The Cascades (7-0, first in the Explorers Division) appeared poised to blow out the Griffins (3-4) at several junctures in the second half, but the visitors from Edmonton hung tough and rallied to within five points with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
But UFV got a driving layup from Dominque Brooks and a three-pointer from Kadeem Willis to salt away their 21st consecutive Canada West regular-season win, a streak which dates back to last season.
The Cascades and Griffins clash again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre (webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv).
“I think we were in control of the game, but it’s kind of been a theme for us all semester – we just let up,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “Rebounding, sloppy turnovers – we do things where we’ve worked too hard to give up on the 50-50 hustle balls. When we’re at our best, we’re winning all the hustle points. But we relax and let teams hang around, hang around. MacEwan does a great job of hanging around and finding ways to win games in the end. We just happened to win this one.”
Willis came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points for the Cascades, and Brooks had a very efficient offensive night with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Nate Brown chipped in with a double-double, registering 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Lee Danderfer set the pace for MacEwan with 21 points, and Ryan May notched a double-double of his own with 18 points and 10 boards.
The Cascades struggled from beyond the arc, going 6-for-25 from downtown (24 per cent). Manny Dulay, the team’s best three-point shooter, was just 1-for-10.
“If we can make a few more threes tomorrow, that would make our lives a little bit easier,” Friesen observed. “We’re waiting for a game, especially in our home gym, where we shoot the way we think we’re capable of. So far we haven’t done it, and we have one more chance tomorrow (before the end of the semester).”