Rough, delayed start

Men’s Basketball starts 0-2 against Whitworth in first games of the season

Gabe Sta Maria, Staff Writer

The Seattle Pacific University Men’s Basketball program finally hit the court last week against Whitworth University after a ten month delay since their last game. The team had a disappointing start after playing two back to back games against Whitworth, falling 95-83 on Wednesday, January 13th, and 69-65 on Thursday the 14th.

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) announced Dec. 17 that there would be no conference season. This ultimately meant that SPU would have to find opponents themselves. Even with a rough start to the season, there was still much eagerness and excitement to finally find competition.

“I think everyone on the team and the coaches were really excited to get out there and play a game, especially with our conference being cancelled technically,” said Senior guard Sharif Khan.

After hitting the court again, Khan also spoke on the struggles of these first couple games and how the team plans to adjust going into next week.

“We’ve already watched film. We need to focus in on what we need to improve on to help us find our identity and kinda carry us along this season,” said Khan. “We kind of already have a game plan set for what we need to get better at.”

In the first game on Wednesday, Whitworth played exceptionally, shooting 60 percent from the field. SPU shot well at 48 percent, but not enough to compete with the Pirates. The first half was anybody’s game with eight lead changes but the Pirates had a ten point lead at halftime. The Pirates consistently capitalized on their lead in the second half, and that ultimately resulted in them winning the game. Junior Guard Divant’e Moffitt scored 30 points in the loss.

The second game on Thursday was much closer with SPU only losing by four points due to a second half run. Senior forward Mehdi El Mardi scored 12 points in the opening ten minutes of the second half. However, this gritty effort from the Falcons was not enough to come home with the victory.

Sophomore guard Zack Paulsen also spoke on the team’s performance against Whitworth and what he and the team must do to add wins to their record.

“Obviously, it was not what we wanted at all, but I truly believe we are on our way to success in the future. We have looked at the film and know what we have to adjust,” said Paulsen. “We will be ready to go in our next opportunity to play next week.”

The team is coming into this season with new players with incoming freshmen and transfers. New faces such as Syon Blackman, Chris Penner, Payton Richardson, and Kelton Samore saw minutes against Whitworth. Playing with the new players is something the upperclassmen on the team have been looking forward to.

“I think it was a great opportunity to kind of build our chemistry with the new guys,” said Khan. “The past few games I think we were trying to feel each other out and figure out how to play with each other. I think we’re really close to clicking and flowing how we want to on offense and defense.”

Moffitt also looks forward to growing chemistry with the new players this season.

“We love our freshmen. They play very hard and are learning things really fast so it’ll take time but we will figure it out. We always do,” said Moffitt in an email.

The Falcons look ahead to face Saint Martin’s University next week in two back to back games.

“We need to come out of the gates way stronger and we need to be more focused on defense for sure,” said Khan. “The main thing is just effort and to be gritty.”

“We need to find our identity still and find out what works. These two losses have made us hungry and ready for our next games against Saint Martin’s,” said Paulsen.