Local grads step up in Bearcats season opener

CBC drops opener to KPU, but benefits from strong performances from Abby ballers.

Bearcat Sasha Otanga drives to the hoop during Friday's 84-82 loss to the Kwantlen Eagles.

Bearcat Sasha Otanga drives to the hoop during Friday's 84-82 loss to the Kwantlen Eagles.

A pair of local products tore up the floor in the Columbia Bearcats men’s basketball home opener against the Kwantlen University Eagles on Friday night. Sasha Otanga (Yale Lions) and Jamie Konrad (Abby Panthers) joined five other new faces including international recruits Elijah Calhoun (Brooklyn, NY) and Si Woo Youn (S. Korea) for the new look of the 2014 Bearcats.

CBC threatened early as they jumped ahead 11-3 in the first quarter and 37-27 at halftime. However, the third quarter belonged to the Eagles who outscored the Bearcats 31-20 to take a 58-57 lead into the fourth quarter.

The final quarter was a back and forth affair which was decided in the last few minutes with the Eagles being the better team from the free throw line, and pulling out an eventual 84-82 victory.

Second-year Bearcat coach Matt Guynup commented that his team “struggled to stay disciplined and focused for the full game. We led for most of the game and let it slip away from us in the end. Hopefully we learn from this, and move on.”

Otanga led the Bearcats with 21 points while Konrad chipped in with seven. Guynup was complimentary about his Abby recruits, saying that both players “had excellent debuts … are very talented, athletic, and they work hard, so they will improve a lot over the course of the year.”