The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team fended off a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the UNBC Timberwolves to earn a weekend split in Prince George.
The Cascades led by 16 points when Vijay Dhillon drilled a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down in the final minute of the third quarter, giving his squad a 59-43 lead.
But the T-Wolves scored 27 points in the final frame and clawed almost all the way back, cutting the deficit to 70-69 after Billy Cheng hit a trey with two minutes remaining in regulation.
After both teams came up empty on their next possessions, Cascades fifth-year guard Kevon Parchment restored order, converting on a gritty drive to the hoop in transition. Dhillon made two free throws to make it 74-69.
But UNBC kept pushing. Rhys Elliott hit a three-pointer to make it 74-72, and after a layup attempt by Cascades centre Nav Bains rimmed out in the dying seconds, the T-Wolves raced down and Elliott hoisted a potential game-winning triple, but it missed at the buzzer.
UFV, coming off an 81-74 loss to UNBC on Friday – its first defeat of the Canada West regular season – improved to 5-1 in conference play. The Cascades are tied for first in the Explorer Division with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, while UNBC (2-4) is tied for fourth.
“It’s a tough place to play, and when they get on a roll, that place starts to get loud,” noted Cascades head coach Adam Friesen, whose team led 22-10 after the first quarter and maintained a double-digit lead for much of the evening. “They really got rolling (in the fourth quarter), and we didn’t do a great job of slowing them down once that happened.
“We needed everyone tonight. Kevon made some huge plays, and that bucket he scored after they closed to one point, was probably the game. We didn’t play our best basketball, but a lot of guys stepped up.”
Dhillon paced the Cascades with 20 points, while Parchment, as is his custom, authored a well-rounded stat line with 16 points, six assists and six rebounds.
The Cascades also got great mileage out of their post players – Matt Cooley (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Bains (11 points, 11 rebounds) both posted double-doubles, a “great sign” according to Friesen. Point guard Manny Dulay chipped in with 10 points as all five UFV starters scored in double figures.
UNBC’s Elliott racked up a game-high 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field, while Cheng scored 14 and Colin Plumb had 13 points and 10 boards.
The Cascades’ performance on the glass was crucial to their success on Saturday – they outrebounded UNBC 37-27.
The UFV basketball teams wrap up the first semester with road games in Kamloops vs. Thompson Rivers next Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.).