With high-scoring guard Vijay Dhillon sidelined due to injury, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s hoopsters put together a complete team effort to defeat the UNBC Timberwolves 62-47 on Saturday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.
Cascades fifth-year star Kevon Parchment had another sterling all-around performance, racking up 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals, while power forward Nate Brown matched him for team-high scoring honours with 16 points of his own.
UFV also authored a gritty defensive effort, limiting UNBC to 31.7 per cent shooting from the field. Just one T-Wolves player, Austin Chandler (10 points), managed to score in double figures.
The Cascades (8-4) tightened their grip on second place in the Explorer Division, while UNBC (3-9) fell two games off the pace in the race for a top-three position and a playoff berth that comes with that distinction.
“Our energy was better,” said UFV head coach Adam Friesen, whose team had to rally from a 14-point second-half deficit to secure a 63-56 win over UNBC on Friday. “That sort of led to a lot of good things for us. Offensively, we just weren’t as rushed.
“Yesterday they played well, but we helped them a little bit, in terms of not boxing out or turning the basketball over a lot of times. We made them work for things (tonight), and usually when you do that, you have a better chance of having success.”
Offence was slow to materialize for both teams on Saturday, as UFV held a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Fifth-year point guard Billy Cheng scored UNBC’s first eight points, but he departed due to injury and did not return.
The T-Wolves took a 20-16 lead on back-to-back buckets by Chandler, but the Cascades ended the half on a 12-0 run to take a 28-20 lead into the locker room.
UNBC hung with the hosts throughout the third quarter, but UFV locked it down defensively in the fourth – they limited the T-Wolves to two points over the first six minutes of the frame, and scored 10 of their own in the meantime to seize control.
Post players Matt Cooley (11 points, seven rebounds) and Nav Bains (10 points, eight rebounds, five assists) also scored in double figures to help the Cascades overcome the absence of Dhillon, who averages 17 points per game and leads Canada West in three-pointers made (41).
“We had that fire,” Brown said afterward, noting that his team had lost its last two Saturday games and was motivated to snap that streak. “Today, we’re at home before a road trip, obviously one of our players is out – Vijay, our star – so we all just had to step it up, including the bigs.”
Friesen, reflecting on the strong performances by Parchment and Brown, said that he’s almost taking Parchment’s stat-sheet stuffing for granted at this point.
“I don’t even notice Kevon’s stat lines anymore,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s really unfortunate, because I may not see many of those after he’s gone for the rest of my coaching career. But they’ve become so routine, I almost glance over them when I look at the box score. He’s just phenomenal in all areas of the game for us.
“Nate (coming off an ankle injury) has to work himself back into playing shape and playing rhythm, and our hope is that if he’s able to stay healthy, he’s going to continue getting back to his old form.”
The Cascades basketball teams are on the road next weekend to take on the MacEwan Griffins.