Pronghorns outlast hot-shooting Cascades

Matt Cooley had an ultra-efficient night offensively, scoring 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting. (UFV Athletics file photo)

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team took the Lethbridge Pronghorns down to the wire on the road, only to drop a 98-87 decision on Friday.

The game was within two possessions for the majority of the night, but with just over three minutes remaining, the Pronghorns (9-2) went on a 15-3 run to pull away from the Cascades (4-7).

UFV and Lethbridge will lock horns again Saturday (7 p.m. MT / 6 p.m. PT, in the final conference game of the first semester for both teams.

“The guys showed a lot of fight and teamwork tonight,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “From the first couple road weekends to now, we’re really pleased with how the team is improving.”

The Cascades’ shooters were electric in the first half, hitting 54.8 per cent from the field including an impressive 9-of-18 from long range. Andrew Morris led the charge, going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc en route to 15 points at the break.

UFV led 44-38 after Matt Cooley hit a jumper with 1:57 left in the second quarter, but the Pronghorns wrapped up the half on a 9-0 run, aided by a series of Cascades turnovers, to take a 47-44 lead to the locker room.

The back-and-forth play continued into the third quarter. Every time the Pronghorns would push the lead to five or six, the Cascades would claw right back within a single point, but neither team could get over the hump.

UFV was within 81-78 after Mark Johnson hit a pair of free throws with 4:37 left in regulation, but the Pronghorns fashioned a 15-3 run, capped by a Colton Gibb jump shot with just over a minute left, to seal the victory.

“Our communication on defence was really poor tonight, but I thought we came up with stops when we needed them down the stretch,” said Pronghorn head coach Mike Hansen.

The Cascades shot a scorching 52.4 per cent from the field, including a ridiculous 66 per cent in the second quarter, but ball security was their undoing as they turned it over 27 times.

Morris counted six three-pointers among his team-best 21 points, and fellow starters Johnson (16 points), Vick Toor (14) and Daniel Adediran (10) also scored in double figures. Cooley came off the bench for his best offensive performance of the season, registering 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting to go with a team-high eight rebounds and three assists. Toor and Johnson tied for team-high honours with seven assists apiece.

Lethbridge forward Overwater led all scorers, setting a new career high in points with 31. Dejon Burdeaux added 15 points in the win, as all five Pronghorns starters scored in double digits.

BOUNCE PASSES: Johnson, coming off a Canada West season-high eight three-pointers in his last outing, went 4-for-8 from beyond the arc on Friday. He’s shooting 48.4 per cent on triples this season, good for fourth in the conference. . . . Parmvir Bains registered his first minutes and points as a Cascade. The 5’10” guard out of Surrey’s Tamanawis Secondary posted three points and an assist in two minutes. . . . Freshman guard Toor sits fifth in Canada West in assists (4.8 per game).

– with files from Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics

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