The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team finished strong on Friday evening to claim an opening-night win over the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Playing at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre, the Cascades led 39-30 at halftime and stretched the margin to 17 points late in the third quarter. The Heat found some traction, though, and cut the deficit to 73-67 with just under two minutes left in regulation. Cam Servatius sparked the comeback with seven quick points.
But a clutch jump shot by Kevon Parchment on the Cascades’ next possession, and subsequent free throws by Vijay Dhillon and Mark Johnson, sent reigning Explorer Division champ UFV to a 79-67 victory in the Canada West regular season opener for both teams.
The Cascades (1-0) and Heat (0-1) lock horns again on Saturday (7 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre).
“We did a lot of good things,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “The things we could control were pretty solid. Defensively, we made life hard – they made some really tough shots. And we had some turnover problems earlier in the preseason, and I think we just had 10 or 11 today, and that’s a big improvement from where we had been. We’re a good shooting team, and we’ll shoot better tomorrow. But overall, I’m pretty happy.”
Cascades power forward Nate Brown left the game midway through the third quarter with an apparent ankle injury, after making a layup and landing on a Heat player’s foot on his way back down. He’d been having a huge night, with 15 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.
“Nate’s a big part of what we do, so any team that loses a guy like that mid-game, there’s going to be a time of adjustment,” Friesen said. “They made a run, which wasn’t surprising, but I was really happy that we got our composure back and handled it and got the W.”
Parchment finished with a game-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds, while Johnson notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. Dhillon (11 points, five assists) and Navjot Bains (eight points, six boards) also chipped in for UFV.
Aldrich Berrios (14 points) and Mitch Goodwin (11 points) both scored in double figures for the visitors.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well – the Cascades made 42.9 per cent of their shots from the field, while UBCO hit just 38.1 per cent.
“We just weathered the storm,” Parchment analyzed. “We moved the ball around very well, and we made timely and big shots at the end.
“It was a good game for us. We had a couple of injuries that were very unfortunate, but I feel like the guys really stuck together. We played hard defensively and were able to get the job done. We did what it took to win.”