Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – A 10-3 run over the final two minutes of regulation lifted the UNBC Timberwolves past the UFV Cascades 66-63 in Canada West men's basketball action at the Envision Athletic Centre.
The host Cascades led 60-56 with 2:45 remaining after Vijay Dhillon's three-pointer, but Tyrell Laing led the T-Wolves on a game-ending surge. Laing answered Dhillon's triple with one of his own, and he hit a contested runner in the lane with 30 seconds left to put UNBC ahead for good.
The Cascades (2-3) and T-Wolves (3-4) clash again on Saturday evening (7 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre) in UFV's final home game of the semester.
"Offensively, we've definitely been a team that's had some tough moments, and this was one of those games," Cascades head coach Adam Friesen summarized. "Neither team was able to get anything going, and we just didn't have the energy needed to pull this one out. We just didn't make the effort plays to finish off the game. They hit big shots and they wanted it more down the stretch."
It wasn't an offensive masterpiece for either squad – both the Cascades (36.4 per cent) and Timberwolves (31.8 per cent) shot less than 40 per cent from the field, and only three players on the two rosters combined managed to score in double figures.
UFV led for most of the first half, and took a 32-24 lead into the locker room at halftime. The T-Wolves owned the third quarter, out-scoring the Cascades 22-11 in the frame to push ahead 46-43, but the hosts opened the fourth on an 8-0 run to regain control.
UNBC hung tough, though, and when Laing swished a triple with less than two minutes left and Marcus MacKay followed with a layup on the next T-Wolves possession, they held a 61-60 lead. Dhillon answered with a tough floater in the lane, but it was the Timberwolves who struck the last blow in this defensive slugfest courtesy Laing, whose shot over the outstretched arm of Mark Johnson found the net.
UFV had a great look at a go-ahead bucket of their own when Manny Dulay found Sukhman Sandhu on a pick-and-roll, but the 6'10" rookie's shot rimmed out. UNBC finished off the win at the free throw line.
James Agyeman scored a game-high 22 points for UNBC, and Laing posted 10 points. Dhillon (13 points) was the lone Cascade to score in double figures. Sandhu and Mark Johnson had nine points apiece, Canada West assists leader Dulay added seven helpers, and Anthony Gilchrist's 10 rebounds were a game-high.
Friesen noted that Sandhu and fellow rookie Daniel Adediran (four points, two rebounds, one steal in 10 minutes) made strides on Friday.
"You try to find some positives in a loss, but lots of things we need to work on, and we'll have to start working at that tomorrow," he said.