hanson.

SFU plays Lindenwood University for the second time Saturday, at 2 p.m. in West Gym.