The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team was firmly in control for most of Friday evening’s game in Edmonton, but the host MacEwan Griffins made them sweat in the fourth quarter.
The Cascades held a 14-point lead late in the third quarter, thanks in large part to some red-hot three-point shooting – for the game, they went 12-of-24 from downtown.
But the Griffins staged a frantic fourth-quarter rally, trimming the deficit to three points, and the Cascades had to weather a pair of potential game-tying treys in the dying seconds by MacEwan’s leading scorer Thadius Galvez. But both shots clanged harmlessly off the rim, and UFV secured an 80-77 victory.
The Cascades (9-4) tightened their grip on second place in the Explorer Division, while the Griffins fell to 5-8. The two teams wrap up their weekend series on Saturday in Edmonton (7:30 p.m. Mountain time, webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv).
“We played some of our best basketball for the first three quarters,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “We’re not yet a great road team, and closing out games hasn’t been easy for us this year. MacEwan made a great push like we knew they would, and we were fortunate to hang on.”
The Cascades led 27-21 at the end of the first quarter, and pushed the advantage to 15 on the heels of an 8-0 run in the second, highlighted by triples from Vijay Dhillon and Marcus Morgan.
The Griffins battled back to get to within six points in the third quarter, but UFV responded with a 14-5 run and led 66-52 in the final minute of the frame.
MacEwan kept pushing, though, and Galvez’s trey with 41 seconds left in regulation made it 80-77. After the Cascades came up empty on their next possession, Galvez had two shots at forcing overtime – his initial miss was rebounded by teammate Ryan May – but both came up empty.
Kevon Parchment scored a game-high 20 points and added 12 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double. Manny Dulay notched 18 points, and Navjot Bains (12 points, nine boards) and Nate Brown (11 points) also scored in double figures.
Chris Mooney paced MacEwan with 17 points, while Denzel James (14 points) and Ryan Coleman (13 points) were productive off the bench. Galvez finished with 11 points.
“I thought our ball movement on offence was the best I’ve seen in a while,” Friesen said, reflecting on his team’s strong play through three quarters. “We controlled the pace of the game, and we got high-percentage shots.
“In the fourth quarter, it was them playing inspired basketball, and us going away from what we had been doing. We became hesitant in what we did – slowed things down. We’ve got to learn to be aggressive until the end.”