The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team found its offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter, surging to a 68-61 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat on Friday evening.
For the first three quarters at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre, neither team was able to gain much separation – the visiting Heat led by scores of 15-14, 35-34, and 50-48 at the quarter breaks.
The hosts found the range in the final frame, though, outscoring the Heat 20-11 to pull away and boost their record to 3-6. The Heat fell to 2-5.
The two teams reconvene at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Saturday (7 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).
“The game was sort of what I was expecting, but for a young group like us, we’re not as comfortable playing a slow-down, half-court, gritty kind of game,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “UBCO does a great job of playing us every year – they got us out of our comfort zone, and they got us rattled for sure. But the guys were able to stay with it, figure out what would be successful for us, and put together a really good stretch in the fourth quarter.”
There were no double-digit leads over the first three quarters – the Heat were up by as many as six points at various junctures of the second and third, but the Cascades kept reeling them back in.
The hosts opened the fourth with five straight points, courtesy a Mark Johnson triple and a Vick Toor fast-break layup, and they maintained the lead the rest of the way. They put the game away by scoring on three straight possessions with less than three minutes to play – three-pointers by Andrew Morris and Vick Toor bookended a tough bucket in the paint by Daniel Adediran. UFV’s lead was 68-58 with 1:18 to go, and they cruised from there.
Cascades fourth-year guard/forward Morris registered 18 points and four assists, both game-high totals, and Johnson chipped in with 17 points and nine rebounds while setting the defensive tone for UFV. Adediran (13 points, seven boards) and Toor (11 points, eight boards) also excelled.
Aloysius Callaghan, with 14 points, led four Heat double-figure scorers, joined by Owen Keyes (13 points), Cameron Servatius (11) and Triston Matthews (11).
The Cascades won the rebounding battle 50-39, but largely nullified that advantage by turning the ball over 18 times to just 10 for the Heat.
“Defensively they’re really tough and solid in the half-court, and offensively, they make you work and play a lot of the shot clock,” Friesen said of UBC Okanagan. “That’s different than we like to play normally, and some of the weekends we’ve had this season were more up-and-down.
“But in the fourth quarter, we found a little bit of a rhythm between throwing it down in the post, and also having our guards be aggressive. We didn’t really find that balance for the first three quarters. That combination made us really tough to guard in the fourth.”