Clan pick up two more losses on Oregon road trip

Othniel Spence has emerged as one of the team’s most consistent scorers during the team’s last few games.

The men’s basketball team headed to Oregon on the weekend and picked up two losses.

On Thursday, the Clan fell 85–60 to the Western Oregon Wolves. At times, SFU was remarkably competitive against the Wolves, who last year made it to the NCAA Division II Final Four in the playoffs.

Michael Provenzano opened up the scoring with two successful free-throw attempts. At the beginning, SFU managed to get the best of Western Oregon, including an 11–2 run that gave SFU a 19–11 lead.

However, the Clan followed this by allowing a 23–2 run, which, after the two points scored by Provenzano at the beginning of the run, became a 21–0 run. SFU went 5:32 without a point and by the end of the run, were down 34–21.

By halftime, SFU had managed to cut down the deficit to nine, and were down 39–30. However, the damage was already done, and the Clan was never that close for the rest of the game.

Sophomore Tyrell Lewin went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field — harkening back to his 12-for-12 performance earlier in the season — and finished with 16 points, two of them from the free-throw line. Lewin leads the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) in field goal percentage with a .658 percentage (he’s also one of the few players on the list to have less than triple-digit attempt numbers, but it’s still a good record).

Provenzano was the only other player to put up double-digit points with 10, while Izaiah Sherman-Newsome recorded 10 rebounds.

Prior to Saturday’s game, it seemed like Concordia would be one of the more winnable games for SFU so far this season. Concordia was the team that SFU’s one conference victory came against last season, and it was a road game, too. Even in SFU’s home game against them last season, SFU fared pretty well, losing by only four points — a tight loss.

This was a team that SFU played well against. And Concordia was coming off a four-game losing streak — which could go either way, but didn’t likely mean a confident team.

Instead, SFU lost 97–70. Not their largest or worst loss by any stretch, but a disappointment in the sense that it seemed like it was going to be a competitive game beforehand.

Concordia opened the game by scoring 12 straight points and never looked back. It took nearly four minutes before JJ Pankratz was able to put up SFU’s first points of the game on the board.

By halftime, SFU was down 48–31. The Clan never came up with an answer to the 12-point deficit that they started with, and were unable to go on any runs.

It was another career-best game for freshman Othniel Spence, who led the team with 17 points in 21 minutes (which has got to be one of the more efficient points-per-minutes performances) off the bench.

Kedar Wright had 14 points, while Pankratz, Provenzano, and Sherman-Newsome all had nine points. SFU only managed four offensive rebounds.

Provenzano, who averages 30.2 minutes per game, saw more limited action Saturday, playing only 23 minutes.

Redshirt sophomore Bowen Bakken did not play, and has not played since December 29. In the most recent home games, he was dressed — ready to play, not injured — but did not receive any minutes. Redshirt freshman Graham Miller did not play either game, and has not played since the Las Vegas tournament in mid-December, having suffered an injury in practice before the team’s December 29 game.

THIS WEEK: SFU returns home looking for their first conference victory of the year and to break a 12-game losing streak.

Up first, on Thursday night, are the Central Washington Wildcats. They are currently second in the GNAC with a 6–2 conference record and 11–3 overall record.

They are one of the best offensive teams in the conference — second in scoring offence, putting up 89.1 points per game. However, they are one of the worst defensive teams in the conference, second-last (to SFU) in scoring defence.

Sound familiar? A team that’s at the top of the GNAC, with a terrific offence and a below-average defence? Sounds a lot like Western Washington. And if the Western Washington game was any indication — a close 103–98 loss, that saw SFU put up their best offensive output — these are the kinds of teams that SFU can compete against. Maybe even win against.

On Saturday, SFU will face Northwest Nazarene. They sit sixth in the GNAC with a 4–4 conference record and 7–7 overall record. They are the opposite of Central Washington with a below-average offence, but an above-average defence.

Tipoff is at 5:15 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Saturday.