Eagles men's basketball drop weekend road games but continue to grow and improve

Sun, Nov 16, 2014

Metro Vancouver…..The KPU Eagles men’s basketball team fought hard against the 2013 CCAA National Champion Langara College Falcons on Friday, November 14th and the Douglas College Royals on Saturday, November 15th, but were swept in both road games to bring their regular season record to 1-4.

Strong work ethic and devotion to team are key elements of first-year Eagles Head Coach Vladimir Nikić’s game plan. The team gave excellent work ethic and commitment against two tough opponents this weekend, but struggled with consistency in hitting their free throws and pulling down rebounds.

The Eagles head home for the final two games before the holiday break, November 21st and 22nd versus the Camosun College Chargers and the VIU Mariners.

Game recap versus the Langara College Falcons:
The Eagles came out determined to make a statement against the reigning champs and played with heart and focus. At the end of the first quarter KPU trailed Langara 32-21, but struggled in the second quarter as the Falcons offensive power proved lethal with consistent success with their three-point shots. The Eagles would go into halftime trailing 63-32.

In Eagles statistics, first half first-year guard Brenden Bailey, Coquitlam, BC led with 12 points, and three assists. First-year forward Nick Smith, Surrey, BC put up eight points and three rebounds, while third-year point guard Spencer Maichin, Delta, BC gave seven points and one assist. The Eagles  shot 17% from the line.

Langara’s fifth-year forward Jitinder Lohcham, Vancouver, BC led his team with 15 points, 1 assist and three rebounds. The Falcons shot 75% from the line in the first half.

The Eagles blasted open the third quarter with a 10-0 run in the opening three minutes, giving the Falcons a run for their money. These 10 minutes proved to be the strongest offensive push for KPU as both teams put up 23 points, Langara led 83-55. The fourth quarter gave the edge to the Falcons but the Eagles fought hard to the buzzer, the final score 114-70 for the home team.

The entire bench worked hard and contributed to end the game strong. “I want to applaud Spencer (Maichin), Nick (Smith), James (Bradshaw), and Obi (Udevi) for being very consistent on what we are trying to do on defense,” stated Coach Nikić, “Spencer was closing out really well and putting a lot of pressure on the ball. James, Nick, and Obi were boxing out really hard and getting most of the rebounds this game.”

Bailey finished the night with 18 points three assists, and two rebounds. Second-year shooting guard Obi Udevi, Surrey, BC gave 12 points, two assists, and pulled down three rebounds while similarly, Maichin gave 12 points, two assists, and two rebounds. Smith ended the night with eight points and six total rebounds while Bradshaw, a fifth-year point guard had five assists. KPU showed improvement at the line, shooting 40% in the second half.

Falcons second-year guard Devante Williams, Toronto, ON led his team for the night with 20 points, two assists, and four rebounds. Lohcham finished the night with 16 points, 1 assist, and six rebounds. Langara’s accuracy at the line dropped in the second half to 65%.

Of his young KPU squad, Coach Nikić was happy with his team’s performance. “I’m pleased with the way we ran the floor today. We showed we could score against a top team in the country with 70 points. We looked like a strong team when we did that,” He commented, “We moved the ball well and had 16 assists, which is the most we have had this season. We played great offensively.”

KPU           8 20 23 15 = 70
LAN         11 17 23 28 = 114

Team Rebounds:
KPU: 13+20=33/LAN: 24+36=60

Game recap versus the Douglas College Royals:
The Eagles led the Royals 22-18 after the first quarter, giving the PACWEST an indicator of the bright future ahead. Trouble with their boards and three-pointers, along with turnovers would put the Royals ahead 44-39 at the half.

KPU’s stats for the first half saw Bailey with 10 points and one assist, while first-year power forward Matt (Madison) Cooley, Delta, BC had nine points, three assists, and five rebounds. Udevi gave seven points, one assist, and one rebound to end the half. The Eagles shot 80% from the line.

The Royals leading scorer for the first half was Kristian Hildebrandt, a third-year guard from Vancouver, BC, with 13 points, two assists, and four rebounds. Douglas shot 90% from the line.

Similar to the start of the third quarter against the Falcons, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run in the first three minutes. Offensive momentum continued for KPU as they scored 18 points to Douglas’s 17 to go into the fourth quarter separated by four points, 61-57 in favour of the home team. The Eagles would regain their first lead since the second quarter, by a score of 62-61 with 8:37 left in the game. But more trouble with rebounds and missed shots would give the Royals the win, 79-67 after a well-fought, consistent battle in the paint.

Bailey ended the night with 25 points, one assist, and one rebound. Cooley had 9 points, three assists, and five rebounds. First-year centre Navdeep Brar, Abbotsford, BC chipped in eight points and five rebounds while Udevi gave 8 points, two assists, and three rebounds. The Eagles shot 54% from the line in the second half.

“Everyone played well as a team. They did what I asked them to do, but in the end the difference was in our rebounds,” noted Coach Nikić.

The Royals third-year forward Malcolm Mensah, Toronto, ON led his team with 17 points, one assist, and 13 rebounds. Douglas also struggled at the line in the second half, only shooting 55%.

“This was the best we have played this year, I’m very proud of my guys,” said Coach Nikić, “I’m really happy with the progress we are making everyday. We showed that we can play hard two days in a row. The record does not do us service and is not a good indicator of how good we are, but success will come.”

KPU          22 17 18 10 = 67
DC           18 26 17 18 = 79

Team Rebounds:
KPU: 20+14=34/DC: 27+40=67

The KPU Eagles women and men’s basketball programs are actively collecting non-perishable food items for their 2014 Food Drive in support of the Surrey Food Bank. For the last two home games leading up to the holidays, admission is no charge when fans bring that non-perishable food item to the game. Please note that no cash donations will be accepted in lieu of admission.

Remaining games include:

  • November 21st versus Camosun College Chargers
    6:00pm women’s game, 8:00pm men’s game
  • November 22nd versus VIU Mariners
    1:00pm women’s game, 3:00pm men’s game

For more information on the Department of Athletics & Recreation, please contact Junelle Mah, sports information and marketing, at 604-786-0804 or at junelle.mah@kpu.ca.

The KPU Eagles Department of Athletics & Recreation enters its 14th season of interuniversity competition. The Eagles are members of the PACWEST conference and play in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) with 100 student-athletes participating on eight varsity teams in men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, badminton and golf. KPU athletics plays its home games at the Eagles’ Nest (Surrey Campus), Northview Golf & Country Club, Newton Athletic Park, all located in Surrey, BC and the Ace Badminton Centre in Richmond, BC.  The Eagles are active in the conference with staff members on various advisory committees and competing to host both provincial and national championships. The student-athletes are mainly from the lower mainland but KPU’s rosters have included student-athletes from North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

Follow the Eagles on Twitter @KPU Eagles, on Facebook www.facebook.com/KPUEagles, or on our website www.kpu.ca/eagles.