By: Brandon Braich
On Thursday, March 7, the SFU men’s basketball team made the trip down to Northwest Nazarene University to play the first every postseason game in the program’s history.
SFU (15–14) entered the game as heavy underdogs against the strong NNU (20–7) squad but put up a valiant effort in a thrilling 76–75 loss to the Nighthawks. SFU had already upset the Nighthawks the previous time they played, and on Thursday, they came just seconds away from doing it again.
Lead by Julian Roche (16 points) and Jasdeep Singh (16 points), SFU held the lead with under two minutes to play, but a jumper by Adonis Arms (15 points) gave the Nighthawks a lead they would not surrender.
The first half was a close contest, as the teams traded leads, but with SFU down 27–25 and five minutes left in the half, the Clan went on a run to seize control. Singh started it off, splitting a pair of FT’s followed by a layup by Michael Provenzano to give SFU the lead.
SFU continued to attack the basket aggressively leading to a parade to the line allowing them to to take a 36–31 lead into the half.
Perhaps sensing the upset in progress, SFU came out of the half strong, and a three-pointer by Othniel Spence three minutes into the half gave SFU their largest lead at 52–42. NNU quickly answered with a three of their own, but Spence followed up with a second consecutive three sending the large contingent of SFU supporters to their feet.
The Nighthawks, lead by Nikola Prvulk, went on a run of their own, quickly closing the gap to 55–53 and forcing an SFU timeout. Neither team was able to pull away until a jumper by Jasdeep Singh gave SFU a 69–64 lead with 5:45 left. The Nighthawks recuperated and a FT by Jayden Bezzant tied the game up at 74 with two minutes left in regulation.
Wilfried Balata drew a foul on the next possession down, and after splitting his free throws, SFU held a one-point lead in the final moments. The lead did not last long though, as Arms answered with a jumper to put the Nighthawks back in front.
SFU had several opportunities to make the winning basket, but after Balata missed a desperation three at the buzzer, the Clan finally fell short in their quest to reach the semi-finals.
Despite the loss, SFU wrapped up what perhaps was their best season ever, quickly turning into a team capable of competing with the top countries In the GNAC. With many of their key players expected to return, SFU may be a force to reckon with in the coming season.