Wow. In what was quite possibly the most exciting regular-season game in SFU history, the Clan pulled off a big win. Since joining the GNAC, this was the longest game in SFU basketball history, and the thunderous crowd was sent home happy. More importantly, the win snaps a five-game losing streak for the Clan, and should do wonders in helping the team get their season back on track.
While SFU played very well in regulation, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets refused to go down easy. After winning the first half by a score of 37–31, the Yellowjackets did everything they could down the stretch to force the game into overtime.
The Clan held a six-point lead with under a minute to go, but were unable to close out the game due to the play of MSUB’s Zack Rollins. Rollins hit a three to cut the deficit down to three with less than 40 seconds remaining, and then he was fouled on another three-point attempt with eight seconds left. He calmly hit all three free throws, which, after the potential game-winner was missed by SFU’s Jordan Muir-Keung, sent the game into overtime.
Late-period heroics saved the Yellowjackets again in the first overtime frame, but this time, the hero in question was Tyler Green, who had all 12 of his team’s points in the frame. After hitting two free throws to shrink the deficit to one, Green fouled SFU’s Michael Provenzano with two seconds remaining in the frame. Provenzano hit both attempts from the stripe, increasing the lead to three with two seconds to go. By some sort of miracle, Green hit a deep three-pointer off the ensuing inbounds, sending the game to a second overtime frame.
Both teams looked tired in the second overtime frame, only scoring four points a side. Provenzano had all four points for the Clan, but neither team was able to score over the final 1:51 of the overtime period.
By the third overtime period, the Clan had had enough. Strong play from all five members on the court allowed for the team to pull off the victory. Julian Roche gave the Clan a three-point lead with under thirty seconds remaining, before stretching it to five by hitting two clutch free throws late. Eventually, the team would win by a score of 112–107.
“It was a battle to see who would break and I was proud our guys refused to lose,” said head coach Steve Hanson after the game, who had never participated in a triple-OT game before (not that many people have).
When asked what the win will do for the Clan going forward, Hanson responded: “To have confidence moving forward, you have to find a way to achieve a great result. This was a great result. Our guys have this in their pocket now and can revert to this experience when in tough and tight games moving forward. It was a crucial game.”
Peak player of the game: Michael Provenzano
Provenzano had a fantastic game, leading all players with 32 points in 44 minutes. He did so efficiently, going 10–17 from the field, 4–6 from three, and 8–9 from the free throw line. He also added in six assists and four rebounds.
“Mike is a guy our team looks to when we need to make a play or earn a tough bucket. We have lots of guys scoring, but he took advantage of how they were playing our bigs,” said Hanson. “He made some tough shots and was clutch from the free throw line.”
The Clan will enjoy their home court a little longer, as they host University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska on Thursday, January 24 and Saturday, January 26. If either of those games are anything like Saturday night’s, you’re going to want to be there.