Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – An offensive surge in the third quarter and a strong defensive effort throughout powered the University of the Fraser Valley men's basketball team to a 74-66 victory over the Brandon Bobcats on Friday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.
Sukhjot Bains led the way for the Cascades at both ends of the floor, racking up a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) while serving as the primary defender on Canada West leading scorer Tyvon Cooper. Bains – and a series of help defenders – kept Cooper off the scoresheet in the first half, and held him to seven points for the game, well below his 23.4-point average coming in. The Bobcats were limited to 32.1 per cent shooting as a team.
Andrew Morris chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Parm Bains (14 points) and Navjot Bains (11 points) also scored in double figures as the Cascades rang up their eighth straight win to improve to 9-4, tied for third in Canada West.
Troy Grant paced Brandon (2-9) with 19 points, Jaleel Webb scored 13, and Pookie Saunders had 10 for the visitors, who clash once again with the Cascades on Saturday (7 p.m., EFAC, CanadaWest.tv).
"Coming out of the Christmas break, you're not expecting offence to be at its best," said UFV head coach Adam Friesen. "But we really wanted our defence to carry us, and I think that's what happened. The guys were on the same page and knew what our objectives were. I think Sukhjot took the challenge on Tyvon, and our help-side defenders were really active in closing down driving lanes."
The Cascades opened the game on a 7-0 run, capped by a Nav Bains and-one layup, but the Bobcats battled back. They reeled off a 7-0 run of their own midway through the second quarter, with four points coming via Steven Chieng, to level the score 29-29. UFV finished strong, though, and took a 35-32 advantage into halftime.
Sukhjot Bains took over the game in the third quarter, scoring 11 straight Cascades points – including a trio of three-pointers – in quick succession. Mark Johnson followed with a trey of his own to make it 14 UFV points in two and a half minutes, and the lead was 49-41. The hosts would rack up 29 points in the frame, and while the offence dried up in the fourth quarter (UFV scored just 10 points over the final 10 minutes), they were able to maintain at least an eight-point lead the rest of the way.
"They're a good defensive team, and that's the style they play," Bobcats head coach Gil Cheung said of the Cascades. "It's not a track meet for them, and they really control the pace. I thought they did a real good job making some shots in the third quarter, and that was a big difference. (Sukhjot) Bains got hot. I thought our guys competed on both ends, but that's a good team out there that made some shots.
"I thought we played unselfish, and we played the right kind of basketball. We just needed the win tonight. But credit to them – they were a very well-coached team, and they competed."
Friesen noted that Sukhjot Bains has been "tremendous for us defensively."
"That spurt in the third quarter gave us the separation we held onto for the rest of the game, and his defence on Tyvon was needed," he said.