The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team gave the defending CIS national champions all they could handle, but the Carleton Ravens managed to claw out a 71-67 victory on Saturday afternoon.
At the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at the University of Victoria, the Cascades took the Ravens – winners of 11 of the past 13 national titles – down to the wire in a back-and-forth affair that featured eight ties and 11 lead changes.
“There’s not always positives to be taken away in a loss, but Carleton’s the No. 1 team and we felt we could contend,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “That means something.”
Saturday was the second day of the Vetrie exhibition tourney. UFV was coming off a hard-fought 91-82 loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday evening, while the Ravens had thumped the host UVic Vikes 80-47 in their opener.
Both teams came out at a high tempo, trading buckets early. Carleton put together a 7-0 run midway through the opening frame, highlighted by a Gavin Resch three-pointer, but the Cascades responded with a 10-0 run with six points coming from Kevon Parchment. UFV took a 19-14 lead into the second quarter.
The 2015 Canada West bronze medalists got off to a good start to the second as Vijay Dhillon dropped a long three. As five-time defending national champions do, though, Carleton unleashed a comeback. Three quick baskets, including another three from Resch, cut UFV’s lead to 23-21. The teams traded buckets with Fraser Valley staying ahead, but an and-one play from Connor Wood tied the game 27-27.
The Ravens grabbed the lead on a jumper from Kaza Kajami-Keane, but Cascades’ Parchment dangled his way into the key and secured a 30-29 lead heading into halftime.
In the third quarter the Ravens outscored the Cascades 21-16 thanks in large part to a trio of three-pointers from Wood, while UFV power forward Nate Brown countered with eight points of his own in the frame. Carleton led by as much as eight, en route to a 50-46 lead entering the fourth.
Carleton’s Cameron Smythe hit a three and a quick jumper to extend the Ravens’ lead, but UFV battled back and point guard Manny Dulay’s jumper tied the game 55-55.
With under two minutes to go, fourth-year Raven Guillaume Payen Boucard hit a three-pointer to put his team up 67-62. Dulay was able to hit again to trim the deficit to three with 49 seconds left, and the Cascades got a stop on the ensuing Ravens possession. But Dulay and Mark Johnson both missed shots on UFV’s next trip, and Wood was intentionally fouled after Carleton secured the rebound and hit two free throws. Dhillon came back down and swished a trey to get the Cascades back to within two points with two seconds left, but Wood hit two more bonus free throws to round out the scoring.
“I think we gave ourselves a chance because of our defence,” Friesen analyzed. “They’re a high-scoring team, and we were able to make life fairly tough for them, at least. Offensively, we have a ways to go, but we were able to make some runs and hit some shots. We gave ourselves a chance in the end.”
The Cascades had a great team effort as four players scored in double digits including Parchment with 18 points, Brown with 14, Dhillon with 12 and Dulay with 11.
The Ravens, who out-rebounded UFV 36-21, were led offensively by Kajami-Keane with 20 points. Wood chipped in with 16 and Boucard had 13.
On Sunday, the final day of the Vetrie exhibition tournament, the Ravens play Saskatchewan at 12 p.m. Pacific time, while the Cascades take on the host Vikes at 2 p.m. Both games will have live stats and web streaming at canadwest.tv (pay per view).
– with files from Victoria Vikes sports information