CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director
One day after a narrow 96-94 loss on the road to the Camosun College Chargers, the Capilano University Blues men’s basketball team rebounded with a 108-97 win on Saturday afternoon to earn a weekend split in Victoria and move into second place in the PACWEST.
Friday night’s game was a back-and-forth affair, as the Blues were up 21-11 after the first quarter but then got outscored 26-15 in the second to trail by one at the half. The Chargers stretched their lead to as much as eight in the third quarter, but CapU hung around and reclaimed the lead with seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter – setting the stage for 11 lead changes over the rest of the way.
Fifth-year forward Denver Sparks-Guest scored a lay-up with 10 seconds to play to put the Blues in front 94-93, but on Camosun’s next possession Matthew Gray drew a foul and hit both free throws to put Camosun ahead by one. Sparks-Guest drove hard to the hoop on Capilano’s final possession with six seconds left, but he couldn’t convert – and Camosun secured the rebound and hit one more free throw to secure a 96-94 win.
Sparks-Guest recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 40 points and 12 rebounds in the contest, as he reached the 40-point plateau for the third time this season. CJ Campbell was the only other Blue in double-figures on the night, posting 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
The Blues regrouped for Saturday’s rematch, leading the entire way and using a 35-point second quarter to power themselves to a 108-97 victory. The Chargers cut the lead to two with five minutes to play, but CapU kept their composure and went on a short 6-0 run to re-establish some breathing route over the rest of the way.
Sparks-Guest again led all scorers with 35 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the floor and a 10-of-11 mark from the free throw line, and he now leads the PACWEST in scoring with an average of 27.1 points per game; he is also second in rebounding at 9.4. Brenden Bailey had a strong game shooting the ball, going 10-of-16 from the floor, 4-of-7 from three and 4-of-4 from the line en route to a career-high 28 points, and Campbell again eclipsed double-figures with 17.
The weekend split moves CapU to 9-5 on the season, and with wins across their remaining four games they would secure a top-two finish in the PACWEST and a bye in the first round in the playoffs. Next weekend the Blues will play a home-and-home with Columbia Bible College; on Friday, February 8 at 7:00pm the Blues will host the Bearcats at the Centre for Sport and Wellness in North Vancouver, and then on Saturday night the two sides will square off in Abbotsford.