Abbotsford, BC…..The KPU Eagles men’s basketball team fell 103-67 to the Columbia Bible College (Columbia) Bearcats on Friday in Abbotsford, BC. The best of three series leaves the Eagles 2-1 with the Bearcats, however Columbia emerged with the greater point differential. The Eagles regular season record falls to 2-15 and the team remains in seventh place in the PACWEST with four more games on the schedule. KPU will head to the Island for next week’s final contests with the number five PACWEST-ranked Camosun College Chargers on Friday in Victoria, BC and the number one-ranked VIU Mariners on Saturday in Nanaimo, BC.
“First half we came out and started the game very determined. We moved the ball really well and were vocal on defense,” said Eagles head coach Vladimir Nikić, “Nick (Smith) gave us a lot of energy and Matt (Cooley) was involved on the boards. We out-rebounded them in first half 30 to 18, but we had more turnovers and our shooting percentages were way too low.”
The Eagles had a five-point deficit, 23-18 going into the second quarter with the Bearcats. KPU ran into early foul trouble and had 12 turnovers to Columbia’s five, while offensively the Eagles struggled with below 40% success rates on field goals and free-throws as well as 10% on three-point shots. The Bearcats went into the half ahead by 18, 48-30.
Columbia continued to pressure the KPU offense in the second half and forced 18 additional turnovers while only giving up two of their own. The Eagles defense would continue to run into foul trouble, while the Bearcats went on a 29-point run in the third quarter to push the score to 77-45. At the end of 40 minutes the Eagles fell 103-67.
First-year power forward Matt (Madison) Cooley, Delta, BC continues to show his dominance as a leading rebounder in the PACWEST. This past week he was ranked number one in the PACWEST and 20th nationally in the CCAA with 15 games played, 133 rebounds and averaging 8.87 rebounds per game. Friday’s game not only helped to set his personal rebounding milestones, but was the second consecutive game in which he achieved a double-double, the fifth of his university career. Cooley had 15 points, 23 rebounds, seven assists, and one steal. Leaders for the Eagles also included first-year guard Brenden Bailey, Coquitlam, BC (16 points, four rebounds, two blocked shots) and first-year power forward Nick Smith (14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals). KPU ended the night with 58 team rebounds and averaged 43% from the line.
The Bearcats were led by second-year shooting guard Elijah Calhoun, Brooklyn, NY, USA (30 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, one blocked shot, four steals) and second-year Addison King, Bellingham, WA, USA (20 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot, four steals).
Eagles shooting guard Jaiten Rana
“Again, I was very happy with how we played as a team in the first half. For some reason we stopped moving the ball in the second half and our turnovers increased significantly,” noted Coach Nikić, “ The second half we decided to be individuals and decided to take on CBC individually, which was frustrating because it meant there was no defensive integrity for us as a team.”
KPU: 30+28=58/CBC: 18+29+47
The Eagles take on the Camosun College Chargers at 8:00pm on Friday, February 20th and the VIU Mariners on Saturday, February 21st at 3:00pm.
For more information on the Department of Athletics & Recreation, please contact Junelle Mah, sports information and marketing, at 604-786-0804 or at email@example.com.
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.