By: Chris Januardi Lim
The SFU Clan men’s basketball team played their first non-exhibition game of the season in Bellingham with a 87–75 win against the University of Hawaii At Hilo (UHH) on Friday night. This marks their second straight win (the other in exhibition play) as they were led by the strong, scrappy play of Iziah Sherman-Newson and the controlled leadership of Michael Provenzano.
In UHH’s first six possessions of the game, they attempted five three-pointers, but made none. SFU, on the other hand, got easy buckets through layups to take an early lead. UHH soon eased off from the arc, and utilized their size advantage to create second-chance points. Multiple in the first period ended with a four-point lead for SFU from great defence leading to fast break points.
The second period started the same way the first period ended. Michael Provenzano’s sticky hands snuffed any early buckets UHH were trying to get. Ignited by back-to-back three-pointers from N’Kosi Kedar Salam and Michael Provenzano midway through the second period, SFU went on a 12–2 run to take a 12-point lead.
UHH tried to get back into the game, but SFU denied them any chances of that, answering every basket. From then on, it was Hack-a-Clan. With college having the one-and-one rule (where you have to make the first free throw to gain the second), making free throws were key to winning the game. SFU did not waver as they ended the game shooting 74% (17–23) from the charity stripe.
Defence leading to easy offence seemed to be the theme of the game for SFU on Friday, as they forced 16 turnovers, leading to 25 easy points. A dark spot in the night’s win was that they lost the rebounding battle 38 to 35, while giving up 11 second-chance points. Despite this slight size disadvantage, however, SFU was still able to come up on top. To contend in the conference, they need to work harder on the glass to make up for their lack of size.
Senior forward Sherman-Newson led the team in points with 26 and also in rebounds with 12. Sophomore point guard Provenzano also had a strong game all around, narrowly missing a double double with 15 points, five rebounds, and nine assists.