Not surprisingly, the Kwantlen Eagles had a .500 weekend on Vancouver Island.
What was the surprise was they lost the game they expected to win, and pulled off a huge upset Saturday afternoon in Nanaimo against the Vancouver Island University Mariners.
The PACWEST men’s basketball team fell 86-85 Friday night in Victoria to the last-place Camosun Chargers, then surprised the nation’s second-ranked team 76-74 a day later.
Eagles head coach Stefon Wilson called the victory a “great team win.”
Kwantlen’s won-lost record sits at 3-5 as the league takes a break until early January. The Eagles are tied for fifth place in the eight-team league, in which six squads will qualify for the postseason.
“I felt our focus was solid, this was the first game we shot over 80 per cent from the free throw line,” Wilson said of Saturday’s game. “We are happy to have this positive momentum going into the break.”
The Eagles trailed by eight points at halftime, but surged to a 13-point lead after the break. The Mariners, winners of six of seven games prior to Saturday’s match, began to cut into the deficit but fell just short.
Princess Margaret graduate Ali Bosir paced Kwantlen with 28 points, maintaining his position among the league’s top five scorers. He also remained in the league lead in rebounding, snaring 14 boards against the Mariners. Bosir also had two steals and five assists.
Two other Surrey residents, Aaron Ram and Jag Takhar, scored 15 points each.
Playing against the Chargers Friday, Ram scored 22 first-half points to lead Kwantlen to a 38-34 lead by the break.
Camosun quickly erased the deficit and used a three-point shot late in overtime to get the win.
Ram finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Ram upped his point total to 32 on the game.
“Both teams played hard and hit some big shots in the fourth quarter and in overtime,” said Wilson. “It can be very deflating to lose a game in the last seconds but you have to put things in perspective and figure out why we put ourselves in that position. This is a game that, I believe, will make us stronger later in the season.”
Kwantlen’s women’s team was also on Vancouver Island, and remained at .500 on the season after winning in Victoria, but losing to Vancouver Island.
The Eagles went to overtime for Friday’s victory, getting a pair of buckets from Jessica Villadiego late in extra time for the 64-59 win.
Christian Brown was the top scorer for Kwantlen, netting 17 points.
Looking for a second win on the weekend to take over sole possession of third place, the Eagles saw their record fall to 4-4 after a 61-52 setback. Brown with 14 points and Samantha McPhail with eight rebounds were the leaders for Kwantlen.
“We battled hard on the road and the girls were gritty against Camosun to come up with the win,” said head coach Dan Nayebzadeh. “But we were visibly tired against Vancouver Island on Saturday. We shot poorly and didn’t defend as hard as we could have which, at the end, cost us.”