Eagles come apart in final quarter, fall back to last

Kwantlen’s men’s basketball team struggle to put space between last place.

Kwantlen’s men’s basketball team struggle to put space between last place.

By Brian Jones
[associate sports editor]

I had my victory article ready. I had jotted down intended post-game questions like “What was the key to the win tonight?” and “How huge is it to finally get two wins in a row during this stretch of the season?”

In my head, I already had the title: “Eagles complete weekend sweep, move one step closer to playoffs.”

Then the fourth quarter came, and along with it a complete breakdown.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Quest University Kermodes outscored the Kwantlen Eagles 38-14 in the final 10 minutes, overcoming a double-digit deficit and going on to win 102-87.

Eagles coach Stefon Wilson up in arms during home bout against Quest University.  (Photo by Brian Jones)

Notes were scribbled over, pages were torn out, and my victory article was scrapped.

“They played really well,” said Kwantlen head coach Stefon Wilson. “They owned the fourth quarter. You can’t give up 38 points, you just can’t. I mean you can’t score 14 either though.”

Kermodes sharp shooter Jose Colorado had a game-high 32 points, as well as six rebounds. Eagles centre Ali Bosir put up 31 points and 15 rebounds – while only getting 18 seconds of rest throughout the game.

Nii Engmann and Jag Takhar rounded out the scoring for Kwantlen with 17 and 16 respectively, while Quest point guard Cartiea French-Toney dropped 19 points on 7-12 shooting, along with eight assists.

The game was incredibly emotional, physical and aggressive right from the beginning. French-Toney and Kwantlen’s Aaron Ram were jawing within seconds of tip off, barking at each other every trip down the court. Initially, Ram got the best of the battle, knocking down all three three-pointers that he took in the first half.

With the hostile mood working in Kwantlen’s favour, as well as energetic crowd support, the Eagles maintained a substantial lead in the second and third frames.

But as previously mentioned, it all blew up in the fourth.

“Late in the game, we took care of the stuff that had been hurting us in the first three and a half quarters,” said Quest head coach Sean Shook. “We got momentum, we were making shots, they were getting frustrated.”

Down 73-64 heading into the final frame, Quest started to pick apart Kwantlen’s defense in the fourth and took repeated trips to the free throw line to slowly chip away at a lead that seemed almost insurmountable.

Outscoring the Eagles by 24 points in the final 10 minutes, Quest applied too much pressure to a team that, just like Wilson had explained just 24 hours before, doesn’t know how to play with a lead.

Kwantlen now drops to 5-12 and recedes back to last place in the PacWest standings. It’s now vital that they win at least two of their remaining four regular season games to be able to even have a shot at making playoffs.

They play their last home games of the season this weekend, hosting Langara College on Friday, Feb. 8, and Douglas College the following night. Both games are once again scheduled for 8 p.m.