The Manitoba Bisons turned in a masterful defensive performance on Friday evening, smothering the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 67-46 in Canada West men’s basketball action at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
The Bisons (11-8) limited the Cascades (5-14) to just 16 first-half points, and to 20.6 per cent shooting from the field for the game, as they punched their ticket to the Canada West playoffs.
The two teams wrap up their regular-season schedules with a rematch on Saturday (7 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).
“They’re a very good defensive team,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said of the Bisons. “They came out with a playoff-type intensity, and for a lot of our guys, they don’t know what that means.
“Their intensity, their physicality and their desire to get a stop each possession really rattled us, no question about it.”
The Bisons built a 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, and tightened the screws even further in the second, holding the Cascades to seven points on 1-of-19 shooting in the frame as they went up 34-16 at the break. Rashawn Browne did the bulk of the damage offensively for the visitors, scoring 18 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Manitoba extended the lead to as many as 26 points in the third quarter, and while the Cascades were able to get back to within 16 in the fourth, they would get no closer.
Canada West scoring leader Justus Alleyn paced the Bisons with 23 points, and Browne finished with 20 points. Manitoba didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (37.3 per cent from the field), but their work at the defensive end more than made up for that.
Mark Johnson, Parm Bains and Sukhman Sandhu each registered 10 points for the Cascades, and Daniel Adediran hauled down a game-high 13 rebounds including five on the offensive glass.