All five Brandon Bobcats starters scored in double figures in a 101-84 victory over the UFV Cascades in Canada West men’s basketball action in the Western Manitoba city on Friday evening.
Earl Thompson Jr., with 26 points and 13 rebounds, paced the Bobcats, who shot a 49.3 per cent from the field (including 12-of-26 from beyond the arc) in an explosive offensive display.
The Cascades got off to a slow start, shooting just 25 per cent from the field in the first half and falling behind 47-34. They came to life after the break, led by a season-high 21 points off the bench from Denver Sparks-Guest, but were unable to sufficiently slow down the Bobcats.
UFV (2-5) and Brandon (3-6) renew hostilities on Saturday (7 p.m. Central time, webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv).
“As a group, I thought we battled quite hard,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We shared the ball, we got a good number of assists (17), and we did well rebounding particularly on offence. I’m quite happy with how we competed. We just ran into a team that played really well tonight.”
The Bobcats led by as many as 20 points (67-47) in the third quarter, but the Cascades stuck with it and opened the fourth on a 14-5 run. After an Anthony Gilchrist steal and breakaway layup with just over six minutes left, the deficit was down to eight points at 83-75.
The Bobcats, though, closed the game on a 13-4 run to secure the win.
“Their team speed was going to be a challenge for us, and they really came out of the gate hot from the outside,” Friesen noted. “That put a lot of pressure on us for the rest of the game.”
Joining Thompson Jr. in double figures were fellow Bobcats starters Chris Stanhope (18 points), Tyvon Cooper (17), Pookie Saunders (14) and John Paul (12).
Sparks-Guest was 10-for-10 from the foul line en route to his highest-scoring game as a Cascade, and Mark Johnson (17 points) and Manny Dulay (13 points, seven assists) also chipped in offensively for UFV. Nav Bains pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds as the Cascades battled the Bobcats to a 43-43 stalemate on the boards. UFV, as a team, had 16 offensive rebounds.