A Game of Seconds. And Threes.

A Game of Seconds. And Threes.

Paul Cartledge - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics

EDMONTON – Despite a strong second-quarter comeback, the University of Alberta Golden Bears couldn't quite match the second-half three-balls of the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades, losing a close 73-71 decision, Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.

Fourth-year forward Mamadou Gueye netted a game-high 24 points, going 9-for-10 from the charity stripe and adding three treys while earning seven rebounds. Fourth-year guard Geoff Pippus recorded a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds while sophomore forward Brody Clarke got close with 18 points and nine boards.

Senior guard Manny Dulay scored 20 points, five treys, and five rebounds for the visitors while Vijay Dhillon, also a senior guard, added 14 points and four treys of his own. Third-year guard Anthony Gilchrist also broke the double-digit barrier with 11 points; fourth-year forward Navjot Bains added a team-high 11 rebounds.

A hungry Cascades squad, losing twice in Calgary last weekend to the Dinos, came out strong in the opening quarter, starting with an 11-2 lead while the Bears struggled to find their shooting.
Five straight points by Pippus on the Alberta side started the home team back on track but Fraser Valley shooting at 57% through 10 minutes, while earning 13 points off of turnovers, put the visitors up 21-10.

Clarke jumpstarted the Bears offence in the second quarter, two buckets slowly turning the momentum while Gueye, who was quiet in the first quarter, hit five of six free throws to help the Bears erase the deficit and tie the score at 26-26.

The two squads then went bucket-for-bucket to finish the first half, knotting up the scoreboard three more times and entering the locker rooms squared at 34-34.

Gueye and Clarke hoped to get Alberta on top to start the third but the Cascades had a reply ready for every point. And then they found their three-ball.

Third-year guard Denver Sparks-Guest got things going to grab Fraser Valley its first lead of the second half, but he was soon followed by Dulay knocking back two straight before Palm Springs, CA native Mark Johnson netted the fourth and fifth of the quarter, getting the road team up by four to enter the final quarter.

The Bears didn't give up, however, finding new life at the free throw line and their own long distance shots but a clutch Cascade three managed to find the basket whenever Alberta tried to shift the momentum.

Even when the Bears got ahead by one with 1:20 left in the game, a Johnson shot from downtown put the visitors ahead and then Dhillon drained his fourth of the night with 42 seconds left to put Fraser Valley up by five.

Despite a baseline trey by Clarke with eight seconds left to make it a one-bucket game, Pippus' hail-mary shot with zero time left fell well short, Alberta finishing at 32% on the night with nine baskets from three-point land while the Cascades shot at a 42% long-distance clip and scored a total of 14.

The 11-4 Bears and 6-7 Fraser Valley will conclude the weekend series on Saturday night, game time at approximately 8 p.m. MT.