A huge win on the road has the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Eagles on the verge of clinching a playoff berth.
KPU traveled to Abbotsford Friday night and defeated the Columbia Bible College Bearcats (CBC) 74-50, moving two games ahead of their opponents in the PACWEST (Pacific Western Athletic Conference) standings with four games to play.
“I thought tonight was a real team effort,” said Eagles head coach Dan Nayebzadeh. “We came out with a ton of positive energy, and right off the tip we played hard.”
The victory improved KPU’s record to 5-12 (won-lost), and dropped the Bearcats to 3-14. More importantly, the win clinched the season series against CBC for Kwantlen, meaning the Eagles will win the tiebreaker should the two teams tie for the sixth and final playoff position.
The Eagles never trailed, and took a 26-19 lead after one period. The Bearcats kept it close until halftime, keeping KPU within distance despite trailing 41-35 at the break.
Kwantlen pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the home side 21-10 for a 62-45 lead heading into the final 10 minutes. The Eagles continued to frustrate the CBC offense, limiting the Bearcats to five points in the final period.
“We were great on offence in the first half but had to make some adjustments defensively,” said Nayebzadeh. “We played a very good two way game in the second half, holding CBC to 15 points. Overall, a great team effort and probably our best game of the season to this point.”
As she has for much of the season, Shilpa Khanna led the offense with 23 points. The Fleetwood Park Secondary graduate went six-for-13 from behind the three-point line, and also had a game-high eight rebounds to go with four assists.
Jessica Villadiego, from Holy Cross Regional high school, chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds. Haeley Williams added another 12 points.
The Eagles will travel to Vancouver Island for games against the 7-10 Camosun Chargers Friday night in Victoria and 14-3 Vancouver Island University Mariners Saturday afternoon in Nanaimo.
The Bearcats also play twice on the Island next weekend, in Nanaimo Friday and Saturday in Victoria. Two losses by CBC will clinch a playoff position for Kwantlen.