Another two losses at home has left Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) two basketball teams in the same position one-third of the way through their PACWEST (Pacific Western Athletic Association) season.
Both KPU Eagles teams are 1-6 (won-loss) and in seventh place, but still well within range of a top six finish and a playoff position. And with seven weeks until league play resumes in January, there is plenty of time to make some adjustments to challenge for a place in the playoffs.
“This break is going to help us,” said women’s team head coach Dan Nayebzadeh, “We need to get healthier and find our focus so that we are able to compete.”
The KPU women were swept in a weekend series against the league’s two Vancouver Island teams. On Friday night, Victoria’s Camosun Chargers outgunned the Eagles 87-47. The Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners of Nanaimo defeated Kwantlen 57-35 on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles took an early lead over the Chargers Friday, leading 21-19 after one quarter. But they managed just two points in the second, and went into the locker room down 46-23.
Shilpa Khanna of Surrey was the top performer for the Eagles with 15 points, followed by Haeley Williams with nine. Samantha McPhail added eight points and seven rebounds.
“We were having troubles scoring and defending,” said Nayebzadeh. “We didn’t come out to compete and we need to bring more passion to our game.”
KPU was shut out in the first quarter of Saturday’s game, trailing 13-0 and falling into a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
McPhail was the top scorer for the Eagles with 10 points, followed by Brown with six.
The men came close to getting a win Friday, before falling 80-77 to Camosun. Slow starts to each half hurt the Eagles, who trailed by nine after one quarter but were down only two at the half.
Camosun built the lead to six points at three-quarter time, then the teams exchanged leads over the final 10 minutes before the Chargers clinched the victory in the final minute.
First-year guard Brenden Bailey with 20 points, Obi Udevi of Surrey with 15, and Matt Cooley and Nick Smith with 11 each all scored in double digits for Kwantlen.
“I think we outplayed them. But unfortunately, 12 turnovers were bad turnovers,” said Eagles head coach Vladimir Nikic. “Camosun scored 24 fast-break points off of our turnovers. Other than that, I thought we played great.”
The Mariners remained undefeated with an 87-69 win over the Eagles Saturday afternoon, but had to come from behind to do it.
KPU led 17-15 after one quarter and 37-32 at the half. Vancouver Island exploded in the third quarter and took a 64- 52 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Bailey was again the top scorer with Kwantlen with 21 points, with Jaiten Rana adding 17 and Devan Haynes scoring nine.