The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team authored a textbook road performance on Friday evening, defeating the UBC Okanagan Heat 81-65 in Kelowna.
The Cascades built a 12-point lead at halftime, and after the hosts made a third-quarter push to cut the deficit to five, UFV responded with a 12-2 run in the final frame to drain any further suspense from the proceedings.
The Cascades led by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter as they improved to 10-5 in conference play, thus extending their lead to three games over UBCO (7-8) in the race for second place in the Explorer Division. The two teams wrap up their weekend set on Saturday in Kelowna (7 p.m. tip-off, webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv).
“I was really happy with our performance – we haven’t been a great road team this season,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said, alluding to his squad’s 2-4 record away from the Envision Athletic Centre coming into Friday’s action.
“We’ve been talking a lot about what it takes to win road games and what we have to get better at. We still don’t defensive rebound well enough (UBCO had 16 offensive boards on Friday), but we only had eight turnovers and kept the crowd out of the game. It was a big step of improvement for us.”
Nate Brown led a balanced UFV attack with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. Manny Dulay (16 points) and Vijay Dhillon (12 points) also scored in double figures, and Kevon Parchment finished within shouting distance of a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Navjot Bains and Brandon Burke chipped in with eight points apiece for the Cascades.
UBCO’s Aldrich Berrios and Cam Friesen tied for team-high honours with 13 points apiece, and Mitch Goodwin had 12 points and eight boards.
The Cascades were the far more efficient team offensively, shooting 54.7 per cent from the field compared to just 34.9 per cent for the Heat, and their eight turnovers tied a season-low.
Brown, the Cascades’ fourth-year power forward who missed much of the first semester with an ankle injury, had his best game of the season as he continues to round back into form.
“His rhythm is definitely coming back, and the quality of shot that he’s taking and making,” Friesen said. “He’s probably playing as well as he has in his time here, in terms of being efficient and making his teammates better.”