The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team found themselves behind early against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday, and despite a spirited comeback attempt led by Vijay Dhillon, they ultimately fell 89-75 in Kamloops.
The WolfPack (6-1) have sole possession of first place in the Explorer Division by virtue of the victory. The Cascades (5-2) are a game back, but can draw even with a win in Saturday’s rematch (7 p.m. tip-off, webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv).
“We gave it our best shot,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “They played really well. I liked that we kept fighting. We battled back. We knew today was going to be tough. We competed as hard as we could.”
The host WolfPack ended the first quarter on an 8-0 run, highlighted by three-pointers from their post players Volodymyr Iegorov and Josh Wolfram. That gave them a 25-15 cushion, and from that point, they led by double digits for all but 19 seconds of game action.
TRU pushed the margin to 20 on Reese Pribilsky’s three-pointer at the end of the third quarter, but Dhillon and the Cascades refused to go quietly. The fourth-year guard from Richmond, B.C. swished eight three-pointers on night, including seven in the second half, and helped his team chop the deficit down to 74-62 with 6:20 left in regulation. The WolfPack, though, responded with a 9-0 run to reassert control.
Dhillon finished with a game-high 26 points, while Kevon Parchment racked up 15 points and eight assists. Nav Bains and Brandon Burke chipped in with 10 points apiece, while Matt Cooley snared 10 rebounds.
All five TRU starters scored in double figures, led by Iegorov (22 points), Luke Morris (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Wolfram (17 points, 18 rebounds).
“We are really banged up,” said Friesen, alluding to injuries that have sidelined starters Nate Brown and Mark Johnson. “Vijay is one of our few healthy bodies at the moment. He knew he had to come in here and be aggressive. He really stepped up and played well.”
“We are going to have to find a way to clamp down on defence,” Friesen added. “Offensively things will always be tough for us currently. We need to find a way to get stops and limit rebounds.”
– with files from TRU WolfPack sports information