The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team rescued a 63-56 victory from the jaws of defeat on Friday evening, staging a massive fourth-quarter rally to turn aside the UNBC Timberwolves.
The Cascades trailed by 14 points with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, but outscored the T-Wolves 27-10 in the final frame to send the fans at the Envision Athletic Centre home happy.
The victory boosted UFV’s record to 7-4, two games clear of the MacEwan Griffins and UBC Okanagan Heat for second place in the Explorer Division. UNBC is sixth in the Explorer Division at 3-8.
The two teams wrap up their weekend set on Saturday (7 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre).
“Really, we just didn’t turn it over or allow offensive rebounds (in the fourth quarter),” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said afterward, reflecting on the comeback. “We gave ourselves a chance to score every possession, and we were able to find a rhythm.”
Friday’s first quarter was closely contested as neither team was able to take control of the game, and the Timberwolves, despite shooting just 25 per cent from the field, took a 13-11 lead into the second quarter.
The Cascades managed to keep Rhys Elliott, the second-leading scorer in Canada West coming into the game, largely in check throughout the first half. But Marcus MacKay, UNBC’s third-year guard, picked up the slack. In the second quarter he settled in, found his range and poured in nine points from behind the arc. The T-Wolves also took advantage of UFV’s 13 turnovers in the half, finding 15 points off the errors to take a 34-27 halftime lead.
A three-pointer from UNBC’s Billy Cheng late in the third quarter would stretch the lead to 14 before UFV began to claw back near the end of the frame.
A 15-2 run, bookended by two Nate Brown layups, drew the home side to within two points early in the fourth. The next few minutes looked much like the opening quarter as each team took turns holding the lead before UFV went ahead for good on some clutch defence and free throw shooting.
UFV made three key stops and Brown, Vijay Dhillon and Manny Dulay combined to go 8-for-9 from the line in the final four minutes of play. For the game, the Cascades shot 88.2 per cent (15-for-17) from the charity stripe.
Dhillon led the Cascades’ offensive charge, finishing with 18 points. Kevon Parchment provided once again for UFV, notching 16 points and pulling down 12 rebounds to round out his double-double, while Dulay posted 15 points and six assists, with just one turnover.
UNBC’s MacKay went 5-for-12 from three-point range en route to 19 points, while fifth-year forward Colin Plumb had 11 points and eight boards. Elliott also finished with 11 points, half his season average.
The Cascades had a strong defensive outing, limiting UNBC to 27.1 per cent shooting from the field. They were particularly stingy in the second half, as the T-Wolves went 6-for-30 from the field (20 per cent).
“Our intensity picked up,” Friesen said. “It’s a combination of playing better defence, but we also got fortunate at the same time. They had some good looks that just didn’t drop tonight.”
– by Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Cascades communications staff