Missing one of their leading scorers in Othniel Spence, who is recovering from an ankle injury, the Clan faced an uphill battle Thursday night against a defensively solid Alaska Anchorage squad. They were unable to rise to the occasion. While the final score is a bit harsh, SFU simply couldn’t match the intensity of their opponents, and ultimately paid the price.
Despite this, there were a few positives. Sophomore center Julian Roche continued to show his importance to the team, coming up with a 13 points, 10 rebound double-double in 25 minutes. One of the highlights of the game came from Roche in the first half, when he came up with a huge block on a layup attempt from Seawolves guard Tobin Karlberg eight minutes in.
Soon after, however, the Tyler Brimhall show began to take over the gym, as the Alaska Anchorage player went off for 21 points in the first half, including five threes.
The Clan, who managed only 25 points in the half as a team, were unable to keep up. They shot 10–32 (31.3%) from the field, 2–13 (15.4%) from three, and did not do enough on the defensive end to avoid going into the break down 12, 37–25.
While there was a brief moment in the second half where SFU looked like they could get back into the game, it was short-lived. A Wilfried Balata three-pointer brought the deficit down to eight with 4:36 left, but the Seawolves managed to pull away as the game reached its end. A Brimhall dunk with 2:23 left in the game gave the visitors a 14-point lead, and they would cruise from there for a 74–53 win.
Shooting was a major area of struggle for the Clan on the evening. They ended the game shooting 21–60 (35%) from the field, including a dreadful 4–22 from behind the arc.
“We match up well talent-wise,” said head coach Steve Hanson to The Peak after the game. “I thought our defensive energy was subpar tonight, and it reflected in our offence. We didn’t run our stuff with the pace that we need to.”
Peak player of the game: Michael Hannan
While Spence’s absence was felt, one player that benefited from it was guard Michael Hannan, who provided a spark off the bench throughout the game. He scored seven points and brought in three rebounds, but also did all the little things that don’t show up in the box score. After the game, Hanson had this to say about Hannan’s play:
“Hannan gives us great energy every night, and it’s really obvious when the guys ahead of him aren’t bringing that energy, because he comes in and affects the game in so many ways. He’s got to play more for us.”
The Clan will host the other Alaska on Saturday, when they play the University of Alaska in the West Gym. The Nanooks are currently 1–7 in the GNAC this season. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.