On Saturday night, SFU played host to Montana State University Billings (MSUB), in a battle between the ninth and tenth ranked teams in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). As can be expected between two teams so close in the standings, the two teams battled neck-and-neck the entire 40 minutes, before the Clan were shut down by the rim, missing two potential game winners with less than six seconds to go.
The two teams could hardly be separated in the first half, as MSUB’s 19–13 lead was the biggest difference between the teams in the first 20 minutes. This lead came after a 15–2 run by the visitors, as they got the dust off their kicks in the West Gym. SFU would reclaim the lead with three minutes to go, and headed into the break up 32–31.
For the Clan, the story of the first half was Tyrell Lewin, who went a perfect 6–6 from the field in the half for 12 points. For the Yellowjackets, however, Hafeez Abdul was on fire, with 16 points in the first half going 4–5 from the field and 6–6 from the free throw line.
This game had all the makings of a tight battle down the stretch, which would prove true in the second half.
The teams started the second half trading baskets for the first five and a half minutes, before the Clan got off to a great run. They got up by as much as 13 points, as they scored 27 points in less than eight minutes with a flurry of baskets. One of the highlights was a steal and fastbreak dunk by N’Kosi Kedar Salam, which got the crowd on their feet. As easily as they went up, however — being up 69–56 with less than six and a half minutes to go — Montana State responded. The Yellowjackets tied the game back up with 1:52 to go, after back-to-back threes by Zack Rollins. Hafeez then came up huge as he hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds to go, which gave the visitors a 77–74 lead.
Down three points with 12 seconds to go, the Clan was still very much in the game.
Michael Provenzano got fouled then, and hit his first throw to make the score 77–75. He then missed the second free throw, and the ball found its way to GNAC-leading scorer Salam: the exact guy you want to shoot a potential game winner.
Othniel Spence then got the rebound and got the ball out to the three for another opportunity to win the game.
He also missed.
With those misses, the Clan lost a heartbreaking game. They are now 3–13 in the GNAC, sitting only above the winless Concordia University. They will now regroup before hosting the University of Alaska on Thursday, February 15. Tipoff is at 5:15 p.m.