The Clan’s struggles continued as they traveled to Washington and Idaho this past week to take on the Central Washington University Wildcats and Northwest Nazarene University Nighthawks. While they certainly played well enough to win the first game of the road trip, they ended up going 0–2, extending their losing streak to four games after a hot start to the season. With the two losses, the Clan are now 1–5 in the GNAC this season.
Game 1 against Central Washington University:
One of the most exciting games of the season, the Clan just fell short. The teams were neck-and-neck for the duration of the game, but unfortunately for SFU, it would not end in their favour.
The first half was dominated by SFU’s Julian Roche and Wilfried Balata, who combined to score 24 of the team’s 37 first half points. Roche was dominant in the paint, shooting 6–8 from the field for 13 points, four rebounds (three offensive), and a steal and block on the defensive end. Great guard play from Balata also helped the Clan gain their first-half lead, as he had 11 points on 4–6 shooting (two threes), five rebounds, and three assists. Their efforts combined to give the Clan a 37–34 lead heading into the break.
In the second half, Central Washington was able to gain the lead in the final few minutes of play. After two free throws from the Wildcats’ Gamaun Boykin gave the home team a 75–72 lead with 35 seconds left, Balata stepped up to hit a huge game-tying three to force overtime.
Overtime was just as close as regulation, and went down to the last second of play. After a lay-up from Jasdeep Singh gave the Clan a one-point lead with 17 seconds left, Zellie Hudson drew a foul for Central Washington with six seconds to go. He would hit the ensuing two free throws to give his side the one-point advantage. Michael Provenzano would then miss the potential game winner, unfortunately.
“We played a very good road game where we could not pull away. They couldn’t stop our inside presence, but we had a few breakdowns in a tight game and in overtime. It’s a hard loss, but we have some real positives to build on,” said head coach Steve Hanson to SFU Athletics.
Game two against Northwest Nazarene University:
The Clan had a tough time bouncing back from a disappointing loss on Saturday night, and the Nighthawks made them pay.
Despite having a slight lead for the first 10 or so minutes of the game, SFU would go into halftime down big. A 25–9 run from Northwest Nazarene to end the half gave the home team a 39–25 lead heading into the break.
The Clan would have little luck getting back into the game, eventually falling by a score of 88–72.
Obi Megwa and James Nelson led the way for the Nighthawks with 24 and 22 points each, respectively. For the Clan, Othniel Spence led the way with 15 points, with Jasdeep Singh being the only other player in double figures, with 14.
“We had a decent start and did a good job drawing fouls, but NNU ramped up the pressure and we did a terrible job of taking care of the ball and attacking their pressure. In the second half, NNU crushed us on the boards and we gave up too many second chance points during our comeback. We need to be tougher and learn from this,” said Hanson to SFU Athletics.
The team has one more road game before they play on their home court, as they face off against Western Washington University on Tuesday evening in Bellingham. The Vikings are 3–3 in conference play so far this season.