A preposterous shooting performance from Manny Dulay wasn’t enough to secure a weekend sweep for the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team, as they fell 95-78 to the Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton on Saturday.
Dulay, the Cascades’ fifth-year point guard from Surrey, B.C., swished eight of his 10 attempts from beyond the three-point arc en route to a game-high 27 points. He currently leads the nation in three-pointers made this season with 55, and came within one triple of tying his single-game career high of nine (Jan. 31, 2015 vs. the Mount Royal Cougars). Dulay, who hit five treys in Friday’s 73-71 upset win over the U Sports No. 6-ranked Golden Bears, now sits fifth on the Canada West all-time list with 219 career three-pointers.
Fuelled by Dulay’s barrage, the Cascades shot 53.8 per cent (14-for-26) from downtown on Saturday, but the Bears hung with them in that department, shooting 44.8 per cent (13-for-29) themselves.
Six Alberta players scored in double figures, led by Mamadou Gueye’s 18, while Denver Sparks-Guest (15 points, 3-of-5 from three) was the only Cascade aside from Dulay to achieve that distinction.
The Golden Bears’ prowess on the boards was the difference – they hauled down 44 rebounds compared to just 26 for the Cascades.
UFV (6-8) is tied for 11th in Canada West, while Alberta (12-4) sits second.
“We knew the last two weekends (vs. Alberta and the U Sports No. 5 Calgary Dinos) were going to be our biggest challenges of the year, and our goal was to get better and to figure ourselves out more as a group,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We’re all on the same page as to what our strengths are and what we need to work on, and we’re excited about the last three weeks of the regular season.”
The Cascades picked up where they left off on Friday, leading for much of the first quarter and holding a 29-25 advantage after Anthony Gilchrist’s triple early in the second. The Golden Bears responded with a 16-2 run to seize control of the proceedings, but Sparks-Guest and Vijay Dhillon swished treys to cut the deficit to 43-37 at the half.
Alberta extended the lead back to double digits in the third quarter, but Dulay’s scorching shooting kept the Cascades within shouting distance until the final minutes of the fourth.
“Offensively, we’re finding good shots and moving the ball really well,” Friesen said, alluding to the fact that his team shot 49.2 per cent from the field. “We know where our tough spots are –defensively and on the boards. Alberta did a good job of exploiting that tonight, and we’ll try to get better the rest of the season.”
Dulay’s shooting exploits, at this point, have become almost routine for the Cascades players and coaching staff, but the degree of difficulty and distance of some of his shots on Saturday had Friesen shaking his head.
“He’s been a good shooter since the day he got here, but his confidence level has just kept going up and up,” Friesen marvelled. “He’s really found a good rhythm in our offence, so he knows where his shots come from. And he knows the guys believe in him. Everyone understands that he should shoot it.”
The Cascades basketball teams are back in action at home next weekend, hosting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.