Adam Williams, Sports Editor Ω
They say you can’t win a basketball game in the first quarter, but you can certainly lose one.
After a 93-70 blowout loss to Trinity Western University (TWU) on Jan. 31, the WolfPack men’s basketball team was looking to bounce back Feb. 1 to keep playoff hopes alive.
Unfortunately, the end result wasn’t what the ‘Pack was looking for.
The WolfPack fell to TWU again on Feb. 1, by a score of 83-75. It was one of the most exciting games of the basketball season, with the ‘Pack drawing even with the Spartans and taking the lead for the first time in the game with just four minutes left in the fourth quarter. The change in lead was short-lived however and gave the Spartans the scare required to finish off the WolfPack – TWU pulled ahead a short while later and never looked back.
The loss mathematically eliminated the WolfPack from playoff contention.
“I guess it was exciting, we made a bit of a comeback there, we just dug ourselves way too big of a hole in the first quarter,” said Kevin Pribilsky, who was playing in the final home game of his university basketball career. “We came out flat and had to fight back. You know it’s good that we did that, good that we had a bit of fight to us, but it was too little to late I guess.”
Pribilsky led the team on the court with 18 points in 36 minutes of play, capping off a strong weekend. He led the team Jan. 31 as well, with 17 points and four assists.
The crowd at the Tournament Capital Centre grew to impressive levels as the game progressed – as the WolfPack closed the gap on the Spartans, the cheers drew fans from the surrounding athletic facilities. Pribilsky smiled when asked about the energy his team was able to draw from the crowd.
“Any time that all the other athletes are here…it’s unbelievable to play in front of some of those people,” Pribilsky said. “I thought a lot of people turned out and it was awesome. It was great to play in front of a crowd like that, always is.”
The WolfPack will play three more games this season but the focus will no longer be on making the playoffs. Though this season ended in disappointment, head coach Scott Clark will look to build on it moving forward, especially with those players returning next season. There will be significant carry-over, the ‘Pack will lose only Pribilsky to graduation at the conclusion of the season.
Though without a doubt, it will be a significant loss.
“He is an unbelievable guy,” Clark said, in a press release from the athletics department. “He’s a hard worker and very diligent. He’s the type of guy who, at the end, you would look at him and say, ‘What more could we milk out of this guy, in terms of his ability?’ He has done everything to utilize his skill on the basketball court. He has become a student, he should be an Academic All-Canadian. He has been great in the community and being a leader. Each and every day has been fun with Kevin.”