The losing streak continues for SFU men’s basketball. On the road to Western Washington, just a short drive over the border in Bellingham, the Clan fell 100–56 to the Vikings. It is the team’s largest loss this season, and the deficit — 44— is the largest since they lost by 44 on January 26 of last year, which was also against Western Washington.
What made this one so disappointing, however, was how close these two teams played the first time at the West Gym this season.
In that home game on December 30, SFU lost by only five points to a Western Washington team that was nationally ranked. After trailing by as much as 19, the Clan came roaring back in that one — actually outscoring them in the second half — and tying it up at 93 with 3 minutes left. They ended up losing by five, 103–98.
To pile on top of that, their last two games were relatively close. They lost by six to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday, January 21, and by 12 to Central Washington on Thursday. Still losses, but they were competitive — at points, SFU was leading or trailing by just a couple of points.
That was not the case at all in this one. After trailing by one at the 14:44 mark of the first half, the wheels fell off. SFU proceeded to score two points in the next 10:23 — in that time, Western Washington scored 26, effectively finishing off the game before the first half could even come to a close. At the end, the deficit was 21.
The second half wasn’t any better. By the 15-minute mark, the lead was 29 for Western Washington. With five minutes left, it had ballooned to 41.
SFU went just one for 10 in three-point shooting, compared to Western Washington who went 12–26, good enough at around 42%. They were just as dismal from the field, going just 33.3% while Western Washington went exactly 50%.
Kedar Wright once again led SFU in scoring with 15, and also led the Clan in minutes played with 31. The next highest was Lewin, who had just eight in 19 minutes. Michael Provenzano had seven points and two assists in 27 minutes.
Aleks Vranjes and Bowen Bakken both recorded season high in minutes with 11 and 10 respectively. Bongani Moyo played three minutes, his first action since December 29, while Vinnie Safin played five minutes, his first since January 14.
With 11 conferences losses, it’s safe to say the playoff dream is over for SFU men’s basketball. In the previous four seasons, only one team has made the playoffs with 11 losses, and even then they had an overall winning record. With SFU’s 2–17 overall record, winning their last nine games won’t put them near .500.
That’s not to say it was a goal or even likely this team was playoff bound — even the biggest optimist would have said it was very, very unlikely — but for the rest of the season, the stories surrounding this team will be individual. Which players will step up and bring hope for the future? Who can improve and contribute more heading into next season? Because like it or not this team is playing for next year, for the rest of this season.
Next Game: SFU will lick their wounds and try to bounce back against Montana State University Billings on the road. Last time these two teams played, SFU suffered their biggest loss up until this game, a 107–66 loss at home in the West Gym.
Montana currently sit fourth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 6–4 conference record. They’re also the fourth-highest scoring team in the conference, averaging 81.8 points per game. They average 9.4 three’s per game, good enough for third in the conference. Shutting down Preston Beverly will be the key defensively, as he’s fourth in conference scoring, averaging 17.8 points per game.
Tip-off is at 6 p.m. PDT.