Playoff aspirations for men’s basketball suffer setback

Adam Williams, Sports Editor Ω

Losing at the hand of UVic, the men's basketball team will be hard-pressed to find post-season play. - Photo by Adam Williams

Losing at the hand of UVic, the men’s basketball team will be hard-pressed to reach post-season play. – Photo by Adam Williams

With the end of the season closing in and a playoff spot on the line, the WolfPack men’s basketball team was looking for a pair of wins against the University of Victoria Vikes Jan. 25 and Jan. 26.

Unfortunately they walked away with a pair of losses.

The WolfPack extended their losing streak to four games, losing 81-64 Jan. 25 and 80-65 Jan. 26. The timing couldn’t be worse for TRU, as they sit in fifth place in their division – two points short of a playoff spot.

“Today we should hold our heads high, I thought we represented ourselves well,” said head coach Scott Clark, following Saturday’s loss. “They’re a good basketball team. We turned the ball over a bit little too much and made a couple of smaller errors that cost us here and there.

“Our margin for error isn’t that great against a good basketball team like that, but nobody should hang their heads about our effort, or our toughness, or our resolve today.”

The WolfPack played well in the first half of the game, leading for most of the first and second quarters, but relinquished the lead late into the second. Even still the game remained close, the ‘Pack only trailed 36-32, but as the game wore on University of Victoria showed why they are currently second place in the Pacific Division of Canada West. Victoria missed very few of their field goals as time wore on and the WolfPack walked away pointless from the majority of their drives.

TRU now needs a near-perfect record in the final five games of the Canada West season should they hope to make the playoffs.

“You hope for better, but next weekend the games are very important obviously,” Clark said. “We know that, we’re at home. It’s our job to prepare to the very best of our abilities and then play to the very best of our abilities. Those are the things we have control of. It would be pointless to think of other stuff.”

Fifth-year player Kevin Pribilsky led the team with 17 points in 33 minutes of action Saturday. Pribilsky, in his final year of eligibility, is from Victoria and undoubtedly wanted to win against his hometown squad.

“He’s from Victoria, I think it means a little more,” Clark said. “He’s an unbelievable guy. He’s a great ambassador for the university, the basketball program – he represents himself well, he’s an unbelievably likable guy.”

The WolfPack will host Trinity Western University this week and will be looking to win back-to-back games against the Spartans, who currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Games will be played on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.