Sparks-Guest scores 53 in victory

File photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures
File photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures

CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director

Powered by 53 points by Denver Sparks-Guest, the Capilano University Blues men’s basketball team defeated the Okanagan College Coyotes 126-117 on Saturday afternoon in Kelowna, earning them a weekend split and keeping them in first place heading into the winter break.

A fifth-year forward, Sparks-Guest shot 20-for-29 from the floor, 10-for-10 from the free throw line, and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc to lead Capilano to the come-from-behind victory. He also recorded a double-double in the contest, grabbing 12 rebounds.

The 53 points gives Sparks-Guest the new record for most points in a game in Capilano Blues men’s basketball history (complete statistics go back to 1984-85), and it’s the second-highest total in PACWEST conference history, trailing Ray Branch of Selkirk College who scored 56 in 1987.

Trailing by nine with under seven minutes to play, CapU outscored OC 33-15 over the remainder of the contest to improve to 5-1 on the season. The Blues dished out 36 assists compared to just seven turnovers, and shot an overall 53.5 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three.

Five Blues scored in double-figures, with CJ Campbell also recording a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists. Michael Kelly made three three-pointers and had 13 points off the bench, and Nathan Bromige had 11 to go along with six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.

The win came on the heels of Capilano’s first loss of the season, which came Thursday night in New Westminster against Douglas College. CapU fell behind 26-10 in the first quarter and couldn’t recover, falling 93-73 to the defending CCAA silver medalists. Sparks-Guest and Brenden Bailey tied for the team-lead in points with 15 apiece.

After the 2018 portion of the PACWEST season, CapU is in first place in the PACWEST with a 5-1 record. The Blues were the conference’s top-ranked team at #7 in the latest CCAA rankings – the program’s best ranking in nearly a decade. Through six games they are averaging 99.8 points per game and shooting a combined 45.5 percent, with four players scoring in double-figures. Sparks-Guest is fifth in league scoring with 21.2 points per game and third in rebounding with 9.8 per contest.

The Blues are vying for their first conference gold since 2002-03 – having made the final in 2016-17 but settling for silver. 2002-03 was also the last season that Capilano qualified for nationals; this year’s national tournament is hosted by Langara College at the Langley Events Centre, and there is one berth for the PACWEST up for grabs.

Capilano’s next games come in 2019 when the Blues host Douglas College for a two-game series on January 4 and 5.