Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon did their best impression of the Golden State Warriors’ Splash Brothers on Saturday evening, raining down three-pointers to power the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team past the MacEwan Griffins 89-82.
Dulay and Dhillon, the Cascades’ fifth-year backcourt mates, were hotter than molten lava throughout the clash at the Envision Athletic Centre. Dulay went 7-for-9 from beyond the arc en route to a team-high 23 points, and Dhillon went 4-for-5 from distance and finished with 19 points.
The Griffins, particularly Keith Gerdes, were hot in their own right – Gerdes went 7-for-12 on triples on his way to a game-high 25 points, and MacEwan converted 39.3 per cent (11 for 28) of their attempts from downtown.
But the Griffins’ very respectable three-point efficiency paled in comparison to the Cascades’ otherworldly team shooting performance – they hit a combined 58.3 per cent (14-for-24) from the land beyond.
“It was a big game, and Manny and Vijay stepped up for us,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “It was our opportunity to get back to .500 and put a couple wins together at home, and their leadership showed up.”
UFV’s offensive pyrotechnics included three other players joining Dulay and Dhillon in double-figure scoring – Andrew Morris (13 points), Mark Johnson (10) and Nav Bains (10). The Cascades evened their Canada West record at 5-5, good for ninth place in the conference.
MacEwan (3-9, 15th in Canada West), likewise, had five double-figure scorers, with Tadius Galvez (17 points), Denzel James (12), Ryan Coleman (11) and Harrison Lane (11) joining Gerdes.
The Cascades were dialed in from the start – Dulay hit treys on three straight possessions early in the first quarter, paving the way for the hosts to build a double-digit lead that they maintained for most of the opening half. The UFV lead was 49-39 at the break.
The Griffins slowly chipped away at the deficit, and used a 10-2 run opening the fourth quarter to claim their first lead of the night – 71-70 with just over six minutes left in regulation.
But the Cascades mustered an impressive 11-0 run of their own to drain the suspense from the proceedings, highlighted by a Dhillon triple and a huge two-handed dunk by Nav Bains, plus the foul. When it was over, UFV led 86-75 with one minute left, and the outcome was effectively sealed.
As much as Dulay and Dhillon’s shooting stole the show, Friesen was pleased with his entire roster. Morris’s 13 points came in efficient fashion (5-for-10 from the field, 2-for-3 from beyond the arc), and he opportunities for his teammates with his physical slashing and post-up game. Rookies Riley Braich (five points) and Daniel Adediran (four rebounds, three blocks) showed they’re growing more comfortable at the Canada West level.
“All nine or 10 guys who played today each had multiple plays in the game that were necessary for us to win,” Friesen said. “We had different guys getting on the offensive boards, hitting big shots, and our young guys coming in and having their best weekend by far.”
The Cascades hit the road next weekend to face the Calgary Dinos, while the Griffins visit the Brandon Bobcats.
BOUNCE PASSES: Dulay’s final trey of the evening was his 200th three-pointer in Canada West conference play, moving him into eighth place on the all-time list. He’s easily within striking distance of the top five – currently holding down fifth place is Richard Bohne (Calgary Dinos 1992-96) at 211. Dulay also has a shot at overtaking Danny Balderson (Lethbridge Pronghorns) and Casey Archibald (UBC Thunderbirds), who are currently tied for third all-time with 239 treys. Sam Freeman’s UFV school record of 254 triples appears safe – he’s second all-time in Canada West.
Dulay and Dhillon were featured in this week’s episode of the Canada West Campus Corner video series, posted below.