The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
No.4 Falcons highlight Homecoming with blowout
By JON HEDDLES, Staff Reporter
Published: January 30, 2013
Sixty years later, SPU men’s basketball is as strong as ever at Royal Brougham Pavilion. The court first opened its doors in 1953, and the present-day Falcons squad welcomed back alumni in the annual Homecoming Game on Saturday with an 82-54 walloping of Saint Martin’s.
“It was great to have all our alumni and fans back in Royal Brougham Pavilion,” head coach Ryan Looney said. “Hopefully they were excited about what they saw and we can get a few of them back in the weeks to come.”
With the win, the No. 4 ranked SPU men improved to 8-1 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference play and 15-2 overall. That puts them in second place in the conference, behind only Western Washington. In addition, the ranking is the program’s highest since a No. 4 spot in the 2006-2007 preseason poll.
Coming off a tightly contested 78-72 overtime win over Western Oregon on Thursday, led by senior forward Jobi Wall’s 28 points, the Falcons enjoyed Saturday’s win with significantly more ease.
“Every win is big for us,” junior forward Patrick Simon said. “It feels good to get such big wins as we move deeper into the season.”
The Falcons played efficiently on both offense and defense, shooting 53 percent from the floor and holding the Saints to only 35 percent. In addition, they controlled the boards by a 15-point margin, 45-30, led by sophomore guard Riley Stockton with eight.
“We felt really good about it,” Looney said. “We played well on both ends of the floor, and I felt that everyone had a chance to contribute.”
Simon led the scoring surge for SPU in the blowout, heading the pack of four double-digit scorers with his tally of 21 points. During a stretch midway through the second half, Simon took over by scoring 14 consecutive points. Overall, he shot eight of 11 on the day and five of seven from behind the three-point line.
“It is a special feeling to be knocking down shots like I did during that stretch,” Simon said. “Jobi was in the zone against Western Oregon, and I guess it was my turn on Saturday.”
As the squad looks forward to the schedule for the week, they notice a rematch against their GNAC rivals WWU on Saturday. However, they are first focusing on their Thursday opponent.
“We’re focusing on Simon Fraser first,” Looney said. “Our goal as of late is to take one game at a time, and we know we have to do a great job preparing for Thursday before we can shift gears to Western.”
The pedigree of Saturday’s showdown is impossible to ignore, though, as SPU looks to make a statement in pulling out a victory on the Vikings’ home court in Bellingham. The Falcons look to not only redeem a 66-56 loss on their home court earlier this month, but also their emotional 56-50 elimination in the regional final of the NCAA Division II tournament last year.
“A win over Western on their home court would mean a lot at this point,” Simon said. “They beat us the first time, and we are looking forward to getting another shot at them.”
In order to get over that hump, the team must play at the top of its game and fully function together as a unit. Higher intensity levels and more grounded mindsets will result in making better use of opportunities.
“For us, being able to win the possession battle every game is extremely important,” Looney said. “So we’re continuing to try to grow in that area, and the key is rebounding and taking care of the ball.”