In one of the more surreal endings to a game in recent Canada West men’s basketball history, the Mount Royal Cougars upended the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 86-71 in overtime on Saturday evening.
The host Cascades, after leading by double digits in the first half, found themselves down by seven points with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But the hosts staged a furious rally, capped by an incredible buzzer-beater by Manny Dulay to force OT.
With UFV trailing 66-63, Marcus Morgan inbounded the ball to Dulay with 2.4 seconds left in regulation. The fourth-year guard out of Surrey, B.C. took two dribbles to his right and heaved a contested shot from well beyond the arc. The ball swished through, thrilling the partisan crowd at the Envision Athletic Centre.
But UFV had only eight players available on this night due to injury and illness, and three of them had already fouled out. In the first minute and a half of OT, the Cascades’ Nate Brown and Brandon Burke each picked up their fifth and disqualifying fouls, leaving UFV with just three players on the court – Dulay, Morgan and Vijay Dhillon. The Cougars out-scored the shorthanded Cascades 20-5 in the extra session.
Mount Royal improved to 3-7 on the season, which leaves them tied for fifth in the Explorer Division. Second-place UFV is 6-4.
In the aftermath, Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said that all the late-game drama aside, his team simply didn’t play well enough to win.
“The ending happened, and the weirdness of five guys being fouled out was what that was,” said Friesen, whose team had beaten Mount Royal 89-75 on Friday.
“Unfortunately we had some injuries and health issues. But I actually have seen a game go five-on-four before, so that wasn’t the first time.
“But the bigger thing was that we just didn’t come out with the focus or energy or motivation enough to play tonight. That was unfortunate, and it provides us a lesson.”
First-year forward Brett Layton paced the victorious Cougars, posting 22 points and bringing down a ridiculous 24 rebounds for an impressive double-double. James Lefebvre also had a standout game for MRU, notching 19 points.
Dulay led the Cascades with 19 points, going 5-for-7 from downtown, while Dhillon followed closely behind with 18. Kevon Parchment put up a double-double for the home team with 12 points and 16 boards.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like that in my life,” Dulay said afterward. “The main thing for our team is to learn from it.”
At the end of regulation, Dulay had two shots to tie it – he missed a three-pointer from the wing with less than 10 seconds left, but he got another try after the Cougars knocked the rebound out of bounds.
“I kind of wanted to redeem myself for the first miss,” he said. “I got the ball, went middle, and then I honestly just tried making sure the ball was going towards the hoop. I kept looking at it and it looked like it was going long, but it was on line. And then when it went in, I just turned around – there was nothing to say. I thought it was a fluke, but it went in.”
The UFV basketball teams welcome the UNBC Timberwolves to the Envision Athletic Centre next weekend. The action gets underway on Friday at 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men), while Saturday’s games tip off at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.