The CCAA #11 ranked Capilano University Blues men’s basketball team withstood a late push from the #7 Vancouver Island University Mariners on Friday night in North Vancouver, hanging on to secure an 82-78 victory to remain the only undefeated team in the PACWEST.
The Blues jumped out to an early advantage, and steadily increased their lead throughout the first half. With strong team defence and rebounding, the CapU held the Mariners to 21.2% shooting and zero offensive rebounds in the opening half and took a 44-25 lead into the break.
The visitors found their offensive stride in the third quarter, shooting 50% en route to 25 points in the frame. The Blues continued to hold steady and maintain their lead, but VIU continued to chip away and eventually cut the deficit to single-digits with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
The pace picked up and both teams traded buckets down the stretch until VIU got a couple defensive stops and made it a one-possession game with under a minute to play. At 80-78, both teams then couldn’t hold on to the basketball. The Blues turned the ball over on a bad pass with 22 seconds left, and on VIU’s next possession they were called for travelling. On Capilano’s ensuing possession they were called for a five-second violation on the in-bound, but the Mariners couldn’t capitalize – getting called for a moving screen.
After a successful in-bound pass Denver Sparks-Guest was fouled with six seconds to play, and he went 2-for-2 from the line to ice the win for Capilano.
Sparks-Guest had a double-double in the first half and finished with a team-high 21 points and 15 rebounds. CJ Campbell had 15 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists, and Kiante Knight shot 6-of-8 as part of his 14 points on the night.
CapU improves to 3-0 on the season and takes sole possession of first place in the PACWEST. They’ll now host the 1-2 Camosun College Chargers at 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon in the Centre for Sport and Wellness (formerly Sportsplex).