Simon Fraser University men’s basketball lost a pair of exhibition road games to NCAA Division I competition last week.
The Clan opened with a 103-68 Ioss to 14th-ranked Gonzaga University Bulldogs in Spokane, Washington last Friday.
“This game was an unbelieveable experience for our team. Our guards played tough defence and really challenged their perimeter players,” said SFU head coach James Blake in a prepared release. “They are just so big and we really struggled on the boards.”
Forward David Gebru, who was named a Great Northwest Athletic Conference pre-season all-star, led the Clan effort scoring 14 points.
Chaffey Community College transfers Justin Cole and Sango Niang also hit double digits, adding 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Cole had a strong game on the defensive side as well, leading the team with seven rebounds.
Gonzaga forward Sam Dower Jr. led all players, earning 20 points, while Gerard Coleman chipped in 16.
Despite being outrebounded overall, the Clan won the offensive battle, grabbing 18 offensive rebounds to the Bulldog’s 12.
SFU also minimized turnovers, giving up the ball only nine times, while forcing 10 from Gonzaga.
With 12:38 remaining in the first half, Cole gave SFU their first points of the game with a long-distance three-pointer, making the score 15-3.
Three minuets later, senior guard Dillon Hamilton knocked down a shot from three-point range to bring the Clan to within nine of the Bulldogs, SFU’s smallest deficit of the game.
Gonzaga continued to build their lead and led 52-28 by the half.
“I wanted to play the hardest teams in our preseason schedule and we are. These games will prepare us for an unbelievably tough GNAC schedule,” said Blake.
On Saturday, SFU closed out its Div. I exhibition tour, with a 102-49 loss to the University of Montana Grizzlies.
“We game out flat against the defending Big Sky champion," said Blake. "Montana took us out of our offence early and we never got into a good flow. Taylor Dunn matched their intensity in the first half and Cole continues to impress off the bench with his energy and effort.”
Cole was front and centre in the battle for SFU, scoring eight points while Dunn chipped in with seven.
Senior forward Ibrahim Appiah topped SFU on the boards with seven rebounds.
The Grizzlies were led by forward Kareem Jamar, who scored 28 points.
The Clan found success from the foul line, shooting 75 percent on free-throws.
SFU’s bench stepped up, adding 27 points for the Clan.
Montana held SFU scoreless for the first four minutes of the game, before transfer Darius Page looped in a layup to put the Clan on the board.
The Grizzlies' defence continued to hinder the Clan, limiting the visiting team to only 22 per cent shooting. Montana led 46-19 at half time.
The Clan will return to the court for their first official game of the season on Nov. 8, when they face the Fresno Pacific in California.
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