Preseason has been a bumpy ride for the Seattle Pacific University men’s basketball team. The team started last weekend with a harsh loss, 93-100. Despite the loss, they came back the next day with a victory, 70-59.
The Falcons matched up against the Sonoma State Seawolves Friday, Nov. 10, and suffered their first preseason loss in double overtime. Only a day later, they rebounded with an impressive victory against the California State East Bay Pioneers.
The 11-point lead victory was quite the bounce back for SPU, staying in the lead all game and hitting on the largest score difference, 19 points, at the 1 minute and 19 second mark of the game.
“We feel that this group has great balance. Rather than rely on one player, we encourage our team to make the right basketball plays … extra passes, find the open man, screen and move the ball. The scoring depth on this team has improved from a season ago,” head coach Grant Leep said.
SPU came out of the win with four players who scored in the double digits; forward Hunter Eisenhower led the team with 17 points, followed by forward Tony Miller and guard Gavin long who topped out at 12 points each. Lastly, guard Nikhil Lizotte scored 10 points.
Despite Eisenhower’s position at forward, he led the team in 3-point attempts and makes, netting five out of eight shorts beyond the arc. In fact, 3-pointers were the only shots Eisenhower took. He ended up with a stellar 62 percentage from the 3-point line.
Miller led the team in overall rebounds, crashing the boards six times on defense and once on offense. Close behind Miller was forward Coleman Wooten with one offensive board and six defensive grabs.
“Our coaches understand how talented this team is and the potential we have. Our priority on offense has been to get the ball moving and getting the defense in tough positions because we have so many guys that can score,” returning guard Gabe Colosimo said.
The Falcons defense struggled in their Friday matchup against the Seawolves.
Only three players on the entire roster managed a steal or a block.
Gavin Long led both of those categories with two blocks and three steals, the only player to put numbers up in both of those categories. The other two players that made it on the defensive stat sheet were forward Sam Simpson, who earned two steals, and forward Nathan Streufert, who blocked two shots.
“Our guys are very resilient and competitive. We lost a tough game in double overtime. As the identity of this team forms, there were several things that came from that loss we can learn from going forward to make us better. I was happy that our group kept sight of that,” Leep said.
The next round of matchups is at SPU for the Sodexo Classic, starting on Friday, Nov. 17. SPU will host two games on Friday: Central Washington vs. Hawaii-Hilo at 4:30 p.m. and Seattle Pacific University vs. Concordia University Irvine at 7 p.m. On the following day, SPU will host another round of matchups: Central Washington vs. Concordia Irvine at 5 p.m. and Seattle Pacific vs. Hawaii-Hilo at 7 p.m.
“We are very excited to play at home this weekend,” Leep said. “The Sodexo Classic is a great event with some very good teams coming to SPU to compete.”
“It’s nice to play at home because it is a familiar place,” Colosimo said. “We know our routine and what to expect. Playing on the road is different every week, which can make it difficult to get into a rhythm so it’s nice to be home for a couple games.”