The Chapman College basketball team opened the 1985-86 season Wednesday night with an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba, which finished third in last year's Canadian Inter-University Athletic Assn. tournament.
But the CIAA tournament should not be confused with the NCAA tournament. Visiting Manitoba may be considered the third-best collegiate team in Canada, but the Bisons would have trouble finishing third in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn.
Still, they were good enough to defeat a Panther team that is hoping to rebound from a 13-14 record and seventh-place finish in the CCAA.
Tony House's fall-away jump shot at the buzzer lifted the Bisons to a 66-65 victory before an estimated 500 fans in the Hutton Sports Center.
Chapman guard Jim Saia missed the front end of a one-and-one situation with 31 seconds left and the Panthers leading, 65-64. Manitoba controlled the rebound and, after a timeout, the Bisons worked the ball to Terry Garrow, who missed a jumper from the left corner with four seconds left.
But the ball tipped off a Chapman player and out of bounds, Manitoba retained possession and won the game after House took the inbounds pass and scored.
Had the loss counted on the Panthers' record, Chapman Coach Kevin Wilson would have been disappointed. But as far as he's concerned, the Panthers are still 0-0.
"That was a fun college game, wasn't it?" Wilson said afterward. "I told the team that we definitely got more (out of the game) by losing by a point and playing a lot of people than had we won by 25. This was the equivalent of about four or five scrimmages, because neither team blew the other out. Maybe we learned some things."
One was that the Panthers must reduce their fouls. Manitoba was in the bonus situation for more than 11 minutes of the second half and took advantage by sinking 16 of 17 free throws.
Otherwise, Wilson liked what he saw. Forward Jon Samuelson, a transfer from Fullerton College, led the Panthers with 21 points, most on outside jumpers, while former Fullerton College teammate Paul Rollins added 15 points, mostly from the inside.
Chapman did a good job of breaking Manitoba's 1-3-1 half-court trap and, though a few early bounce passes bounced off players' ankles, the Panthers only committed 12 turnovers.
"We lost by one, but we're pleased," Wilson said.
Tony Kaufmann led Manitoba with a game-high 22 points and 8 rebounds, while Joe Ogoms added 20 points and 7 rebounds.
Chapman opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 22, at the Southern Utah Tournament in Cedar City, Utah.