Maybe some time later this season, the Simon Fraser men’s basketball team will have the basketball karma work in their favour.
On the road Saturday in Lacey (Wash.), that was clearly not the case in an 80-55 loss to the host St. Martin’s Saints (11-3, 4-1), who used the win to move into first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings.
SFU (6-4, 1-1) was forced to make the trip without its two leading scorers in seven-foot centre Julian Roche (15.1 points, 9.3 rebounds) and 6-8 forward Jasdeep Singh (13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds), yet despite all of that, and the fact that the team had not played a game in over a month, it remained within two possessions of the Saints midway through the second half.
“I think we had some really good moments and we executed the game plan well in the first half,” said SFU head coach Steve Hanson, whose charges trailed 37-28 at intermission. “But having more presence inside gives you more open shots. Not having our two leading scorers makes a big difference.”
The way Simon Fraser played for the first 30 minutes was very much an indication of the substantial talent level they do have.
Yet certain things are perhaps too tough to overcome, and not having played since its 96-44 non-conference win over Douglas College on Dec. 4, coupled with the fact that much of its personnel was having to adapt to new roles and responsibilities throughout the course of the evening eventually caught up to SFU.
Yet when Elliot Dimaculangan, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard from Missisaugua, came off the bench to hit one of his three triples on the night, he had pulled the visitors to within 47-43, capping what would be an 11-3 run.
The Saints, however, fed off of back-to-back triples from Christian Haffner and Kyle Greeley, and from that point, the hosts never ceded momentum, finishing the game on a 36-15 run.
“We talked about it post-game,” said Hanson. “Basketball is a game of runs and we got it to that four-point mark. But it went from a lot to a little the rest of the game. We made some subs because there were some mental breakdowns, but then the subs made some, too, so it was tough.”
Dimaculangan went 5-of-10 from the field, including three-of-five from beyond the arc, to finish with a team-high 15 points, while Jordan Lyons and Wilfried Balata each finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
Brett Reed led five St. Martin’s Saints in double-figures with a game-high 20 points.
SFU will tip-off at 2 pm Tuesday at home to Alaska in a conference game re-scheduled from an earlier postponement.
A pair of games then cap a three-game home stand against Montana State-Billings and Seattle Pacific, Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
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