By: Brandon Braich
On Thursday night, the SFU men’s basketball team faced off against Concordia University, looking to extend their their game winning streak and move closer to clinching a playoff berth.
In front of a crowd of 575, the visitors stunned SFU, dealing the Clan a 84–72 loss. SFU, lead by Wilfried Balata (30 points, 16 rebounds), mounted a desperate comeback but fell short, dealing a blow to SFU’s playoff hopes.
The game started with a back-and-forth affair, with the Cavaliers jumping to an early lead, but after a three-pointer by Balata, SFU found themselves up 14–10. SFU’s lead did not last long as Concordia responded with a 10–0 run of their own, with all of their points coming inside the paint. This was a regular theme through the night, as Concordia finished with 46 points in the paint and 51% shooting.
SFU went into the half trailing 36–31.
The game looked like it was getting out of hand early as a four-point play by Tyler Wells put the Cavaliers up 42–33. Concordia followed that possession with an and-one by Hunter Sweet, extending the lead to 15.
With momentum shifting, the Cavaliers came down on the fast break once again looking for a basket but a big charge drawn by Michael Provenzano put life back in the SFU squad.
An energized SFU team began to lock down on defense, whittling the deficit to seven with 14 minutes left. A big three by Othniel Spence (17 points) made it a 48–44 game. With inspired defense forcing a big stop, SFU was able to find Spence again who knocked down another one of his five threes in the game to bring SFU within one.
But once again Concordia had an answer, with Dominique Bradley hitting back to back and-ones to pull Concordia back to a double digit lead.
It was then Jasdeep Singh came to life, fresh off of a season high the game before. Battling foul trouble, Singh went scoreless in the first half, but erupted for 17 in the final frame, keeping SFU within striking distance. After Singh hit a three to pull SFU within six, it began to feel like a comeback was in the works. Cody Starr, however, hit a tough contested three over Michael Hannan to push the lead back to 9.
The teams traded baskets as SFU was unable to get the critical stops in the final possessions. Eventually, SFU would lose by a score of 84–72.
SFU is still in position to clinch a playoff berth, and it all comes down to a huge game on Saturday against Western Oregon University. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m in the West Gym. It is the final game of the regular season.