In the first of seven consecutive home games, the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Eagles men’s basketball team earned a come-from-behind 85-78 victory over the Columbia Bible College (CBC) Bearcats Friday night at KPU’s Surrey campus.
It was just the second win in eight starts for KPU, but it is enough to claim sole possession of sixth place in the eight-team PACWEST (Pacific Western Conference) standings.
“We played great defense, we did a great job in the second half boxing out and it showed,” said Eagles head coach Vladimir Nikic. “We controlled the tempo in the fourth quarter, but above all again we moved the ball and that’s why we won the game.”
The Bearcats, in the league basement at 1-7 (won-lost), led 23-11 after the first quarter and built the lead to 19 points at 38-19 midway through the second.
KPU cut the difference to 12 points by halftime, and trailed by just four points at three-quarter time. After pulling even 78-78, KPU scored the last seven points of the contest.
First-year guard Brenden Bailey with 28 points and rookie Matt Cooley with 25 handled the bulk of Kwantlen’s scoring. Cooley, a six-foot-nine forward, was the top rebounder with 12.
Delview Secondary graduate Jaiten Rana, also a first-year guard, added 19 points.
KPU will host the 7-1 Quest Kermodes of Squamish Friday night, and the 1-7 Capilano Blues on Saturday. Both games tip off at 8 p.m.
– The KPU women’s team struggled with a short bench, and fell 72-50 to the CBC Bearcats Friday night.
The Eagles trailed 12-8, 22-17 and 43-33 at the quarter breaks, and fell to 1-7 on the season.
The leading KPU scorers were Haeley Williams with 18 points and Holy Cross high school graduate Jessica Villadiego with 14.
“It’s been a tough season for us as we have battled injury and illness, as well as a short bench since opening day,” said Eagles head coach Dan Nayebzadeh, “We are a good team, we know it. We just need to get a bit of confidence back and work hard as a team during practice as well as in games.”
The women’s team will also host Quest and Capilano next week, with games set for 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Kermodes are alone in first place at 8-0, while the Blues are four games back at 4-4.