SFU’s men’s basketball team loses 82–81 to Northwest Nazarene via a free throw with 0.1 seconds remaining

Clan looked dominant for most of the game, but give up 14-point comeback in the second half

Othniel Spence had 13 points off of the bench for the Clan. (Photo courtesy of SFU athletics)

By: Navya Malik

On Saturday night, the Simon Fraser men’s basketball team hosted Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) in a thrilling game that went down to the wire. Although the Clan looked to be in control for most of the game, two free throws would end up being the deciding factors between a win and a loss.Preview (opens in a new window)

The game started out with the Nighthawks having the upper hand with two quick layups to start the first half. Soon after this, SFU came back and took a 12–6 lead off of a three-pointer by Iziah Sherman-Newsome less than four minutes into the game.

Moving ahead into the game, despite a number of fouls and giving up some points at the free throw line, the Clan made sure to be ahead of the Nighthawks by keeping their focus strong, showing how they won Thursday’s game against Central Washington. For the first half of the game, SFU maintained the higher position and went into the break with a 10-point lead, 48–38.

The second half started with SFU having three consecutive baskets in their favour, getting off to a 55–41 lead. As said by SFU head coach Steve Hanson, “SFU played well for most of the game.”

Things became dramatic within the last two minutes of the game, however, when the Nighthawks tied the game at 77–77, a commendable comeback after being down by as many as 12 points in the second half. “Three good practices before the game” as quoted by the head coach of the Nighthawks, Paul Rush, seemed to be paying off.

SFU made efforts to hit baskets, but couldn’t maintain a lead after giving Northwest Nazarene a series of second chance opportunities off of rebounds, which “killed” the team’s lead, as stated by SFU point guard Michael Provenzano.

The Nighthawks then took a 78–77 lead via a free throw by Maurice Jones after being fouled by Sherman-Newsome. After the teams swapped buckets, Othniel Spence tied the game with a layup and four seconds left on the clock, 81–81.

After this, however, Sherman-Newsome was called for another foul on Jones, who hit 1–2 free throws to win the game 82–81 for Northwest Nazarene. It was a heartbreaking loss for SFU. According to Hanson, the game was “OK,” and he continued by saying that “we had a lot of confidence coming out of Thursday’s win, and today we played sluggish.” Even with this, however, he seemed to hold trust in his team by mentioning that “we played better for 95 per cent of the game and just have to be tougher for the next ones.”

The game brought SFU to 2–4 and NNU to 3–3 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference this season. SFU next play on Tuesday, January 9th as they host Western Washington University.