Cascades make it rain from beyond the arc, douse Heat 86-67

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team buried the UBC Okanagan Heat under an avalanche of three-pointers on Saturday evening, en route to an 86-67 victory at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

The Cascades hit 50 per cent of their attempts from downtown (17-for-34), including 11 during a scalding-hot first half which saw the hosts lead by as many as 23 points.

UFV’s forwards were responsible for the vast majority of the damage from beyond the arc. Mark Johnson went 8-for-13 on threes on his way to a game-high 29 points, and 6’10” Sukhman Sandhu drilled 5-of-9 attempts from the land beyond as part of his 21-point outburst.

The result boosted the Cascades’ record to 4-6, tied for 10th in Canada West. The Heat are tied for 13th at 2-6.

“The threes were obviously fun,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “We worked the ball and found some good looks. But we also had more assists than turnovers (23 to 16), our transition defence was by far our best, and our combination with the low-post stuff was also really good.

“The threes are what you’ll remember from the game, but all the other aspects, we’ve had moments of struggle with throughout the year. We put together a lot of really good areas of the game for 40 minutes.”

The Cascades’ long-range pyrotechnics began in the first quarter – they hit 4-of-8 from downtown, including a pair from Johnson, and held a 20-7 lead at the end of the frame.

Things got downright absurd during the second quarter. Johnson and Sandhu combined for six treys in a span of just over four minutes, sending the Envision Financial Athletic Centre faithful into hysterics as the lead ballooned to 43-20.

Kenan Hadzovic pushes the ball up-court.

The Heat fashioned a 7-0 run, with four points from Aloysius Callaghan, to draw back to within 43-27 at the break. But the third was the Cascades’ most productive quarter – they mustered 26 points in the frame, and stretched the lead to 24 (66-42) on Andrew Morris’s triple with 1:40 left.

The fourth quarter was drama-free as the Cascades completed their first weekend sweep of the season. They were coming off a 68-61 win over UBCO on Friday.

Johnson added eight rebounds to go with his game-high point total, and also had an outstanding weekend at the defensive end, drawing the assignment of guarding UBCO leading scorer Aldrich Berrios.

Sandhu, the Cascades’ towering sophomore from Surrey, B.C., bounced back from his first scoreless outing of the season on Friday to post a career high in points. He had as many points as minutes (21) and added five blocks, four of which came in the first quarter.

“Mark played well, and we expect him to play well,” Friesen said of the Cascades’ fourth-year forward from Palm Springs, Calif. “But for Sukhman, he really showed the ability to not just knock down shots, but he started the game by playing in the paint. He blocked shots, he grabbed boards, he was competing – not just waiting for his three-point shot to come around. If he can do that and work his game out to the three-point line, that’s where he’ll have the most success.”

Morris (14 points) and Daniel Adediran (12) also scored in double figures for the Cascades, who prevailed despite being outrebounded 48-33.

Berrios marked a career milestone for the Heat – his 17 points on Saturday gave him 1,001 in his Canada West career. He’s the third UBCO player to reach that plateau, joining Mitch Goodwin (1,204) and Matt Gowing (1,028).

Callaghan counted a trio of triples among his UBCO-best 22 points, and Triston Matthews had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.

The Cascades wrap up their first-semester schedule with a pair of road games next Friday and Saturday at the Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Sagar Dulay and the Cascades played in front of the MEI Screaming Eagles marching band on Saturday.

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The University of the Fraser Valley is situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Stó:lō peoples. The Stó:lō have an intrinsic relationship with what they refer to as S’olh Temexw (Our Sacred Land); therefore, we express our gratitude and respect for the honour of living and working in this territory.

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