By: Isabella Urbani, Sports Editor
On March 2, seniors Julian Roche and Jordan Lyons competed in their last college basketball game. SFU lost in overtime to Alaska Fairbanks in the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference quarterfinals by a score of 91–83, bringing an end to their season.
Roche and Lyons had a strong outing, finishing the night with 10 and nine points, respectively. The stakes were even higher for Roche, who hit his career-high point total against Western Washington — his most memorable moment of the year.
His close family in New Brunswick travelled over 5,000km to take part in the celebration. He voiced his appreciation for their trek to The Peak, “I am grateful for those memories, and I will remember them for the rest of my life.”
After earning a two-point lead to start the second-half, SFU found themselves down with dying seconds left on the clock and the ball in the hands of sophomore David Penney.
Penney sunk a shot way beyond the three-point line to send SFU to overtime. Lyons, who was unsure if the shot went in on time, spoke on the season-saving play. “It was definitely a huge momentum shift when they counted it, and it felt like we had a second chance at winning the game.”
Although the game didn’t end up shifting in SFU’s favour, the team did end their regular season on a high note. In front of a packed crowd of friends and family, SFU’s seniors pulled out a well-deserved 78–76 victory over Western Washington.
Lyons settled on the crowd favourite win against UBC for the Buchanan Cup for his favourite memory of the year.
Looking forward, both Lyons and Roche have expressed their ambition to play professional basketball next year, and recognized their time at SFU in improving their game. Roche said he learned how to perfect his regiment through training, dieting, and better grasping his emotions.“I also had the opportunity to lead and to be led.” Lyons added on top of finding his sweet spots on the court, he was able to develop as an individual, “becoming more mature, patient, and mentally tough.”
Now that their time is up, who’s going to bring the star power next season for SFU? Lyons says Penney or soon-to-be senior Jahmal Wright. In order to perform at their peak, Roche emphasized work habits. “Take care of your body through how you work and what you eat, but also take care of your mental health and take care of yourself.”
Despite Lyons only playing one season at SFU, both he and Roche appreciated the culture cultivated among the team, especially the senior core. “We know that we will always have our SFU experience to keep us bonded together for whatever is in store going forward,” said Roche. Lyons shared similar sentiments. “I think each senior brought different life and basketball experiences that brought us all together and made us a special group.”
We wish the two all the best in the next chapter of their career!