CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director
The Capilano University Blues men’s basketball team came out firing against the Douglas College Royals in the PACWEST Championship semifinal, but couldn’t hold on to a halftime lead and dropped a 99-83 decision on Friday afternoon in New Westminster. CapU will now play for bronze in hopes of claiming their first medal since winning silver in 2017.
The #3 seeded Blues stormed out of the gate and quickly built up a double-digit lead on the backs of their three-point shooting and tough defence. Leading 29-19 after the first quarter, they continued to roll in the second and pushed their lead to as much as 14 before #2 Douglas started to chip away and go on a quick run shortly before halftime to make it a 51-46 game at the break.
The Capilano offence – missing two key bench players to injuries suffered in yesterday’s quarterfinal win – started to go cold in the third, and at the 3:20 mark the host Royals took their first lead of the game at 63-60. CapU hung around, tying the game at 69 and then battling back from a nine-point deficit to pull within four with five minutes to play, but the Royals proved too much in the end – going on a 17-5 run over the rest of the way for the victory that was much closer than the score indicated.
The Blues shot 49.3% from the floor and 44.4% from three in the contest, but allowed Douglas to convert at rates of 47.1% and 46.2%. The Royals also had 17 offensive rebounds and 13 steals compared to only three steals for CapU.
Fifth-year forward Denver Sparks-Guest was named Player of the Game for CapU, as he posted 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the contest. Brenden Bailey shot 9-of-15 and had 23 points, and Niko Mottus had a well-rounded game with 10 points, eight boards and five helpers.
CapU will now play the loser of the other semifinal between #1 Vancouver Island University and #5 Camosun College at 3:00pm on Saturday at Douglas College in New Westminster. They will looking for their first PACWEST medal since 2017 and their first bronze since 2011. The game can be streamed online at pacwestbc.tv.